If serving the Lord is more important than serving parents, why did Pundalika keep Vitthal waiting?

by Chaitanya Charan dasJanuary 9, 2014

From Aniket:

We know the story of lord vitthal at pandharpur.
It is said that pundalik was serving his mother and father, krishna came to meet him,but he gives brick to lord and request for wait till his service to his mother and father,after words he meet to lord and pray for stand to give darshan to all devotees,
how can we understand this?

Answer Podcast

Transcribed by: Jyoti Shirasangi.

Edited by:

 Question From Aniket Prabhu:

When Vithal came to meet Pundalik, it is said that, he told Lord Vithal to wait, because he was serving his parents. How do we understand this in terms of the fact that, actually service to the Lord is considered to be higher than dharma, higher then serving parents? (3.58 min)

Answer:

The parents of Pundilika were devotees, and he was serving them. There is Para dharma and Apara dharma. Para dharma is the transcendental duty, i.e. our relationship with Krishna, and Apara dharma i.e. our material duties, like duties to our parents, and duties to various material relationships that we have, or the material role that we play. So, the normal situation is, both go in harmony, and that is the role and purpose of culture to ensure the harmonious arrangement of both. And on the occasions when there is a conflict, then the devotees choose the Para dharma. E.g. Prallhada maharaja refused to obey Hiranyakashapu, when Hiranyakashapu told him to give up the worship of the Lord Vishnu. There are many examples like this, were the Apara dharma can be sacrificed for Para dharma. But, when there is no necessarily any conflict, then one doesn’t have to necessarily give it up.

In this particular case, actually if we look at the whole story that is described in Skandha purana and other places, it is explained that, his parents were also payus, vertuas, devoted, and in this case, it was Vaishnava seva that he was doing. Lord Shiva tells Parvati that, “SHLOKA” among all forms of worship, the worship of Lord Vishnu is the greatest, higher than that is the worship of his associates.

Pundilika was seeing the Lord, and he was seeing his parents as just parents, but as devotees, and he was doing the service of the devotees, and because he was doing Vaishnava seva, it is considered higher than the seva of the Lord, and so he asked the Lord to wait. Because he was relatively poor, he could not offer a proper reception, so he offered a brick to stand on.

This is a lila which demonstrates the principle of how not the service of parents is higher than service of the Lord, but how the service of the devotees is so glorious that, even the Lord is ready to take a secondary position, to demonstrate that how he is subordinate to his devotees, and how pleasing service to devotees is to him, that he is himself ready to wait also, and he takes that pose, and is ready to wait eternally for every one for all of us also.

This is not so much about serving parents, but about serving vaishnavas. When a devotee develops a relationship and when the family becomes devotees, then the material relationships also become spiritualized, and they have to be treated accordingly.

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Chaitanya Charan das
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