The Wari Tradition

The WARI tradition dates back into times. Saint Dnyaneshwar’s great grandfather – Trymbakpant Kulkarni – used to walk the WARI from his native Apegaon to Pandharpur. Saints Dnyaneshwar, Namdev, Sawta Mali, Chokhoba and Tukaram used to participate in the WARI in their own life times. The WARI could hence be treated as a confluence of the practitioner saints and proponents of the BHAGWAT DHARMA. The tradition of the present ‘PALKHI SOHALA’ (literally WARI of festivities) can be traced to the year 1685 around 36 years after Saint Tukaram attained divinity (1649). It was initiated by Taponidhi Narayan Maharaj Dehukar, son of saint Tukaram. The ‘PADUKAs’ of Saint Tukaram would be carried over to Alandi where along with the ‘PADUKAs’ of Saint Dnyaneshwar they would form the WARI inching towards Pandharpur to meet their Lord Vitthal (God). The common chants / refrains of “Dnyanoba – Tukaram” that one hears in the PALKHI were initiated by Taponidhi Narayan Maharaj Dehukar. The practise of the PADUKAS jointly leaving for Pandharpur from Alandi continued for close to 150 years.

In adherence to the counsel shared by the Dehukar Mores, from the year 1831 there was a change in this custom. This change was initiated by Shri Guru Haibat Baba who was an eminent BHAGWAT BHAKTA (devotee) resident of Arphal, (Satara district) and a SARDAR (chieftain or military commander) with the GWALIOR ROYAL COURT of SHINDE SARKAR.

An interesting occurrence in regard to Shri Guru Haibat Baba needs to be mentioned at this juncture. After having served at the Royal Court, Haibat Baba gained eminence and was suitably rewarded for his services. Consequently, he decided to return to his native Arphal. On the way to Arphal he and his companions were waylaid by dacoits in the Satpura ranges and held captive for close to three weeks. Being an ardent devotee of MAULI, Shri Guru Haibat Baba kept remembering his deity all along. On the 21st day of his captivity, the dacoit leader happened to be blessed with a baby boy. As a gesture of joy, he released all his captives. He even handed over the loot he had amassed from them. Shri Guru Haibat Baba was convinced that it were only the blessings of MAULI that had enabled him to stay alive through the ordeal and hardships of his encampment. It was this moment of inner awakening which lead him to decide that he would settle forever in Alandi rendering services at MAULI’s SAMADHI. The present form of the PALKHI SOHALA has been achieved thanks to Shri Guru Haibat Baba’s efforts.

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