Entire Maharashtra begins its preparations for Wari by the second week of Month of Jyeshta. Many of us might have heard about the Wari and even experienced the joy and happiness of it, the spontaneous participation of hundreds of thousands of people and the outburst of energy in the entire procession. Media covers many aspects and facets of this tradition. Personal principles and changing times might prove to be hurdles in this give-and-take of experiences. Once in the month of Ashadh, we friends decided to walk with the Wari, the man-made marvel. I always wondered the unseen bonds which helped the people gather from all over the globe. I was curious about the joy which fills their lives and makes them walk miles to reach Pandharpur. Many questions crowded in my mind. They say, our lives become meaningful if we could see the Lord Pandurang. But to understand the true meaning of this, we must experience the same. We packed our bags and left our homes for this unearthly experience.
Wari is the amazing ancient tradition which connects entire Maharashtra by the bonds of love and devotion. One must live this cognizance at least once in his lifetime and experience the zest of Warkaris. If we observe the Wari from hills of Dive-Ghat, all we can see is the road turning white with thousands of men walking without resting. This white stream flows over the greenery of vales and fields. The differences of social status, wealth and genders fade away. The routine in Wari is entirely different from our city-life-routine. We walk the same road which was once walked down by our great saints and sages. Our mind automatically travels in time and confluence of emotions bring out the best in us. The warkaris play their traditional games, sing devotional songs (Abhang) and recite the name of god almighty while walking under the sun. Owing to lack of facilities to rest in shadow, we must rest under the shades of caps and umbrellas. The clouds cover the sun for a moment or two and help the tired souls to take rest before they begin the journey further. Monsoon travels with Wari, as if it is a part of this procession devoted to Pandurang.
We learn altogether different values in Wari and abide by them. We learn to become independent and self sufficient. We wash our cloths and carry our own luggage. We learn to help each other without expecting any returns and to forget differences of caste, society, status and gender. The atmosphere is filled with spirituality and continuous reciting of the lord’s name. Inauspicious thoughts automatically leave us and we become calm and content in our hearts. We meet a lot of people and personalities, travel through tiny villages. Though everybody looks different owing to his/her attire, but we are born out of the same soil, cast in the same die of culture. We are ordinary people representing common culture and traditions. We are bound by a common thread of excruciating want to see our Lord Pandurang. The surge of positive energy and belongingness is evident in the Ringans, where we are one amongst a million warkaris.
Pandharisi jaata, sukh waate jeeva; aandnde keshava, beht dyavi! (It’s a joyous journey to Pandharpur and we shall meet the lord with happiness.) Lord Pandurang appears in many forms and characters, may it be the children distributing sweets in Wari; or the people providing services and water to the tired souls; or the caring ladies who cook for the warkaris like they are all part of a huge family. In fact, when we leave our self behind us and embrace the world, lord Pandurang appears right in front of us.
Everybody must walk down the shores of Chandrabhaga, see the god’s own village of Pandharpur, touch his feet and return to the routine with bountiful new experiences. You can check the shortfilm “Anandwari”, produced by Ranwata Organization on the given link which depicts moments in wari. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RB948sqhqs