Severely contesting claims by the BJP ‘spiritual wing” leader Tushar Bhosale about who “controls” the Trimbakeshwar mandir, renowned Varkarai saint-philosopher from Satara, Suhas Maharasj Phadtare has stated that this is unquestionably part of the Bahujan Varkari tradition. He has, in a statement issued on May 24 also strongly condemned attempts to demonise the dhoop arti tradition at the Trimbakeshwar mandir by political actors and Brahmins. To give a religious colour to a dispute that is essentially a lived syncretic tradition has also been deplored.
Referring to the concocted dispute in 2016 when a 400 year old tradition alive at the Shani Shingapur mandir in a village in the Shani Shingapur is a village in the Nevasa Taluka in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. The controversy had erupted in 2016 after efforts were made to “purge” the practice of women offering prayers here and in other temples. This controversy too began after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government came to power for the first time in Maharashtra.
Phadtare, a well known mystic of the Varkari tradition reminder Maharashtrians how the same Brahmanical, discriminatory political forces had tried to stop a four centuries old tradition of women offering arti (prayers) there. Real or true Varkaris would never obstruct women but welcome them inside the spiritual fold, added Phadtare.
Sharply condemning efforts sponsored by the RSS-BJP led regime through Tushar Bhosale to appropriate an inclusive, people’s tradition like the Varkari tradition and attempt to refashion it in a narrow discriminatory shape, Phadtare challenged these politico-religious moves. The statement was issued through the Vidrohi Sanskritic Chalval.
Pointing towards the humanism latent and throbbing in the Varkari tradition that harks back to the early medieval period in Maharashtra, he has reminded the public of the brazen attempts to appropriate the ‘pujari” role at Trimbakeshwar mandir using money, muscle and weapons and practices like shuddhikaran (purification) a notion that the Varkari tradition has revolted against. He also sombrely reminded Maharashtrians of the undignified fight between the impoised pujaris and the pujaris of the Varkari tradition.
When Tukaram was being celebrated and sung in Pune and rains and floods drenched the Varkari worshippers, was it Brahmins who gave shelter or the Masjid of the Muslims? Then who does Tuka belong to?
When Tuka steps out of Dehu, then first and foremost the arti that is performed at the Samadhi (grave) of Angadshah what do we make of this tradition? Within Pune (the height of the Brahmaniocal Peshwa revival) during the Varkari procession, the offering of khichdi is by a Sufi Muslim. This is the tolerant temper we have learnt from our Saints! SO then should we forget this tradition of singing together, living together, eating together?
Our Saints (the Varkari Saints) wee against Brahmanism, they rejected karmakand (Brahmanical ritual), they rejected superstition, blind, cruel exclusive practices and cried out in their life times for a society that was equal, gave dignity for all, abhorred exploitation; they declared their vocal opposition top casteism, Brahmanism! You want to use and abuse Muslims and their vote but you cant tolerate the respect Muslims pay at Trimbakeshwar mandir? This is your move to use religious deivide to stay in power!
But we Saints of the Varkari tradition deplore this misuse of religion and ritual for power: you (of the Tushar Bhosale ilk) cannot be Varkari saints! Finally I want to say only this: purify your mind of such motives and thoughts that is real purification! Don’t attack people’s self and lives! The Ultimate Being belongs to all? Ramkrushna Hari!
“चर्म मांस भिन्न नाही।शुद्धा-शुद्ध निवडे कैसे।।
हा प्रश्न विचारत तुकोबारायांनी ईश्वराच्या विरोधात विद्रोह पुकारला,संत कबीर म्हणतात
“अरे!कद तुम्हें खून।कद मुझे दूध।। “
वारकरी संत शेख मोहंमद म्हणतात, “कैसे केले या गोपाळी।नाही सोवळी ओवळी।। काटे केतकीच्या झाडा।आत जन्मला केवडा।।फणसाअंगी काटे।आत अमृताचे साटे।। शेख मोहंमद अविंद। त्याचे हृदयी गोविंद।।“
त्याच संत शेख मोहंमदांनी एके ठिकाणी म्हंटलय, “आम्ही जातीचे ब्राम्हण। आमचे सोयरे मुसलमान।।“
Can u forget these wise words, Varkaris?