Vārakaris

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Varakaris, VArakaris, Vaarakaris


Vārakaris literally means ‘those who keep fixed times’.

Classification of Pilgrims

Paṇḍharāpura or Paṇḍharpur is a well-known and extremely popular place of pilgrimage in the Maharashtra State. The main deity of this place is Viṭṭhala or Viṭhobā or Pāṇḍuraṅga. It is a form of Lord Kṛṣṇa. The pilgrims who visit this temple are of two types:

  1. The vārakarīs or vārkarīs - They visit the temple regularly.
  2. Others - They visit the temple occasionally.

Classification of Vārakarīs

The vārakarīs are of two categories:

  1. Those who attend every month and those who visit twice a year on Āṣāḍha-śukla-ekādaśī[1]
  2. Those who attend on Kārttika-śukla- ekādaśī[2]

Rules of Vārakarīs

The vārakarīs have to observe certain rules which are binding. They are:

  • Carrying a rosary of tulasī beads[3]
  • Giving up flesh-eating
  • Observing a fast on ekādaśī days
  • Carrying a flag of ochre-colored cloth
  • To speak the truth
  • Never cheat

These rules and the tradition of the sect have socially leveled the adherents to a great extent. Incidentally, it may be mentioned that a similar group of devotees of Rāma belonging to the sect of Samartha Rāmadās, came to be known as dhārakarīs.


References

  1. It is the eleventh day of the bright fortnight of the month of Āsādha, usually in July.
  2. It is the eleventh day of the bright fortnight of the month of Kārttika, generally in November.
  3. It means tulasīmālā.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore