The loss of
necklace was searched for the next day, and the thief Bhanudas was taken to the
court. The judge on the circumstantial evidence ordered the capital punishment.
He was taken to the place, where a sula - spike was erected. All through the
trial and later too, he did nothing than singing songs in praise of the Lord,
believing in God's protection. When he was taken to the place of sula, to the
utter amazement of all-the by-standers, the pole started blooming into branches,
bearing leaves, flowers, fruits etc. When the oddity was reported to Krishna
Deva Raya, he rushed to the spot and prayed to him for forgiveness, forgetting
the folly perpetrated by his people. On knowing the purpose of his visit and the
trouble erupted in Pandharpur, he made immediate arrangements for the safe
return of the image with escort and a long procession of the people.
image arrived at Pandharpur on the Ekadasi day. It was a grand affair and so
Pandharpur turned itself into a Bhooloka Vaikunta with chariot procession,
bhajan, bhojan programmes etc. Even today, in memory of it, the annual festival
on the Ekadasi is celebrated on a grand scale. Mysterious are the ways of that
mysterious Mahavishnu! This absence of the Lord was longer. It was stolen or
held in ransom for shorter periods now and then. And on certain occasions in the
Medieval period, the image fell prey to the avaricious priests, who smuggled it
away to receiving huge
sums of amount later, and it was reinstated in payment of huger sums of amount.
Deprivity knows no law! Is not the mouth of
avarice is as wide as well, and is ever open as a matter of fact?