One of the pillars of the hall the Garuda Stambha represents Garuda, the eagle who serves as the carrier of Lord Visnu. Pilgrims embrace the pillar, with the prayer that toward the end of life Garuda will carry them back to Vaikuntha.
On the way out of the darsana hall, one sees hanging from the ceiling the famous eight prayers known as Pandurangastakam, composed by the acarya Sankara during his visit to Pandharpur in the eighth century. Each verse glorifies the beauty, qualities, and devotees of the Lord and ends with the refrain para-brahma-lingam bhaje pandurangam, meaning “I worship the supreme spiritual form of Lord Panduranga.”
In the same temple compound, behind Lord Vitthala’s shrine, stands the shrine of Srimati Rukmini Devi, the Lord’s beautiful consort.
Darsana, offerings, and aratis go on all day, except for a short break in the afternoon when the Deities rest. After the last arati, at eleven o’clock, the pujaris change the Lord’s dress and chant special hymns asking Him to rest for the night.
Just as the Lord played the role of father and grandfather in Dvaraka, here too He reciprocates affectionately with His devotees. A famous painting depicts Him in a fatherly mood, carrying several devotees, some on His shoulders, some around His waist, and others holding His finger as they walk beside Him.
The “Vi” in Lord Vithoba’s name denotes knowledge and “Thoba” denotes shape. He is the shape of knowledge or the deity of knowledge.
Another meaning is that the word “Vitthala” is said to be derived from the Marathi word “Vit”, meaning brick. The reason behind the brick will be explained later in this article. “Ba” is used to denote “father” in Marathi.
Lord Vithal/ Vitthal/ Vithoba is none other than Lord Vishnu, Lord Narayana or Lord Krishna. It is believed that Lord Krishna had incarnated at the end of Dwarpa Yuga on the eighth day of the dark fortnight in the holy month of Shravan (As per the Hindu calendar). He is lovingly called names like Pandrinath, Panduranga, Pandhairiraya, Vithai, Vithoba, Vithu-mauli, Vitthalgururao by his devotees. But the well-known and commonly used names are Pandurang / Panduranga and Shri Vitthal / Vithal.
The story of brick – vitt
Lord Shankar told Parvati “the brick thrown by pundalik to pandurang is not an ordinary brick, but Lord Indra himself. Long ago there was a demon named Vritrasur who was killed by Indra by trick. While dying the demon cursed him to become a brick. However he was told that he will be expelled from this curse when Lord Vishnu will stand on the brick. So Indra was forced to accept the brick body. As a brick Indra had got good fortune of being in the house of Pundalik. It was this brick which Pundalik threw for Lord to stand on. As a result Indra was free from the curse.