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The cycle of devotion: circulation in pilgrimage, procession, and Darshan’s circuit in the Vithoba’s cult

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Duration: 0:19:26 | Added: 21 Jan 2022
Part of the International conference on Maharashtra in September 2021 - Eric Ferrie, Independent Scholar, Paris, France

At the 14th Maharashtra conference on « sthalantar », I showed that, in the varkari pilgrimage, the way of moving was as important as the destination itself. At the upcoming conference, on circulation, I would like to emphasize the fact that this dynamic aspect of the varkari pilgrimage between saints’ and god’s places is thus circular. Indeed, I intend to show that this pilgrimage is a complete circle in which the reciprocal and symetrical relation of devotion between the devotee and the saint and Vithoba closes the loop.
As such, this pilgrimage should be considered from the angle of procession as well. In this respect, a comparison with other processions in the Vithoba’s cult, for instance, the Haridas’s kala ritual - in which the temple’s priests carry Vithoba’s sandals (paduka) back and forth between their temple and the god’s one in Pandharpur- as well as the darshan’s circulation in Vithoba’s and the saint Jnandev’s temples will also show how status and religious authority are at stake while considering the notion of circulation in ritual and sacred places. Finally, going through such circulations will allow us to reconsider the relation between hagiography and devotional practice.

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