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Sant Kanhopatra

There was a dassi by name Shyama in the town of Mangalvedha which is about fourteen miles from Pandharpur. Shyama had a beautiful daughter by name Kanhopatra. She was so beautiful that there was no match to her beauty in this world. While she was young she learned the art of singing and dancing. Shyama, asked her daughter to come with her to see the king so that he would give some money and ornaments to her. Kanhopatra then said that she would not come to the kings durbar. She also said that she would only marry someone who is more beautiful than her.

One day a group of pilgrims who were going to Pandhari were passing by singing the praise of god. When Kanhopatra saw them she made a namskar to them and asked them where they were going. The pilgrims then replied to her that they were going to Pandhari to see lord Vitthal. She then asked them to describe his glory to which they said that even lord Brahma and others were unable to describe his glory and that his beauty exceeds that of Lakshmi a billion fold. Kanhopatra then asked them if she goes as a suppliant to the lord will he accept her. The saints then told her that he will definitely accept her and she then went home and told her mother that she is going to Pandhari and left with them taking a vina in her hand. She joined the pilgrims in singing the praise of lord and reached Pandhari. She had the darshan of Vitthal and decided to be in Pandhari. She would always remain in the great door of the temple and sing his praise.

One man who had come from Bedar saw her and went and told the king about her and her beauty. On hearing this, the Mohamedian king sent his guards to go get Kanhopatra from the temple of Pandharpur. The guards arrived at the temple gates and told Kanhopatra the king’s orders and that if she failed to listen to them, they would have to take her forcefully. She then told them that she would visit Vitthal for one last time and come back with them to the king. She went in and prayed to Vitthal and told him that if he abandons her now the whole world will blame him for this. As she pleaded with Vitthal, he removed her soul and united it with him. He took Kanhopatra in his lap and she died on his lap. Vitthal then asked the priest to burry her corpse at the southern gate of the temple. As soon as they buried her a tarati tree sprang up immediately in that place and everyone were surprised. We can till date see this tree in Vitthal Rukmani temple in Pandharpur. Meanwhile the king’s guards who were sitting in the main gate of the temple asked the priest what happened to Kanhopatra. They told them that she now got united with Vitthal and is no more. The guards then asked them to show her corpse to which the priest told them that it has changed in to a tree. The guards dint believe what they said and arrested the priest and took him to king. The priest then offered coconut and bukka from the temple to the king as Prasad and told him what happened. When the king took the coconut he saw a hair in the coconut and asked the priest how this came in the coconut offered to god. The priest was afraid and confused how it had come. He then decided to tell the king that it was Vitthal’s hair. The king dint believe this and asked him if it was true. The priest then told him to come to Pandhari and see it for himself and also gave it in writing. The king then decided to come to Pandharpur and visit the god to check if what they described about him was true. He entered the temple paid his respects to the god and went to god’s bed chamber and looked at the god. He then saw god’s brilliant crown, beautiful curly hair, his lotus eyes, his crocodile ear rings and the kaustubh around his neck. The moment the king saw this he became repentant and told the priest that he had seen the lord just the way they had described him. He then prostrated before the god and embraced his feet and said that Kanhopatra’s fortune is supreme in getting united with Vitthal.

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