BEETHALA (VITHUL) Beethala is here and Beethala is there; the whole world is not without Beethala; within all the places, says Nama, O Beethala, Thou art filling all the space. (Asa Namdev, p. 485) O my Beethala, meet me, wrap Thy arms around me. (Sri Raga Trilochan, p. 92) A Brahmin named Pundalik was going on a pilgrimage from Deccan to Benares with his wife and aged parents. He adopted a very insolent behaviour towards his parents.

In the way, in the town of Pandharpur, he was the guest of a Brahmin, who was a model of filial piety. In the morning when he woke up in his hosfs house, he saw three richly ornamented ladies doing menial work in the house. He was surprised and asked about their identity, but they called him a Chandala and did not like to disclose their identity. On his insistence, they told him that they were three river goddesses (Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati) and they served in the Brahmin\’s house because of his ideal behaviour towards his parents. This incident was an eye-opener for Pundalik.

He gave up the idea of going further on the pilgrimage and for the rest of his lifé, he behaved in an exemplary mariner towards his parents. Because of this devotion, Vishnu was highly pleased and inspired Pundalik with a portion of his own divinity. This deified saint was renamed Vithal or Vithoba. In folk-language, the word Vithal became corrupted to Beethala. Nowadays, there is a splendid temple in Pandharpur dedicated to Vithal. The radical saints and Sikh Gurus used the word Vithal (Beethal) for God Himself.

References :

1. Kohli,Surindar Singh ed, Dictionary of Mythological References in Guru Granth Sahib, 1993