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Rise of a Folk GodVitthal of Pandharpur$
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Ramchandra Chintaman Dhere

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199777594

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199777594.001.0001

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The Sources of the Story of Puṇḍalīk

The Sources of the Story of Puṇḍalīk

(p.151) 9 The Sources of the Story of Puṇḍalīk
Rise of a Folk God

Ramchandra Chintaman Dhere

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents several Purāṇic and Purāṇic-style stories of Vaiṣṇava devotees named Puṇḍalīk, and shows that many of these stories were used in creating the Māhātmyas of Pandharpur and in piecing together the story of Puṇḍalīk, the filial devotee on account of whom Kṛṣṇa came to Pandharpur and became Viṭṭhal. Dhere also reviews the history of scholarship on Puṇḍalīk and considers the reasons why scholars would ignore the obvious fact that Puṇḍalīk's image is one of Śiva. Finally, Dhere discusses the Śaiva (Nāth) background of the earliest of the poet-saints devoted to Viṭṭhal, and the liberal Maharashtrian tradition of the unity of Viṣṇu and Śiva (Hari and Hara). Dhere traces this tradition ultimately to the ancient Pāśupata sect, which was once spread over all of India and later merged into new sects (Mahānubhāvs, Vīraśaivas, Nāths) that arose in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and became influential in Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Keywords:   Maharashtra, Karnataka, Pandharpur, liberal Maharashtrian tradition, India

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