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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 Yādavas’ God

The Yādavas’ God

(p.234) 14 The Yādavas’ God
Rise of a Folk God

Ramchandra Chintaman Dhere

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the living forms of the pastoralist cults that lie behind the cult of Viṭṭhal. The chapter discusses the predominance of pastoralists in the population, ecology, and cultural traditions of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh, and the large number of kings and dynasties called “Yādavas” who contributed to the rise to prominence of the cult of Viṭṭhal. Most of these dynasties arose from pastoralist groups and took the name Yādava in order to raise their status by connecting themselves with Kṛṣṇa's clan. Finally, the chapter presents narratives, rituals, and holy places connected with the pastoralists' Viṭṭhal, who is paired with his brother Birappā. Dhere uses the fact that the Dhangar's Viṭṭhal-Birappā coexists with the Viṭṭhal of the Marathi poet-saints to illustrate how Hindu traditions are able to develop and change, while at the same time preserving intact each stage along the course of their development.

Keywords:   pastoralist cults, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, narratives, rituals, holy places

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