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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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Viṭṭhal, Veṅkaṭeś, and Vīrabhadra

Viṭṭhal, Veṅkaṭeś, and Vīrabhadra

(p.56) 4 Viṭṭhal, Veṅkaṭeś, and Vīrabhadra
Rise of a Folk God

Ramchandra Chintaman Dhere

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents in detail the historical dispute between Śaivas and Vaiṣṇavas over whether the god Veṅkaṭeś is a form of Śiva or of Viṣṇu, a dispute finally resolved in favor of the Vaiṣṇava view by the Viśiṣṭādvaita philosopher Rāmānuja in the twelfth century. Dhere argues that Veṅkaṭeś of Tirupati and Viṭṭhal of Pandharpur both ultimately derive from a process of Vaiṣṇavization of the Viṭṭhal who is a pastoralist deity generally found paired with Birappā (Birobā). Similarly, Dhere argues, the Śaiva god Vīrabhadra, most prominent in Karnataka, derives from a process of Śaivization of Birappā carried out primarily by the Vīraśaivas. The chapter also includes a discussion of Vireśvar-Viṭṭhaleśvar of Lepākṣī in Andhra Pradesh, and the role of the Vijayanagara emperor in Śaivizing Viṭṭhal-Birappā there.

Keywords:   Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Vijayanagara emperor

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