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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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Mother Viṭhāī

Mother Viṭhāī

Chapter:
(p.207) 12 Mother Viṭhāī
Source:
Rise of a Folk God
Author(s):

Ramchandra Chintaman Dhere

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199777594.003.0013

This chapter considers the way that the saints devoted to Viṭṭhal use the imagery of motherhood to express his love for them. After a lengthy exposition of the maternal imagery used by the two most famous and prolific thirteenth-century Marathi poet-saints, Jñāneśvar and Nāmdev, the chapter briefly illustrates the continuation of this imagery in the works of the sixteenth-century poet Eknāth and the seventeenth-century poet Tukārām. Dhere then contrasts the maternal imagery of these poet-saints with Śakta goddess cults, village goddess cults, and the treatment of evil female beings in the life stories of the Buddha and Kṛṣṇa. The chapter concludes by presenting a typology of mother-imagery and pointing out the “androgynous primordial motherhood” of the saints' experience of Viṭṭhal.

Keywords:   saints, devotion, motherhood, maternal imagery, village goddess cults, evil female beings

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