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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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Puṇḍalīk and Puṇḍarīkeśvar

Puṇḍalīk and Puṇḍarīkeśvar

Chapter:
(p.139) 8 Puṇḍalīk and Puṇḍarīkeśvar
Source:
Rise of a Folk God
Author(s):

Ramchandra Chintaman Dhere

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199777594.003.0009

This chapter and the next take up the question of the historicity and meaning of Puṇḍalīk, the devotee on account of whom Kṛṣṇa is understood to have settled as Viṭṭhal in Pandharpur. Dhere argues that Puṇḍalīk was not a historical person, despite the fact that he is referred to in inscriptions as well as in literary texts. Rather, Puṇḍalīk was the presiding deity of Pandharpur. Although the story of Puṇḍalīk makes him a devotee of Viṣṇu-Kṛṣṇa-Viṭṭhal, in Puṇḍalīk's temple at Pandharpur he is represented by a Śiva liṅga. Dhere cites textual evidence that the Puṇḍalīk who was in Pandharpur before Viṭṭhal arrived there was in fact Puṇḍarīkeś or Puṇḍarīkeśvar, a form of Śiva, represented by a liṅga. As Vaiṣṇava devotees gradually Vaiṣṇavized Viṭṭhal, making him into Viṣṇu-Kṛṣṇa, “Puṇḍarīkeśvar” was shortened to “Puṇḍalīk” and Puṇḍalīk came to be identified with various Vaiṣṇava devotees of that name who appear in the Purāṇas.

Keywords:   historicity, meaning, Pandharpur, inscriptions, Pandharpur, literary texts

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