Bhakti Movement in Maharashtra

Saint Dnyaneshwar (1275-1296 AD)

  • Also known as Dnyaneshwar or Mauli, was prominent saint of Maharashtra Bhakti movement (Warkari Sampradaya). Warkari Sampradaya has faith in Lord Vitthal or Vithoba (incarnation of Vishnu) located in Pandharpur on the banks of Bhima River.
  • His work Dnyaneshwari (a commentary on Bhagavad Gita) and Amrut Anubhav are milestones in Marathi literature under patronage of Yadava dynasty of Devagiri.
  • He considers humility; non–injury in action, thought and words; forbearance in the face of adversity; dispassion towards sensory pleasures; purity of heart and mind; love of solitude and devotion towards one’s Guru and God as virtues; and their corresponding moral opposites as vices.


  • A saint belonging to an untouchable caste. Was associated with Warkari Sampradaya in Maharashtra. His wife was Soyarabai who was also a poet.
  • Composed many ‘Abhangas’ and considered as one of first low-caste poets in India.

Nam Dev (1270-1350 AD)

  • Disciple of Vishoba Khechar. Liberated people from shackles of rituals and caste system. Was opposed to idol worship and religious intolerance.

Tuka Ram (1601-1649 AD)

  • Born in Shudra family, which was devoted to the worship of Vithoba. Led a normal life during childhood and took to trade at the age of fourteen.
  • Even Shivaji had great admiration for Tukaram.
  • Tukaram is best known for his Abhanga (Devotional poetry) and kirtans (Community-oriented worship with spiritual songs). His poetry was devoted to Vitthala or Vithoba, an avatar of Hindu god Vishnu.
  • He insisted that it was not possible to combine both spiritual joy and activity in the world.

Ram Das (1608-1681 AD)

  • Was a devotee of Hindu deities Rama and Hanuman.
  • He is thought to have met the sixth Sikh Guru Hargobind at Srinagar.
  • He was the religious guru of Shivaji.
  • He is most remembered for his Advaita Vendatist text, Dasbodh.
  • Ramdas initiated the Samarth sect.

Eknath (1533- 1599 AD)

  • Opposed caste differences and was kind towards lower castes.
  • Was a devotee of Hindu deity Krishna. Viewed as a spiritual successor to the prominent Marathi saints Dnyaneshwar and Namdev.
  • Wrote a variation of Ramayana, known as Bhavarth Ramayan
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