Viṭṭhal, Veṅkaṭeś, and Vīrabhadra

Ramchandra Chintaman Dhere

in Rise of a Folk God

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199777594
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919048 | DOI:

Series: South Asia Research

Viṭṭhal, Veṅkaṭeś, and Vīrabhadra

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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

Chapter.  10414 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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