Viṭṭhal, Jains, and Rāmdāsīs

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, Jains, and Rāmdāsīs

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The poet-saints devoted to Viṭṭhal do not identify him with the Jina as they identify him with the Buddha. Nonetheless, the claim has been made, at least until the end of the eighteenth century, that Viṭṭhal is “the Jains' god.” This chapter investigates the basis of that claim, pointing out similarities in biography, characteristics, and appearance among Kṛṣṇa, Viṭṭhal, and the Jains' twenty-fourth Tīrthaṅkar, Nemināth. The chapter concludes with a discussion of devotion to Viṭṭhal in the Samartha (Rāmdās) sect, a Maharashtrian Vaiṣṇava group that is generally thought to be opposed to the cult of Viṭṭhal and exclusively devoted to Rām. The fact that even Jains and members of the Samartha sect are brought into connection with Viṭṭhal is further evidence of the all-embracing character of this god and his cult.

Keywords: Jina; Jainism; Samartha sect; devotion; Buddha

Chapter.  7158 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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