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Cokāmeḷā

(1293—1338)


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(1293–1338)

A low-caste (Mahār) Maharashtrian sant and bhakti poet belonging to the Marāṭhā Vārkarī tradition, and associated with Nāmdev. He was a devotee of Viṭṭhala at Paṇḍharpur, but was unable to enter the temple because of his untouchable status. He is said to have been crushed by a wall that fell on him while he was working as a forced labourer. Until their mass conversion to Buddhism by B. R. Ambedkar in 1956, the Mahārs regarded Cokāmeḷā's memorial, which lay outside the temple precincts, and marked the closest point at which he or they could approach the shrine, as a focal point for their worship. His hymns (abhaṅgs) remain popular with Vārkarīs.

Subjects: Hinduism.


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