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As the word suggests, a Tamil name for Kṛṣṇa, especially, at the popular level, the Kṛṣṇa of bhakti and devotional poetry. He may have been introduced to the South in the 1st centuries ce through the Mahābhārata (Bhagavadgītā), but he also has pronounced elements of the Purāṇic Viṣṇu and Nārāyaṇa. Thanks to the influence of the Āḻvār poets, Māyōṉ became an object of devotion in a number of related contexts: through his mythical actions (drawn from stories about Kṛṣṇa and Viṣṇu's avatāras), through his incarnation in South Indian temple statues (where his more Viṣṇu-like characteristics are emphasized, especially by the Śrī Vaiṣṇavas), and through his residence in the hearts of his devotees.

Subjects: Hinduism.

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