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Rāmadāsa

(1608—1681)


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(1608–1681)

A Maharashtrian poet-saint (sant) and Vaiṣṇava religious leader. A brahmin devotee (dāsa means ‘servant’) of Rāma (although he was originally a follower of the Vārkāri Panth), he founded a series of temples and maṭhas across the region. His teachings, notably in the encyclopaedic Daśabodha, advocate a militant Hindu nationalism, which appears to have been closely aligned to the Marāṭhā resistance to Mughal rule led by King Śivājī. Rāmadāsa is said to have been the king's guru, and a rival of the Sanskrit paṇḍita, Gāgābhaṭṭa, who performed the monarch's coronation in 1674. The sampradāya founded by him, whose members are known as the Rāmadāsīs (Rāmdāsīs), went into decline with the end of the Marāṭhā kingdom in 1817, but has revived again with the rise of post-Independence Maharashtrian nationalism. It is based at Sajjangad, near the city of Satara, south of Pune. Now a Vaiṣṇava tīṛtha, the fort of Sajjangad was gifted to Rāmadāsa by Śivājī, and contains the saint's samādhi.

Subjects: Hinduism.


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