(15th century ce?)
The name given to a North Indian Vaiṣṇava teacher, and devotee of Rāma and Sītā, who, it is claimed, founded the Rāmānandī saṃpradāya. Little or nothing is known about him outside the details given in, frequently incompatible, hagiographies, and modern scholarship suggests that he may not have been an historical figure at all. Among the claims made are that, before founding his own order, he belonged to Rāmānuja's lineage (paramparā), and that he was the teacher of well-known low-caste sants such as Kabīr and Raidāsa. Whether an entirely mythical figure or not, Rāmānanda is a significant figurehead and perceived point of origin for an important North Indian, Hindi-speaking bhakti movement.