Satya Pīr

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A probably mythical Muslim saint (pīr) whose immensely popular cult originated in Bengal in the 16th century ce. He was revered by Muslims and Hindus alike for his ability to protect against disease and demonic powers, and to aid in the acquisition of wealth. Devotion to him was expressed through a large number of songs and stories about the miraculous effects of his worship, which sat comfortably alongside more specifically Islamic and Hindu practices. Offerings were made as they would be to any local deity, often simply to a wooden plank representing the pīr. From around the early 18th century, however, Hindus began to identify Satya Pīr as Satya Nārāyaṇa, an avatāra of Viṣṇu, and in the face of this incorporation, or Sanskritization, and their own increasingly exclusive understanding of Islam, Muslims gradually relinquished their devotion to him.

Subjects: Hinduism.

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