Rise of a Folk God: Vitthal of Pandharpur

Hardcover | October 24, 2011

byRamchandra Chintaman Dhere, Anne Feldhaus

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Vitthal, also called Vithoba, is the most popular Hindu god in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, and the best-known god of that region outside India. His temple at Pandharpur is the goal of an annual pilgrimage that is one of the largest and most elaborate in the world. This book is theforemost study of the history of Vitthal, his worship, and his worshippers. First published in Marathi in 1984, the book remains the most thorough and insightful work on Vitthal and his cult in any language, and provides an exemplary model for understanding the history and morphology of livedHinduism. The author, Ramchandra Chintaman Dhere, is the leading scholar of religious traditions in Maharashtra and throughout the Deccan, the plateau that covers most of central India.Vitthal exemplifies the synthesis of Vaishnava and Shaiva elements that not only typifies Maharashtrian Hindu religious life but also marks Vitthal's resemblance to another prominent South Indian god, Venkatesh of Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. Dhere's analysis highlights Vitthal's connection withpastoralist hero cults, and demonstrates the god's development from a god of shepherds to a god of the majority of the population. In addition, Dhere also explores the connections of Vitthal with Buddhist and Jain traditions. In the book's final chapter, Dhere presents a culminating stage in theevolution of the worship of Vitthal: the interpretation in spiritual terms of the god, his temple, the town of Pandharpur, and the river that flows past the town. Dhere received India's highest literary award, the Sahitya Akademi prize, for this book.

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Vitthal, also called Vithoba, is the most popular Hindu god in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, and the best-known god of that region outside India. His temple at Pandharpur is the goal of an annual pilgrimage that is one of the largest and most elaborate in the world. This book is theforemost study of the history of Vitthal, h...

Ramchandra Chintaman Dhere, the foremost scholar of religious traditions in Maharashtra, has published over 100 books in this area. The dozens of awards he has received for his scholarly work include the highly coveted Maharashtra State Prize and the Sahitya Akademi prize. Anne Feldhaus is Foundation Professor of Religious Studies at ...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:370 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:October 24, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199777594

ISBN - 13:9780199777594

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Puranic Sources for the Study of Vitthal2. Hari in Cowherd's Garb3. The Secret of the Dindira Forest4. Vitthal, Venkates, and Virabhadra5. Vitthalesvar6. In Search of the Original Image of Vitthal7. Vitthal and Hero-Stones8. Pundalik and Pundarikesvar9. The Sources of the Story of Pundalik10. Vitthal and the Buddha11. Vitthal, Jains, and Ramdasis12. Mother Vithai13. The Vedicization of Vitthal14. The Yadavas' God15. The Body Is PandhariGlossaryAbbreviationsBibliographyIndex