--> Skip to main content

Janabai – Story Of Her Life – Abhangs

Janabai is one of the early women saints of Maharashtra during the period of the medieval Bhakti movement. She was one of the greatest women Sant in the Vitthal Sampradaya, the tradition of devotion to Vitthal of Panadarpur.

The story of Janabai, the girl of Gangakhed turning into a mystic devotee of Vitthala has fascinated people of Maharashtra to this day. It has an element of miracle and is considered to be of divine design.

Janabai was born in 1260 a poor family. Her father, Dama, had a dream in which he was asked to take his daughter to Damaseti, a tailor in Pandharpur, to serve in his household. Dameaseti was none other than the father of Sant Namadev, the celebrated saint who was closely associated with Sant Dnyaneshwar. In the household, Janabai gradually ceased to be a servant and grew into a devotee of Vitthal.

It so happened that whenever she stopped working, her God completed the work for her. It was often the case that when she was grinding corn, and started dreaming about Vitthal, the lord ground the corn for her.

Janabai was once punished for stealing the ornaments and shawl of Vitthal of Pandharpur. The Lord had left them with her after helping her grind corn during the night. When the punishment was to be meted out, Vitthal came to her rescue ; it is said that the spear on which she was to be impaled turned into water.

Janabai ranks high as a poet of abhangs (devotional songs) and devotees of Vitthal take much delight in singing them. She also created abhangs in praise of Namdev and Chokhamela.

She also wrote a narrative poem on king Harishchandra, the legendary ruler who adhered to truth even in the most trying circumstances.