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Mahipati Maharaj – Saint Associated With Vitthal Bhakti In Maharashtra

Mahipati Maharaj, a 18th century saint in Maharashtra, is associated with Vitthal Bhakti. He was born in 1715 AD at Taharabad in Taluka Rahun in Nagar District and his parents were Dadopant and Gangabai. The pious couple used to go to Pandharpur every year and this had a deep impact on young Mahipati.

Mahipati had little formal education. He served as a village accountant (a hereditary occupation) at Taharabad, but gave it up to serve his God, Vitthal. Soon he started singing bhajans and kirtans.

Prompted by Sant Tukaram to write the “stories of the saints”, he wrote his first book, Bhakta Vijaya. This was based on a work of Nathaji of Gwalior.

Bhakta Vijaya was followed by Panduranga Mahatmya, the biography of Pundalik, in 1766 AD. This is a dialogue between Shiva and Parvati. Santa Lilamrita, Tulasi Mahatmya, Ganesha Purana and Bhaktabharana followed. He also wrote on Vratas such as Rishi Panchami, Anant Chaturdashi etc. He finished writing Bhakta Leelamrut in 1774 AD.

Mahipati Maharaj wrote during the period when the Bhakti movement was in its full swing in Maharashtra. He was influenced by the powerful integrating force of the movement. His aim in writing Bhakta Vijaya was to bring Hindus and Muslims together. He treated muslim, harijan, Brahmin and non-brahmin saints with equal veneration.

He believed that in spite of physical, mental and temperamental differences among saints, there was no distinction among them in the quality of their mystical and intuitive realization of God.

Mahipati Maharaj attained Samadhi in 1790 AD.