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Namadeva Gatha

Namadeva Gatha is a compilation of the poems of the Marathi Saint Namadeva (1270 – 1350 CE). It is held in reverence by Varkaris, a sect of Vaishnavas in Maharashtra, which regards Vithoba of Pandharpur as the incarnation of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. The verses called abhang (a special Marathi meter) are sung all over Maharashtra.

Namadeva is said to have composed hundreds and thousands of abhangas, but the available number at present is only about 2,110. About one hundred and fifty two abhangs delineate his own life. No poet before Namadeva wrote his autobiography in a poetic form.

Sixty one verses from Namadeva Gatha are included in Guru Granth Sahib, the holy books of the Sikhs. As Namadeva lived and travelled extensively in North India, there are references to the way of life of the people there. Mughal kings also find mention in his abhangs. One hundred and ninety-four abhangs are on the importance of the recitation of God’s name (nama mahima). About two hundred and six abhangs are devoted to the Samadhi of Saint Jnanadeva.

The meter used in Namadeva Ghatha is nivrti gayatri abhana canda. Its characteristics have been described by Namadeva in one of his abhangas (1382).