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Mukteshwar – Marathi Poet

Mukteshwar, or Muktesvara, a Marathi poet was born in 1617 CE to Godavari and Chintamani. His mother Godavari was the daughter of Ekanatha. Though his ancestral roots were in Karnataka, his family deity was Mahalakshmi of Kolhapur. He had great reverence for his teacher and referred to him as Lilavisvambhara. He spent some years at Terwad, near Kurundwad (Kolhapur). He traveled all over India.

Mukteshwar translated the Mahabharata (Adi Parva, Sabha Parva, Vana Parva, Virata Parva and Sauptika Parva), the Ramayana and the Bhagavad Gita into Marathi, and wrote narratives like Harishcandrakhyana and Sukarambhasamvada, songs, aratis and bhupalis. The total number of verses he wrote is about 10,500.

Mukteshwar enriched his narrative poetry with various figures of speech. Moreover, he depicted all the rasas (aesthetic experience) with a classical touch. His description of the fight between Bhima and Jarasandha is a fine example of his poetic skill. Though he handled all rasas with competence, the depiction of Sringara was his forte. He described nature with rare artistry. He has employed many alankaras (figures of speech) in his Mahabharata translation.

Mukteshwar is by far the first Marathi poet who has given a very elegant and classical description of nature. He is also the first scholar-poet of Marathi whose poetry is reminiscent of classical Sanskrit literature.