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Sub Sects Of Warkaris – Four Different Warkari Groups

The term ‘Warkari’ means a person who performs wari, an annual pilgrimage to Pandharpur in Maharashtra, where the temple of Sri Vitthal is located on the banks of Bhima River, a tributary of Krishna. It is the most important shrine of the Warkari sect; members visit it every year. There four sub-sects among Warkaris – or four different groups

  1. Chaitanya
  2. Svarupa
  3. Ananda
  4. Prakasha

They are based on the difference of mantra which they chant.

In the Chaitanya sub-sect, there are two groups – one whose mantra is ‘Ramakrishna Hari’, and the other, ‘Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya’. Sant Tukaram and his disciple Nilobarai belonged to the Chaitanya sub-sect. From Tukaram’s abhangas it becomes clear that the mantra was given to him in his dream by Raghav Chaitanya and Keshava Chaitanya and also by Babaji. Sant Dnyaneshwar also seems to have belonged to this sub-sect. This sub-sect is the most popular, as most Warkaris belong to it.

Svarupa sub-sect of Warkaris have’ Sri Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Rama’ as their mantra. In this sect too, there are two groups, one known as Ramanujiya, who can be distinguished by a red line mark on their forehead, whereas the other, known as Ramanandi, apply a white line. Ramananda, Kabir and Kamala are said to belong to this group.

Ananda sub-sect of Warkaris have ‘Sri Rama’ or ‘Rama’ as their mantra. Sena Nhavi, a great saint who was a barber, was a follower of this sect.

Prakasha sub-sect of Warkaris have ‘Om Namo Narayanaya’ as their mantra. Its most important member was Sant Eknath, a great saint-poet of medieval Maharashtra.