FOLK GOD OF THE SOUTH: KHANDOBA

Chapter 4

The mass appeal of Khandoba

In history, firstly the Veershaiva cultist people seem to have opposed the worship. However, later they snatched the total control and priesthood of it.

No resources are available to pinpoint the status of this worship, in the Dyaneshwar period. Mahanubhavs, although have expressed a negation – it is line with their general negation of all ‘others’ and not a specific one.

Thereafter, from Eknath’s time, literature of saints and sages is seen to be mention Khandoba in both ways- Praise and negation. Shekh Mohammad Srigondekar, contemporary of Eknath has catetorically condemned this worship.

Eknath, however seems to have adopted a more ameliorating stand towards this worship, with a possible motive of uplifting people’s minds. Without just condemning it, he seems to have utilized this forms for spiritual upliftment.

The chapter gives details of mentions in Eknath’s literature. It also offers a detailed review of Samarth Ramdas’s writing on the said topic.

Keshav Swami Bhaganagarkar, Rangnathswami Nigdikar, Dinkar Swami Tisgaonkar are the friends and disciples of Samratha, as the chapter mentions, who have included Khandoba in their compositions.

Later as content of the chapter informs,

Madhava-Munishwar from Nashik, Amrutray, Niranjan Madhav, Moropant, Niranjan Raghunath, Mauni-nath Maharaj, and Shaheer Honaji are some other poets, who have written and mentioned about Khandoba. Prominent examples of such writings are mentioned in this book poetwise.

Few of the personalities associated with Maratha history and culture of Maharashtra were ardent devotees of Khandoba. The chapter presents an overview of such personalities.

Christian missionaries, and their ciriticism of Khandoba, under the garb of ‘humnaitarian grounds’ has been a very perculiar topic, which is dealt as an overview in this chapter.

Khandoba is amply mentioned in the folk songs as well. Invariably, such mentions are associated with relevant folktales as well. The chapter presents some examples here a few phrases and idioms derives from the tradition of Khandoba worship and associated objects are also enlisted.

While summarizing, the author regrets that vast popularity in folk culture, which ‘Khandoba’ has enjoyed is merely owing to his capability of fulfilling the devotte’s most mundance and worldly, even illegal and vagabond desires. This very fact constricted it and kept it within the realms of superstition. This cites Dr. Dhere to be the singular reason that the tradition has not produced a benevolent welfare - minded saint or sage.

Four appendices

This book contains 4 appendices in part 1, as below.

Appendix 1 offers a comprehensive list of the places of abode and worship of Khandoba and Banai, Mhaalsa.

Appendix 2 provides some thoughts about Khandoba expressed by three 20th century researchers, and the author’s peripheral comments on it. The researchers mentioned are namely C.V. Vaidya, V.N. Chhatre and Aba Chandorkar.

Appendix 3 provides some songs, associated with Khandoba who mostly link with ‘Shahir’ tradition.

Appendix 4 compiles some mentions of Khandoba in Sherkh Mohammad shreegondekar’s writings.

Part 2 : Some more notes

Part 2 of the book, is an addition in the latest edition. It comprises of following content-
An introduction to another praise –volume ‘Sri Marthandavijay’ by poet Gangadhar alongwith the poets’ information. Dr. Dhere provides details on the original manuscript referred for editing, its bibliographical resources, its literary qualities and shortcomings etc. in this part. It also gives the sequence for recital and reading of this volume.

‘Mallari Mahatyama’ by Sreedharswami

This volume was edited by Dr. R.C. Dhere in 1975. Some important information from this preface is given here, alongwith biographical details of the composer – Sridharswami ‘Krishnachi Aal’ – obstinacy of Krishna, an important reference material by Nama Pathak is also elucidanted here. (In the portal, it is given else where)

Lastly, Dr. Dhere in three separate sub-chapters sheds ample light on the various debates, protests, and justifications on the barbaric and inhuman practice of offering daughters to Khandoba and converting them to a ‘Moorali’. This part includes a protest and action- evoking letter by a christian lady written in ‘Purity servant’ magazine, October 1907. It gives content of a total wrongful justification of the ‘Moorali’ tradition by an orthodox Brahmin, K.V. Lele – as an answer to issues raised by Dr. Ramakrishna Bhandarkar.

 

 
 

 
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