Saint Dnyaneshwar Maharaj (Marathi sant)

Saint Dnyaneshwar was a 13th century Marathi saint, poet, philosopher and a yogi of the Nath sect. His works Dnyaneshwari, which is a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, and Amrutanubhav. Another compilation of compositions is considered to be milestones in Marathi literature.

Saint Dnyaneshwar Background

Dnyaneshwar was the second of four children of Vitthal Govind Kulkarni and Rukmini. A religious couple from the village Apegaon on the banks of River Godavari near Paithan in Aurangabad District of Maharashtra, India

Vithalpant managed to spend his time in the study of Vedas and Shastras. In the course of time, four children were borne to the couple: Nivrutti in the year 1273, Dnyandeo (Dnyaneshwar) in 1275, Sopan in 1277 and the fourth a daughter Muktabai in 1279.

Saint Dnyaneshwar Parents Life

The children were thus growing in Alandi under the care of Vithalpant and Rukminibai. who were both extremely religious and devoted to God. According to the traditions of the time, when Nivrittinath became due for the thread ceremony, Vithalpant requested the Brahmins to perform the same; but they were all against performing any ceremony, as they said vehemently that it was against the orders of the Shastras, to start a family life after once taking Sanyasa.

Vithalpant entreated the Brahmins in various ways and requested them to suggest something for atoning the sin committed by him; but the orthodox element in the Brahmins was not prepared to budge an inch and to give permission for the thread ceremony-Ultimately, they referred to all the religious books and said that, if Vithalpant has got to be free from the great sin committed by him, he and his wife Rukminibai should sacrifice their lives at the conference of Ganga and Yamuna.

Vithalpant who was really a Godfearing person accepted the unanimous decision of the Brahmins and with his wife jumped in the holy waters of the Ganga and Yamuna at Prayag. At that time Nivrittinath might hardly be about 10 years of age, and the others still younger.  Now, Nivrutti, their elder brother was like a parent to the three younger children. All the four children were very intelligent and pious.

Saint Dnyaneshwar Literary Writings

Dnyaneshwar learned and mastered philosophy and various techniques of kundalini yoga, which considered as the specialty of Nath cult, from Nivrutti. The children moved to Nevase, a village in Ahmednagar district where Dnyaneshwar began his literary work. Also, Nivrutti instructed Dnyaneshwar to write a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita.

He used to give a discourse on Dnyaneshwari to select audiences. There were a few notable personalities in the audience like his contemporary saint Namdev and many others from the Nath tradition. It believed that Sacchidananand Baba wrote Dnyaneshwari during such discourses by Dnyaneshwar. This is also known as Bhavartha Deepika.

Through the medium of Dnyaneshwari, the divine knowledge trapped in Sanskrit was translated into the common man ‘s Prakrit language and was made available to everyone. Dnyandeo started on his commentary which he called Bhavartha Deepika in the year 1287 when he was merely 12 years old. He finished it two and half years later in 1290. By that time he had developed a great friendship with Namdeo.

Travel / Varkari Movement

He had also realized that the path of yoga on which the Nath sect gives a great stress could not be easily followed by everyone. And the path of devotion was a key for all seekers irrespective of his or her caste, creed or gender. Perhaps he was influenced in this by Namdeo who was a tailor by profession and therefore traditionally belonged to Shudra caste.

Shortly after the completion of Bhavartha Deepika, Dnyandeo joined the varkari movement probably under the influence of Namdeo and virtually became their leader. Dnyandeo then accompanied Namdeo and several other followers of devotee path like Savata Mali, began a pilgrimage of all the holy places of north, east and west India. In his Abhangas known as “Tirthawali”. Namdeo has given a graphic description of this their visit to the holy places from which we know that Dnyaneshwar had visited many holy places of his day.


Immediately after returning to Alandi Dnyandeo (in 1296) expressed his desire to leave his body by taking samadhi. Ultimately, on the 13th day of the second half of Kartik in 1296 Dnyaneshwar Maharaj took live Samadhi at Alandi. Dnyaneshwar entered into Sanjeevan Samadhi, a yogic path to salvation at the age of 21 at Alandi on the banks of River Indrayani.

After Dnyaneshwar took the Samadhi. His siblings also decided to end their existence in this world. And within a year’s time, they too reached the ends of their lives.

Sant Dnyaneshwar’s Samadhi Mandir is a highly revered religious spot located in Alandi. A temple was built at the place of his Samadhi. Now it is pilgrim center for people from Varkari Sect in Hindu religion. The big festival held during Kartika Ekadashi is a major draw of pilgrims at this Samadhi.

                 Dnyaneshwar Temple

Saint Dnyaneshwar Details

Dnyandeo (Saint Dnyaneshwar)
In 1275 AD
Apegaon, District Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India
Father Name
Vitthal Govind Kulkarni
Mother Name
Brother and Sister Name Nivruttinath, Sopandeo, Muktabai
When Get Samadhi
In 1296 (Alandi)
Literary  Work Dnyaneshwari, Changdev Paasashti, Amrutanubhav,  Haripath, Abhanga poetry.

How to Reach

By Road Nearest Railway Station Nearest Airport Google Map
1. The distance between Pune – Alandi 24 km. Pune Pune Map
2. The distance between Mumbai – Alandi 151 km.

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