Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Holy River Indrayani

- By Deepa Krishnan

The sacred river Indrayani originates a few kilometers from Pune, near Lonavla in the Sahyadri mountains, and flows east to meet the Bhima river, passing through the pilgrimage towns of Dehu and Alandi (both are in Pune District).
Dehu is the birthplace of the poet-saint Tukaram, and Alandi holds the samadhi of the poet-saint Dnyaneshwar. Because of these sacred associations, the Indrayani is revered as a holy river.

Tukaram was born in 1608 in Dehu. He is considered the single most influential figure in the history of Marathi literature. By composing in Marathi, Tukaram incurred the wrath of the Brahmins who believed he had overstepped the bounds of his low caste. The local legend is that the Brahmins compelled Tukaram to throw his manuscripts into the river. Tukaram then commenced a fast-unto-death, and after thirteen days the manuscripts of Tukaram’s poems miraculously reappeared floating in the waters.
Dynaneshwar was born near Paithan, but attained samadhi at Alandi at the age of 21. He wrote Bhavarth Deepika, popularly known as Dynaneshwari. It is a commentary on the Bhagvad Gita, written in Marathi, and is considered a major milestone in Marathi literature.

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