Picture of Bhagat Namdev in Punjab region
|Born||c. 26 October 1270 CE|
|Died||c. 3 July 1350 CE|
Shiromani Namdev Maharaj , also transliterated as Nam Dev, Namdeo, Namadeva, (traditionally, c. 26 October 1270 – c. 3 July 1350) was an Indian poet and
The details of Namdev's life are unclear. He is the subject of many miracle-filled hagiographies composed centuries after he died. Scholars find these biographies to be inconsistent and contradictory.
Namdev was influenced by
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Details of the life of Namdev are vague. He is traditionally believed to have lived between 1270 and 1350 but S. B. Kulkarni — according to Christian Novetzke, "one of the most prominent voices in the historical study of Maharashtrian sant figures" — has suggested that 1207-1287 is more likely, based on textual analysis. Some scholars date him to around 1425 and another, R. Bharadvaj, proposes 1309-1372.
Namdev was married to Rajai and had a son, Vitha, both of whom wrote about him, as did his mother, Gonai. Contemporary references to him by a disciple, a potter, a guru and other close associates also exist. There are no references to him in the records and inscriptions of the then-ruling family and the first non-Varkari noting of him appears possibly to be in the
There are contrary traditions concerning his birthplace, with some people believing that he was born at
A friendship between Namdev and
Namdev is generally considered by
A tradition in Maharashtra is that Namdev died at the age of eighty in 1350 CE. Sikh tradition maintains that his death place was the Punjabi village of
Scholars note that many miracles and specifics about Namdev's life appear only in manuscripts written centuries after Namdev's death. The birth theory with Namdev floating down a river, is first found in Mahipati's Bhaktavijay composed around 1762, and is absent in all earlier biographies of Namdev. Mahipati's biography of Namdev adds numerous other miracles, such as buildings rotating and sun rising in the west to show respect to Namdev.
The earliest surviving Hindi and Rajasthani biographies from about 1600 only mention a few miracles performed by Namdev. In Namdev biographies published after 1600 through the end of the 20th century, new life details and more miracles increasingly appear with the passage of time. The earliest biographies never mention the caste of Namdev, and his caste appears for the first time in manuscripts with statements from Ravidas and Dhana in early 17th century. Namdev's Immaculate Conception miracle mentioned in later era manuscripts, adds Novetzke, is a story found regularly for other sants in India. The Namdev biographies in medieval manuscripts are inconsistent and contradictory, feeding questions of their reliability.