Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland

Original Communications

Art. VI.—An Account of the Bauddho-Vaishnavas, or Vitthal-Bhaktas of the Dakhan

Rev. J. Stevenson

The Bauddho-Vaishnavas are a sect of Hindus living chiefly within the limits of the Marátha country, though also scattered over Gujaráth, Central India, and the Carnatic, wherever the Marathas have formed settlements. People usually call them Vitthal-Bhaktas, because they worship Vishnu under the form of Pandurang or Vitthal, whose chief temple is at Pandharpur, on the right bank of the Bhima. They delight in calling themselves Vaishnava Vira, yet since there are others to whom this name is equally applicable, it will not serve for a characteristic epithet. But as the worshippers of Pandurang consider their god to be the ninth or Bauddha Avatár of Vishnu, the term Bauddho-Vaishnavas forms a convenient descriptive name for the sect, In the paper on the intermixture of Buddhism with Brahmanism in the religion of the Hindus of the Dakhan, I made particular mention of Vithobá, as this god is most frequently termed. In that paper, I based my observations mainly on oral communications and popular traditions; since that time, however, having had occasion to pay more attention to the literature of the Vitthal-Bhaktas, there appears enough of interesting matter in their writings to merit a particular notice of their religious opinions and history.

(Received March 06 1841)