It was predicted by a sage that the children of Vithal and Rukmini
would be great spiritual leaders. But of their four children it was little
Jnanadev who seemed to have a special inclination for the
scriptures. In his brief life as a preacher Jnaneshwar, as he was
called later, spread the message of Bhagwat Dharma or love of God
and brotherhood of man. He was the founder of the Bhakti movement
in Maharashtra. Jnaneshwar renounced the world at the age of
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Jnaneshwar was the founder of the Bhakti movement in Maharashtra, and all subsequent poet-saints of Maharashtra looked up to him for inspiration.
Jnaneshwar explained the Gita for the first time in Marathi and thus brought it to the common man who had no knowledge of Sanskrit. He wrote in the Jnaneshwari, (his commentary on the Gita): "Let the city of the Marathi language be enriched with spiritual knowledge so that the merchandise of happiness will be cheap and customers in this market can take as much happiness as they want." With this motive he explained the Gita in a simple way, giving examples from day-to-day life. It was not his intention to establish a sect. He wanted only to share the joy of the Gita with the masses. "i want to fill the whole world with divine joy", he wrote. And he did. His Jnaneshwari is read and reread to this day, throughout Maharashtra.
Besides the Jnaneshwari, the other works of Jnaneshwar include Anubhavamrita, Changdev Pasashti, and over a thousand verses known as "Abhangas."
With his mission accomplished, Jnaneshwar chose to withdraw from the world at the tender age of twenty-one. He entered SAMADHI at Alandi in the year 1297 A.D. Namdev in his Jnanadevachi Adi has recorded the events in the life of his spiritual preceptor in great detail.
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