Janabai (also called Sant Janabai, Jani; about 1298–1350) was a woman saint and mystic poet of medieval India. She was a major figure in the Bhakti movement that swept the whole of India from twelfth to seventeenth centuries. She is well known as a composer of abhangas, or devotional verse, that are popularly recited or sung to this day. Sant Janabai, whose devotees prefix the honorific “Sant” or saint to her name as a mark of respect and honor, belonged to the Varkari Panth in Maharashtra.
The Varkaris, an influential religious community of bhaktas or devotees, worship Lord Vithoba (also called Sri Vittal, Pandhari, or Pandurang), a manifestation of Lord Vishnu, in the temple at Pandharpur in southern Maharastra. The Varkari devotees address their deity as sakha (friend), or a loving parent, more particularly a mother, or a lover, who admires and supports their devotion.
Janabai was born to a poor and lower-caste, Sudra family of Varkari devotees who lived in...
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