Dnyaneshwar , also known as Dnyandev or Mauli was a 13th-century Marathi saint, poet, philosopher and yogi
of the Nath tradition whose Dnyaneshwari
(a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita) and Amrutanubhav are considered to be milestones in Marathi literature.
Dnyaneshwar's father Vitthalapant was the kulkarni (hereditary accountant, usually Brahmin,
who maintained land and tax records in villages) of a village called Apegaon on the banks of the Godavari River
in Maharashtra, a profession he had inherited from his ancestors.
He married Rakhumabai, the daughter of the kulkarni of Alandi.
Dnyaneshwar was born in 1275 (on the auspicious day of Krishna Janmashtami) in Apegaon village on the
bank of Godavari river near Paithan in Maharashtra during the reign of the Yadava king Ramadevarava.
However, this period also witnessed religious degeneration, sectarianism, superstition and ritualism
which involved animal sacrifices to many local deities. Dnyaneshwar would later criticise the religious degeneration
of the day in his magnum opus Dnyaneshwari. According to B. P. Bahirat,
Dnyaneshwar emerged as the first original philosopher who wrote in the Marathi language, in this era.
Biographical details of Dnyaneshwar's life are preserved in the writings of his contemporary Namdev
and his disciples Satyamalanath and Sachchidanand. The various traditions give conflicting accounts of details of
Dnyaneshwar's life. The date of composition of his work Dnyaneshwari (1290 CE), however is undisputed. According
to the more
accepted tradition on Dnyaneshwar's life, he was born in 1275 CE and he attained Sanjeewan(alive) samadhi in 1296 CE.
On the 13th day of the dark half of the Kartik month of the Hindu Calendar, in Alandi, Dnyaneshwar, then was
twenty one year old entered into sanjeevan samadhi. His samadhi lies in the Siddhesvara Temple complex in Alandi.