Namdev, also transliterated as Namdeo and Namadeva, (traditionally, c. 1270 – c. 1350)
was a poet-saint from Maharashtra, India who is significant to the Varkari sect of Hinduism. He is also venerated
in Sikhism, as well as Hindu warrior-ascetic traditions
such as the Dadupanthis and the Niranjani Sampraday that emerged in north India during the Islamic rule.
Namdev was married to Rajai and had a son, Vitha, both of whom wrote about him, as did his mother, Gonai.
According to Mahipati, a hagiographer of the 18th century, Namdev's parents were Damashet and Gonai,
a childless elderly couple whose prayers for parenthood were answered and involved him being found floating down a river.
There are contrary traditions concerning his birthplace, with some people believing that he was born
at Narsi Bahmani, on the Krishna River in Marathwada, and others preferring somewhere near to Pandharpur on the
Bhimariver. that he was himself a calico-printer or tailor and that he spent much of his life in Punjab.
The Lilacaritra suggests, however, that Namdev was a cattle-thief who was devoted to and assisted Vithoba.
The literary works of Namdev were influenced by Vaishnavaphilosophy and a belief in Vithoba.
Along with the Jñānēśvarī, a sacred work of Jñānēśvar, and of Bhakti movement teacher-writers such as Tukaram,
the writings of Namdev form the basis of the beliefs held by the Varkari sect of Hinduism.
He was thus among those responsible for disseminating the monotheistic Varkari faith that had
emerged first in Karnataka in the mid-to-late 12th century and then spread to Pandharpur in Maharashtra.
The earliest anthological record of Namdev's works occurs in the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scriptures compiled in 1604.
The numerous subsequently produced manuscripts also show variant texts and additions that are
attributed to him. Of around 2500 abhangs that were credited to him and written in the Marathi language,
perhaps only 600 - 700 are authentic.
The surviving manuscripts are geographically dispersed and of uncertain provenance.
The Adi Granth of Sikhism includes a compilation of 61 songs of Namdev.
However, of these only 25 are found in surviving Namdev-related manuscripts of Rajasthan.