|About the Book|
The ascetic, devotional sect known as the Mahanubhavs - Those of the Great Experience - arose in 13th century Maharashtra. The Mahanubhavs initially experienced a fairly rapid expansion, particularly across the northern and eastern regions of Maharashtra. However, by the end of the 14th century their movement went underground as they sought a defensive isolation from the larger Hindu context, and they withdrew to remote areas and villages. Although the prominent leaders of the early Mahanubhavs were Brahmans (often converts from the prevailing advaita vaisnavism), their followers were and are mostly non-Brahmans, i.e. low caste people and even untouchables. Thus the Mahanubhavs were met with prejudice and distrust outside their own closed circles, and this isolation continued until the beginning of the 20th century. This volume offers an overview of the origins and main religious and doctrinal characteristics of the Mahanubhavs, with a particular focus on the aspects that reveal their difference and nonconformity.