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God at Play, Volume 1

God at Play, Volume 1


Edited and translated by Anne Feldhaus

ISBN 9780674292413

Publication date: 01/02/2024

The oldest extant Marathi work, a medieval chronicle of Chakradhar’s divine life on earth, in a new English translation.

God at Play, or Līḷācaritra, is a remarkable biography of the medieval religious figure Chakradhar Svami. His followers, called Mahanubhavs, understand him to be a divine incarnation of Parameshvar. Mhaimbhat, a Brahmin goldsmith who became one of Chakradhar’s most important followers, compiled this astonishingly down-to-earth religious text around 1278. It records not only Chakradhar’s ethical and theological teachings, but also his everyday activities, including the foods he ate and the people he met. This rich, detailed account provides insights into economic conditions, political history, and society in medieval India. Manuscripts of the work were carefully preserved within the Mahanubhav community and were not known to outsiders until the early twentieth century.

The first volume of God at Play describes Chakradhar’s early life, his wanderings as a lone ascetic, and the gathering of the disciples who later accompany him on his travels.

This new English translation of Līḷācaritra is accompanied by an emended Marathi text, based on Hari Narayan Nene’s edition, in the Devanagari script.


  • Anne Feldhaus is Distinguished Foundation Professor of Religious Studies, Emerita, at Arizona State University.

Book Details

  • 784 pages
  • 5-1/4 x 8 inches
  • Harvard University Press