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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 Bhima river.
Jñāneśvar, also known as Jñāndev, never referred to Namdev in his writings but perhaps had no cause to do so; Novetzke notes that "Jnandev's songs generally did not concern biography or autobiography; the historical truth of their friendship is beyond my ken to determine and has remained an unsettled subject in Marathi scholarship for over a century." Namdev is generally considered by Sikhs to be a holy man (bhagat), many of whom came from lower castes and so also attracted attention as social reformers.
Namdev's style was to compose simply worded praise for Vithoba and to use a melodic device called samkirtana, both of which were accessible to common people.
Of around 2500 abhangs that were credited to him and written in the Marathi language, perhaps only 600 - 700 are authentic.
Scholars find these biographies to be inconsistent and contradictory.
Namdev was influenced by Vaishnavism, and became widely known in India for his devotional songs set to music (bhajan-kirtans).
Contemporary references to him by a disciple, a potter, a guru and other close associates also exist.
There are no references to him in the records and inscriptions of the then-ruling family and the first non-Varkari noting of him appears possibly to be in the Lilacaritra, a Mahanubhava-sect biography dating from 1278.