Dr. Dhere has touched every aspect of the ancient culture. The gods, rituals, philosophy and literature constitute any culture. Theogony is an important indicator in the study of culture. The concept of the divine force and its expressed form is denoted by the idol. Its philosophy is a reflection of the collective thinking at any given time in the devotion of the deity. Therefore, an inquiry into the origin and development of godhead expresses hidden character of any society. It symbolizes the emotional and intellectual set up of any culture.
Dr. Dhere has covered belief system in the study of various gods such as Khandoba, Dutta, Vitthal, Bhavani, Mahalaxmi. Lajjagauri and her worship is a unique case study of the development of the Goddess of fertility.
Many a times a deity is originally worshipped in a primitive form. It is accepted in the most abstract forms. Over a period of time, it merges with the deities of similar nature. Some times they are taken over by other deities or more powerful gods. On their acceptance by masses and elites, it is exalted to more developed form. A belief complex is created around them. Mythology and Puranas are created around them. Some of the rituals specific to the deity are observed. All the processes may not be linear. Sometimes they run parallel. During the transformations original deity, its belief system is retained in vestigial form or transformed. A researcher with a vision can visualize them and trace their origin.
In his studies of Dutta, he has traced its origins in many sects, Sufis, Shaiva, Vaishnava and Tantric followers.
While investigating Khandoba, Dr. Dhere has used historical, anthropological, etymological facts. He has examined the theories that Khandoba originated from the Indra, the king of gods, or from a Konkan based deity, Ravalnath, or Jyotiba, or from the eighth century demigod ‘Moolsthandev’. He discards all such theories – and presents concrete evidences for denouncing each of them. His integrated approach does not stop at the study of the Khandoba alone. He investigates the ‘members’ of Khandoba family which include Mhalsa, Banai, Hegde Pradhan, the dog and the horse as well.
While investigating the development of Bhavani of Tulajapur, he traces the roots of her worship from self torture and other primitive forms to the goddess worshipped by many dynasties and ultimately goddess worships by masses of Shaiva, Vaishnav and Shakta sects.
The study of transformation of gods such as pastoralist to Shaiva and Vaishnava converging into Viththal is considered to be a masterpiece.
The critiques and scholars have always appreciated the research of Dr. Dhere. His uniqueness lies in the use of folk culture, their rites and rituals which are generally neglected by many researchers. Dr. Dhere stresses importance of such resources in absence of primary resources or in presence of contradicting evidences. The second resource that he uses is the integrated approach. He credits all his predecessors but he is not blinded by the awe of the stalwarts. All the evidences are interpreted in his own manner. Hence his studies of Viththal, Khandoba, Dutta, Bhavani and Mahalaxmi are proved to be a unique one.