The oldest book in prose form in Marathi, Vivēkasindhu (), was written by Mukundaraja, a Nath yogi and arch-poet of Marathi.
Mukundaraja bases his exposition of the basic tenets of the Hindu philosophy and the yoga marga on the utterances or teachings of Shankaracharya.
The earliest example of Maharashtri as a separate language dates to approximately 3rd century BCE: a stone inscription found in a cave at Naneghat, Junnar in Pune district had been written in Maharashtri using Brahmi script.
A committee appointed by the Maharashtra State Government to get the Classical status for Marathi has claimed that Marathi existed at least 2300 years ago alongside Sanskrit as a sister language.
Marathi is one of several languages that further descend from Maharashtri Prakrit.
Further change led to the Apabhraṃśa languages like Old Marathi, however, this is challenged by Bloch (1970), who states that Apabhraṃśa was formed after Marathi had already separated from the Middle Indian dialect.
Mukundaraja's other work, Paramamrta, is considered the first systematic attempt to explain the Vedanta in the Marathi language Notable examples of Marathi prose are "Līḷācarītra" (), events and anecdotes from the miracle-filled the life of Chakradhar Swami of the Mahanubhava sect compiled by his close disciple, Mahimbhatta, in 1238.
The Līḷācarītra is thought to be the first biography written in the Marathi language.
The earliest Marathi-only inscriptions are the ones issued during the Shilahara rule, including a c.
1012 CE stone inscription from Akshi taluka of Raigad district, and a 1060 or 1086 CE copper-plate inscription from Dive that records a land grant (agrahara) to a Brahmin.