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Formalized by the tenth century, the expansive Bhagavata Purana resists easy categorization. While the narrative holds together as a coherent literary work, its language and expression compete with the best of Sanskrit poetry. The text's theological message focuses on devotion to Krishna or Vishnu, and its philosophical outlook is grounded in the classical traditions of Vedanta and Samkhya. No other Purana has inspired so much commentary, imitation, and derivation. The work has grown in vibrancy through centuries of performance, interpretation, worship, and debate and has guided the actions and meditations of elite intellectuals and everyday worshippers alike. This annotated translation and detailed analysis shows how one text can have such enduring appeal. Key selections from the Bhagavata Purana are faithfully translated, while all remaining sections of the Purana are concisely summarized, providing the reader with a continuous and comprehensive narrative. Detailed endnotes explain unfamiliar concepts and several essays elucidate the rich philosophical and religious debates found in the Sanskrit commentaries. Together with the multidisciplinary readings contained in the companion volume The Bhagavata Purana: Sacred Text and Living Tradition (Columbia, 2013), this book makes a central Hindu masterpiece more accessible to English-speaking audiences and more meaningful to scholars of Hindu literature, philosophy, and religion.
A verse-by-verse examination of the guide to self-transformation
presented in the Bhagavad Gita
Unique in its combination of scriptural erudition and experiential wisdom, this book makes accessible the true philosophy of Tantra and Kashmir Shaivism for dedicated students of yoga and Eastern philosophy.
This book details the goddess Kali and the culture of devotion to her in West Bengal and South Asia. The term Adya means primal, original or archean. Adya Kali is the primordial energy, the shakti, that creates, preserves, and transforms/dissolves all existence. She is the womb that births all, and the tomb that swallows all. In Praise of Adya Kali is different from most contemporary books about Kali because it offers a liturgy of worship, a type of spiritual practice (sadhana) that the reader (both male and female) can use over the course of days, weeks, or months, to cultivate a direct devotional relationship to Kali. But, beyond that, In Praise of Adya Kali is a context-setting guide. Rather than simply recommending that we recite these sacred names, each one a prayer, the author establishes this practice as a general orientation to life. Furthermore, and most compelling, the text and Commentaries on this liturgy contain an intimate revelation of how the goddess establishes herself in her devotees' bodies and thus intervenes, by unconditional love and acceptance, in their lives. A lengthy Introduction, both scholarly and personal, describes the goddess and the possibilities that these prayers will offer. Aditi Devi guides us in how to build a shrine to Kali, various types of offerings to make to her, and suggests a schedule for how to use this liturgy with a long-term commitment over the course of 108 nights. This book presents a serious practice, not for the faint-hearted. It requires courage, strength and joy to permit the goddess's energy to slowly, sensuously and irrevocably be invoked-conceived, allowed to gestate, birthed according to her will. And while the orientation here is toward realizing her sacred presence in the "womb" of the devotee, the practice can be undertaken by anyone. The physical form of the body is not a limitation, as the author notes: "In this lineage we practice into the depths of whatever form we have, & arise from within that, knowing that we are her, male or female. This Song of the Hundred Names is a powerful teaching that all forms are her forms." Male, female or other gendered, we are presented with the possibility to experience the depths of our own internal feminine energies & thereby come into greater healing & wholeness, more readily able to express this often neglected part of ourselves. Aditi Devi's long study & spiritual practice within living tantric lineages in South Asia has made this book possible.
The 19th century was a pioneering age for vernacular texts in India. Vernacular writings became popular for making the 'first' interventions of their kind, written by Indians for Indians, and establishing new genres such as the novel. The Subhedar's Son, an award-winning Marathi novel, was written in 1895 and published by the Bombay Tract and Book Society. The novel comprises overlapping personal and political trajectories.The author, The Rev. Dinkar Shankar Sawarkar, inscribed multiple viewpoints into his narrative, including that of his own father, the Shankar Nana (1819-1884), a Brahmin who was one of the early converts of the Church Missionary Society in Western India and served the CMS and the Anglican Church in various capacities for many years. Apart from Shankar Nana's conversion-story, Sawarkar provides readers with a blueprint of what a Brahminical journey towards Christian conversion encompassed, while describing his personal background of having lived a Christian life as a product of both Brahminism and Christianity. He in effect attempts to deconstruct Brahmanism through Christianity and as a Christian he claims Brahmin roots, with the aim of combatting the stigma of Christian conversion. Contextualized by the history of Maharashtra's early missions and the specificities of individual conversions, the novel allows modern researchers to appreciate the particularity of regional and vernacular Indian Christianity. This culturally-specific Christianity spurred the production of Christian vernacular print culture, associating 'being Marathi' with broader and more universal frameworks of Christianity. But this new genre also produced nativist forms of Christian devotion and piety. Deepra Dandekar introduces this annotated translation of The Subhedar's Son, with: an examination of the Church Missionary Society's socio- political context; a biography of Shankar Nana gleaned from archival sources; a brief summary of Sawarkar's biography; and an analysis of the multiple political opinions framing the book. An appendix contains a transcription of Shankar Nana's Christian witness.
Living Mantra is an anthropology of mantra-experience among Hindu-tantric practitioners. In ancient Indian doctrine and legends, mantras perceived by rishis (seers) invoke deities and have transformative powers. Adopting a methodology that combines scholarship and practice, Mani Rao discovers a continuing tradition of visionaries (rishis/seers) and revelations in south India's Andhra-Telangana. Both deeply researched and replete with fascinating narratives, the book reformulates the poetics of mantra-practice as it probes practical questions. Can one know if a vision is real or imagined? Is vision visual? Are deity-visions mediated by culture? If mantras are effective, what is the role of devotion? Are mantras language? Living Mantra interrogates not only theoretical questions, but also those a practitioner would ask: how does one choose a deity, for example, or what might bind one to a guru? Rao breaks fresh ground in redirecting attention to the moments that precede systematization and canon-formation, showing how authoritative sources are formed.
Among the traditional philosophies and schools of Hinduism the idea of the identity between macrocosm and microcosm is prominent in classical Advaita Vedanta as well as in the more colourful and popular Tantric systems. This study centres upon the development and expression of the idea in the more philosophical aspects of Tantric Hinduism; for it is here that we find the most significant thought, symbolism and rituals that have given rise to great works of art as in the examples of painting, sculpture and architecture used as illustrations in the text. The most outstanding feature of the Tantric system is the use of yantra, mantra and especially kundalini yoga. It is shown clearly how a great yantra, great mantra and kundalini yoga are related to the realisation of macro-microcosmic identity, mans goal. This book should provide the student interested in Indian culture with greater depth in the more popular Tantric cults than the usual texts on Indian religions. It should be especially helpful in the understanding of the ritual practices of yantra, mantra and kundalini yoga in relation to Liberation and to Indian art. The examples given of Indian art depict this relationship.
Bhakti, a term ubiquitous in the religious life of South Asia, has meanings that shift dramatically according to context and sentiment. Sometimes translated as "personal devotion," bhakti nonetheless implies and fosters public interaction. It is often associated with the marginalized voices of women and lower castes, yet it has also played a role in perpetuating injustice. Barriers have been torn down in the name of bhakti, while others have been built simultaneously. Bhakti and Power provides an accessible entry into key debates around issues such as these, presenting voices and vignettes from the sixth century to the present and from many parts of India's cultural landscape. Written by a wide range of engaged scholars, this volume showcases one of the most influential concepts in Indian history-still a major force in the present day.
Historically, Kashmir was one of the most dynamic and influential centers of Sanskrit learning and literary production in South Asia. In Poetry as Prayer in the Sanskrit Hymns of Kashmir, Hamsa Stainton investigates the close connection between poetry and prayer in South Asia by studying the history of Sanskrit hymns of praise (stotras) in Kashmir. The book provides a broad introduction to the history and general features of the stotra genre, and it charts the course of these literary hymns in Kashmir from the eighth century to the present. In particular, it offers the first major study in any European language of the Stutikusumanjali, an important work of religious literature dedicated to the god Siva and one of the only extant witnesses to the trajectory of Sanskrit literary culture in fourteenth-century Kashmir. The book also contributes to the study of Saivism by examining the ways in which Saiva poets have integrated the traditions of Sanskrit literature and poetics, theology (especially non-dualism), and Saiva worship and devotion. It substantiates the diverse configurations of Saiva bhakti expressed and explored in these literary hymns and the challenges they present for standard interpretations of Hindu bhakti. More broadly, this study of stotras from Kashmir offers new perspectives on the history and vitality of prayer in South Asia and its complex relationships to poetry and poetics.
A comprehensive manual for living a spiritual life, based on a verse-by-verse commentary on India's timeless scripture - from the author of its best-selling translation. (The ebook The Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living 9781586381455 includes all three volumes in this series.) The Bhagavad Gita is set on the battlefield of an apocalyptic war between good and evil. Faced with a dire moral dilemma, the warrior prince Arjuna turns in anguish to his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna, for answers to the fundamental questions of life. Easwaran points out that Arjuna's crisis is acutely modern. The Gita's battlefield is the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage. Arjuna represents each of us, and Sri Krishna is the Lord, instructing us in eighteen chapters of lofty wisdom as we face the social, environmental, and global challenges that threaten our world today. Easwaran is a spiritual teacher and author of deep insight and warmth. His verse-by-verse commentary interprets the Gita's teachings for modern readers, explaining the Sanskrit concepts and philosophy and applying them with practicality, wisdom, and humor to every aspect of our work, our relationships, and our lives. With everyday anecdotes, stories, and examples, he shows that the changes we long to see in the world start with the transformation of our own consciousness. The practical exercises recommended by Easwaran to achieve transformation are part of a spiritual program he developed for his own life. They are accessible to people from all backgrounds and cultures. Urging us to adopt a higher image of the human being, he assures us that peace and unity are within reach. Each volume of this series covers six chapters of the Gita. Each may be read on its own, but all three volumes together form an in-depth, verse-by-verse explanation of this ancient scripture and its relevance today. Each volume includes instructions in Easwaran's eight-point program of passage meditation. Volume 1: The first six chapters of the Gita explore the concept of the innermost Self and source of wisdom in each of us. Easwaran explains how we can begin to transform ourselves, even as householders engaged in busy lives. Volume 2: The chapters in this volume go beyond the individual Self and investigate the Supreme Reality that underlies all creation. Here, Easwaran delves into the unity of life, and builds a bridge across the seeming divide between scientific knowledge and spiritual wisdom. Volume 3: The final six chapters put forth an urgent appeal for us to begin to see that all of us are one - to make the connection between the Self within and the Reality underlying all creation. Global in scope, the emphasis is on what we can do to make a difference to heal our environment and establish peace in the world. Easwaran's commentary is for all students of the Gita, whatever their background, and for anyone who is trying to find a path to wisdom, love, and kindness in themselves and our troubled world. Written as an authoritative, accessible guide to a much-loved scripture, it is a handbook for finding peace and clarity within. This second edition incorporates revisions made across all three volumes following the author's final instructions.
Hinduism is one of the world's oldest and greatest religious traditions. In captivating prose, Shashi Tharoor untangles its origins, its key philosophical concepts and texts. He explores everyday Hindu beliefs and practices, from worship to pilgrimage to caste, and touchingly reflects on his personal beliefs and relationship with the religion. Not one to shy from controversy, Tharoor is unsparing in his criticism of 'Hindutva', an extremist, nationalist Hinduism endorsed by India's current government. He argues urgently and persuasively that it is precisely because of Hinduism's rich diversity that India has survived and thrived as a plural, secular nation. If narrow fundamentalism wins out, Indian democracy itself is in peril.
A bold retelling of the origins of contemporary Hinduism, and an argument against the long-established notion of religious reform. By the early eighteenth century, the Mughal Empire was in decline, and the East India Company was making inroads into the subcontinent. A century later Christian missionaries, Hindu teachers, Muslim saints, and Sikh rebels formed the colorful religious fabric of colonial India. Focusing on two early nineteenth-century Hindu communities, the Brahmo Samaj and the Swaminarayan Sampraday, and their charismatic figureheads-the "cosmopolitan" Rammohun Roy and the "parochial" Swami Narayan-Brian Hatcher explores how urban and rural people thought about faith, ritual, and gods. Along the way he sketches a radical new view of the origins of contemporary Hinduism and overturns the idea of religious reform. Hinduism Before Reform challenges the rigid structure of revelation-schism -reform-sect prevalent in much history of religion. Reform, in particular, plays an important role in how we think about influential Hindu movements and religious history at large. Through the lens of reform, one doctrine is inevitably backward-looking while another represents modernity. From this comparison flows a host of simplistic conclusions. Instead of presuming a clear dichotomy between backward and modern, Hatcher is interested in how religious authority is acquired and projected. Hinduism Before Reform asks how religious history would look if we eschewed the obfuscating binary of progress and tradition. There is another way to conceptualize the origins and significance of these two Hindu movements, one that does not trap them within the teleology of a predetermined modernity.
Kalighat is said to be the oldest and most potent Hindu pilgrimage site in the city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). It is home to the dark goddess Kali in her ferocious form and attracts thousands of worshipers a day, many sacrificing goats at her feet. In The Making of a Modern Temple and a Hindu City, Deonnie Moodie examines the ways middle-class authors, judges, and activists have worked to modernize Kalighat over the past long century. Rather than being rejected or becoming obsolete with the arrival of British colonialism and its accompanying iconoclastic Protestant ideals, the temple became a medium through which middle-class Hindus could produce and publicize their modernity, as well as the modernity of their city and nation. That trend continued and even strengthened in the wake of India's economic liberalization in the 1990s. Kalighat is a superb example of the ways Hindus work to modernize India while also Indianizing modernity through Hinduism's material forms. Moodie explores both middle-class efforts to modernize Kalighat and the lower class's resistance to those efforts. Conflict between class groups throws into high relief the various roles the temple plays in peoples' lives, and explains why the modernizers have struggled to bring their plans to fruition. The Making of a Modern Temple and a Hindu City is the first scholarly work to juxtapose and analyze processes of historiographical, institutional, and physical modernization of a Hindu temple.
The Upanisads are among the most sacred foundational scriptures in the Hindu religion. Composed from 800 BCE onwards and making up part of the larger Vedic corpus, they offer the reader "knowledge lessons" on life, death, and immortality. While they are essential to understanding Hinduism and Asian religions more generally, their complexities make them almost impenetrable to anyone but serious scholars of Sanskrit and ancient Indian culture. This book is divided into five parts: Composition, authorship, and transmission of the Upanisads; The historical, cultural, and religious background of the Upanisads; Religion and philosophy in the Upanisads; The classical Upanisads; The later Upanisads. The chapters cover critical issues such as the origins of the Upanisads, authorship, and redaction, as well as exploring the broad religious and philosophical themes within the texts. The guide analyzes each of the Upanisads separately, unpacking their contextual relevance and explaining difficult terms and concepts. The Upanisads: A Complete Guide is a unique and valuable reference source for undergraduate religious studies, history, and philosophy students and researchers who want to learn more about these foundational sacred texts and the religious lessons in the Hindu tradition.
Translated by F Max-Muller, revised and with an Introduction by Suren Navlakha. Upanishads are mankind's oldest works of philosophy, predating the earliest Greek philosophy. They are the concluding part of the Vedas, the ancient Indian sacred literature, and mark the culmination of a tradition of speculative thought first expressed in the Rig-Veda more than 4000 years ago. Remarkable for their meditative depth, spirit of doubt and intellectual honesty, the Upanishads are concerned with the knowledge of the Brahman, the Ultimate Reality, and Man's relationship with it. The name Upanishad is derived from the face-to-face mode of imparting knowledge - in the utmost sanctity and secrecy, to prevent its trivialisation or perversion. Composed in Sanskrit between 900 and 600 BC, the Upanishads presented here are by far the oldest and most important of those that exist. Twelve were first translated more than a hundred years ago, and have been extensively revised and edited. The thirteenth is an entirely new translation by Suren Navlakha.
Relax your spirit and reconnect to your authentic voice. Discover the simple magic and mystery that awaits you when you express yourself within the safe space of a circle. In Creating Personal Mandalas, you'll see how this most basic of shapes can open your heart and always leads you back to your center. In each of the 10 chapters, you'll explore two soul-expressing mandala exercises, facts and history on featured symbols, insights for using the confines of the circle for personal and visual storytelling, as well as inspiring art and reflections from contributing guest artists. 20 exploratory step-by-step mandala exercises--each an opportunity for new self-exploration, beginning with tips on establishing the right mindset Interesting facts about symbols and sacred geometry, including suggestions for using them in your mandala projects Practical art-making direction on the elements of design, watercolor tips, composition prompts, seeing color as a storytelling element and more Use Creating Personal Mandalas to start expressing your life stories with the infinite possibilities of the circle.
Imagining Religious Communities tells the story of the Gupta family through the personal and religious narratives they tell as they create and maintain their extended family and community across national borders. Based on ethnographic research, the book demonstrates the ways that transnational communities are involved in shaping their experiences through narrative performances. Jennifer B. Saunders demonstrates that narrative performances shape participants' social realities in multiple ways: they define identities, they create connections between community members living on opposite sides of national borders, and they help create new homes amidst increasing mobility. The narratives are religious and include epic narratives such as excerpts from the Ramayana as well as personal narratives with dharmic implications. Saunders' analysis combines scholarly understandings of the ways in which performances shape the contexts in which they are told, indigenous comprehension of the power that reciting certain narratives can have on those who hear them, and the theory that social imaginaries define new social realities through expressing the aspirations of communities. Imagining Religious Communities argues that this Hindu community's religious narrative performances significantly contribute to shaping their transnational lives.
"The books line up on my shelf like bright Bodhisattvas ready to
take tough questions or keep quiet company. They stake out a vast
territory, with works from two millennia in multiple genres:
aphorism, lyric, epic, theater, and romance."
"No effort has been spared to make these little volumes as
attractive as possible to readers: the paper is of high quality,
the typesetting immaculate. The founders of the series are John and
Jennifer Clay, and Sanskritists can only thank them for an
initiative intended to make the classics of an ancient Indian
language accessible to a modern international audience."
"The Clay Sanskrit Library represents one of the most admirable
publishing projects now afoot. . . . Anyone who loves the look and
feel and heft of books will delight in these elegant little
"Published in the geek-chic format."
"Very few collections of Sanskrit deep enough for research are
housed anywhere in North America. Now, twenty-five hundred years
after the death of Shakyamuni Buddha, the ambitious Clay Sanskrit
Library may remedy this state of affairs."
aNow an ambitious new publishing project, the Clay Sanskrit
Library brings together leading Sanskrit translators and scholars
of Indology from around the world to celebrate in translating the
beauty and range of classical Sanskrit literature. . . . Published
as smart green hardbacks that are small enough to fit into a jeans
pocket, the volumes are meant to satisfy both the scholar and the
lay reader. Each volume has a transliteration of the original
Sanskrit texton the left-hand page and an English translation on
the right, as also a helpful introduction and notes. Alongside
definitive translations of the great Indian epics -- 30 or so
volumes will be devoted to the Maha-bharat itself -- Clay Sanskrit
Library makes available to the English-speaking reader many other
delights: The earthy verse of Bhartri-hari, the pungent satire of
Jayanta Bhatta and the roving narratives of Dandin, among others.
All these writers belong properly not just to Indian literature,
but to world literature.a
aThe Clay Sanskrit Library has recently set out to change the
scene by making available well-translated dual-language (English
and Sanskrit) editions of popular Sanskritic texts for the
"The Book of Virata" details the Pandavas' 13th year in exile, when they live disguised in King Virata's court. They suffer the humiliation of becoming servants; a topic explored both through comedy and pathos. Having maintained their disguise until the very end of the year, then their troubles really begin. Bhima is forced to come to Draupadi's rescue when King Virata's general, Kichaka, sets his sights on her. Duryodhana and the Tri-gartas decide to invade the defeated Virata's kingdom, unaware the Pandavas are hidden there. In the ensuing battles the Pandavas play a crucial role, save Virata and reveal their true identities. The book ends in celebration, with the Pandavas ready to return from exile and reclaim their kingdom. However, the battles in "Virata" foreshadow the war to come, proving it will not be easy.
Co-published by New York University Press and the JJC Foundation
For more on this title and other titles in the ClaySanskrit series, please visit http: //www.claysanskritlibrary.org
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