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Man in Indian Tradition (Vidyapati's Discourse on Purusa)

Man in Indian Tradition (Vidyapati's Discourse on Purusa)


Item Code: IDD779

by Hetukar Jha

Hardcover (Edition: 2002)

Aryan Books International
ISBN 81-7305-217-4

Language: English
Size: 8.7" X 5.6"
Pages: 133
Price: $19.00
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About the Book:

The book deals with the image of "man" that was posited in the medieval period when north Indian society was beset with crisis due to the internal conflict of sectarian ideologies as well as the onslaught of the Islamic politico-religious power. This state of socio-cultural and political situation was perceived by Vidyapati, a great poet and statesman of Mithila (north-eastern part of Bihar) in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth century, as that of crisis of man. He was probably the first intellectual of north India who recognized the significance of such socio-political and religious issues as "what is man?", "what is manliness?", "what is dharma?", etc., in a situation of multi-religious social and political order. There is no space for jati/varna/kula in the structure of man presented by him. Even in the sphere of religion, man is supposed to enjoy autonomy as, according to him, dharma relates to his private domain and to the universal moral precepts of ancient Indian tradition. Purusa Pariksa eloquently presents his reflections on the crisis of his society in which the followers of Vedic or Sanatana dharma had begun to identify themselves as "Hindu". It was at this juncture of Indian tradition that Vidyapati introduced his idea of "man" or individual having courage, sense of discrimination (viveka), boldness of will, wit and learning (vidya). The book conveys his socio-political perspective that still appears to be relevant to the issues of national regeneration and development.

About the Author:

Hetukar Jha is a professor in the department of sociology, Patna University. His books include Colonial Context of Higher Education in India, 1985; Social Structures and Alignments, with J.B.P. Sinha et al., 1985; Lower Classes in the Rural Areas of Mithila during Colonial Rule (In Maithili), 1988; Social Structures of Indian Villages, 1991; Ganganatha Jha, Makers of Indian Literature Series, Sahitya Akademi, 1992; Amaranatha Jha, Makers of Indian Literature Series, Sahitya Akademi, 1997; ed., Autobiographical Notes of Mahamahopadhyaya Dr. Sir Ganganatha Jha, 1976; ed., A Glimpse of Tirhut in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century; Riaz-I-Tirhut of Ayodhya Prasad 'Bahar', 1997. Besides, he has published several research papers in the journals of sociology, anthropology and history.


  1. Introduction

  2. Vidyapati, the Crisis of His Age and Purusa Pariksa

  3. Man, the Attributes of Man and Unmanly Types

  4. Manly Conduct
    1. Of Religious Life (Dharma): Religion as Faith, Religion as Ideology and the Question of Secularism
    2. For Worldly Prosperity (Artha)
    3. For Love and Pleasure (Kama)
    4. For Salvation (Moksa)

  5. Epilogue


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