Subscribe for Newsletters and Discounts
Be the first to receive our thoughtfully written
religious articles and product discounts.
Your interests (Optional)
This will help us make recommendations and send discounts and sale information at times.
By registering, you may receive account related information, our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. Please read our Privacy Policy for details.
.
By subscribing, you will receive our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. All emails will be sent by Exotic India using the email address info@exoticindia.com.

Please read our Privacy Policy for details.
|6
Sign In  |  Sign up
Your Cart (0)
Best Deals
Share our website with your friends.
Email this page to a friend
Books > Hindu > Bhakti > Approaching The Divine (The Integration of Alvar Bhakti in Srivaisnavism)
Subscribe to our newsletter and discounts
Approaching The Divine (The Integration of Alvar Bhakti in Srivaisnavism)
Pages from the book
Approaching The Divine (The Integration of Alvar Bhakti in Srivaisnavism)
Look Inside the Book
Description

About the Book

Approaching the Divine: The Integration of Alvar Bhakti in Srivaisnavism is situated in the context of the ongoing scholarly debate regarding the historical evolution of Tamil Srivaisnavism. This study spans the period from the second half of the first millennium, i.e. the bhakti period to the period of consolidation of the scriptural and sectarian tradition in the first half of the second millennium, the lives of the bhakti saints have been used to understand their hymns. Examination of these hagiographies through the lenses of theology, caste, sectarian conflict and popular legends, however, suggests that these life stories might themselves be constructs of the latter period, and are governed by socio-economic and political impulses as much as by spiritual ones. This work attempts to trace the process whereby Sanskritic brahmanical tradition and a devotional Tamil folk tradition were knit together, arguing that ways in which the saint-poets’ hymns were interpreted and integrated contained elements of both continuity and change.

 

About the Author

Bharati jagannathan teaches History at Miranda House, University of Delhi. She writes fiction and poetry, and has authored several children’s books.

Introduction

What she said&rsquo

Evening has come
but not the Dark One.

The bulls
Their bells jingling,
have mated with the cows
and the cows are frisky.

The flutes play cruel songs,
Bees flutter in their bright<
White jasmine
and the blue-black lily.

The sea leaps into the sky
and cries aloud.

Without him here,
What shall I say?
How shall I survive?

This could well be a classical love poem from the Sangam Tamil collection, Akananuru, the poems of the ‘interior landscape’, made familiar to us by A.K. Ramanujan’s excellent translations. And it does share many features with the poem of that anthology-for one, this poem is also originally from Tamil, and has also been translated by Ramanujan. Though the similarity does not end there, it is actually a product of careful reworking of the older idiom, the established conventions of sangam poetry, to convey a new sensibility. This new poetry a cardinal rule of the akam genre-that none of the protagonists be named. For here, the beloved, the one causing the heroine the sufferings of love-in-separation, is as in the puram genres, identified, as The Dark One. And to the initiated, this clue tells all-it is not a generic dark lover but the Cosmic Lord who swallowed the seven world and then lay as baby on a banyan leaf; who smote the demon Hiranyakasipu as a man-lion; who killed Ravana in his avatara as Rama; who, as krsna, held aloft the mountain Govardhana as an umbrella to protect his cowherd community from torrential rains; who sleeps on the hooded serpent in the milky ocean, and in Srirangam. He is also Mayon of classical Tamil, the dark lord of the mullai tinai, the pastoral landscape.

Mayon or Mal of the Sangam poems already exhibits features of the northern Krsna; in fact, it is difficult to alwaya tell which elements of the composite god are Dravidian and which draw on northern sources. His early identification with krsna, Visnu, and, indeed, with Narayana, the supreme aspect of Visnu, in the Cailappatikaram, a late Sangam text, must certainly own to northern influence. But a more important element from our point of view was the lacalization, the ‘fixing’ of the transcendental god. ‘The universal god becomes a personalized god, almost “Visible”, his presence must be tangible, almost physical, “here and now”, contrasting with aniconic Vedic worship....A person with whom one may enter into an individual, highly personal, intimate, exclusive relationship and close contact.’ The immanence of the deity in the landscape-Murukan/Ceyyon in the kurinci tinai and Mayon in the mullai-that seems to have been fundamental to the Tamil ethos, and the relationship with this rooted deity, were this deity, were to become significant for the trajectory of development of religious ideas in early medieval Tamil Nadu.

The sixth to ninth centuries CE in Tamil Nadu saw the emergence and flowering deeply devotional form of religion which, as it acquired a distinct character, came to be called bhakti. Bhakti devotionalism which was eventually to become one of the most important aspects of the religious landscape of much of the subcontinent was focused was focused primarily on either of the two gods, Siva and Visnu (or his avataras), who came to be elevated far above the rest of the fairly extensive contemporary pantheon, and indeed above each other, in the minds of their respective devotees, The Saiva tradition recognizes sixty-three saints called Nayanmars, while the Vaisnava tradition reveres twelve Alvars. While many of the Nayanmars may have been legendary, since only a few have left behind compositions, the twelve Alvars have usually been thought to have been historical figures, as there are hymns attributed to all of them.

The Srivaisnava community based largely in Tamil Nadu and in Parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh Venerates the Alvars as saints and devotees per excellence of Visnu. Needless to say, Visnu is the supreme godhead for the Srivaisnavas who designate themselves so, first, in order to distinguish themselves from other Vaisnava sects and second, because of a crucial theological belief in the inseparability of Visnu and Sri, the latter signifying both the god’s sakti and the mediatrix between the god and his devotee. This theological position was elaborated between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries by brahmanical acaryas.

The Srivaisnava corpus of scriptures comprises the following:

1. The hymns of the Alvars in Tamil collected as the Nalayira Divya Prabandham (henceforth NDP);

2. Philosophical works in Sanskrit, including commentaries such as Ramanuja’s Sribhasya and Gitabhasya expounding authoritative texts, and independent treatises such as Vedanta Desika’s Samkalpa-suryodaya;

3. A Vast body of commentarial literature on the NDP in Tamil and in Manipravala developed from the eleventh century onwards;

4. Hagiographies of the saint-poets and the early acaryas of the community composed in Sanskrit and in Manipravala; and

5. Stotras (praise-poems) composed by various acaryas in Tamil, Sanskrit and Prakrt.

 

Contents

 

  Acknowledgements ix
  A Note on Transliteration and Footnotes xiii
  List of Abbreviations xvii
1 Introduction 1
2 The Hagiographical Accounts 47
3 The Ardently Loving Lord: A Promise of Salvation 95
4 Equal Before the Lord: Negotiating Caste 127
5 Whose God is the Greatest of All?' Engaging with Other Faiths 178
6 Bathing in Every Tirtha: Patterns of Worship, Pilgrimage and the Saint Poets 224
  Appendices  
I. Nalayira Divya Prabandham: Works with their Composers 281
II. Shrines mentioned in the Hymns/by the Alvars  
(a) The four Antadis of the Iyarpa and the Tiruccanta Viruttam 282
(b) Kulasekhara, Periyalvar, Andal and Tontaratippoti Alvar 284
(c) Tirumankai Alvar 286
(d) Nammalvar 290
(e) The Ciriya Tirumatal and the Periya Tirumatal 292
  Other Compositions in the Nalayiram 294
  Bibliography 295
  Index 329

 

Sample Pages
















Approaching The Divine (The Integration of Alvar Bhakti in Srivaisnavism)

Item Code:
NAM101
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2015
Publisher:
ISBN:
9789384082130
Language:
English
Size:
9.5 inch x 6.5 inch
Pages:
362
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 655 gms
Price:
$45.00
Discounted:
$36.00   Shipping Free
You Save:
$9.00 (20%)
Look Inside the Book
Add to Wishlist
Send as e-card
Send as free online greeting card
Approaching The Divine (The Integration of Alvar Bhakti in Srivaisnavism)

Verify the characters on the left

From:
Edit     
You will be informed as and when your card is viewed. Please note that your card will be active in the system for 30 days.

Viewed 2534 times since 30th Apr, 2016

About the Book

Approaching the Divine: The Integration of Alvar Bhakti in Srivaisnavism is situated in the context of the ongoing scholarly debate regarding the historical evolution of Tamil Srivaisnavism. This study spans the period from the second half of the first millennium, i.e. the bhakti period to the period of consolidation of the scriptural and sectarian tradition in the first half of the second millennium, the lives of the bhakti saints have been used to understand their hymns. Examination of these hagiographies through the lenses of theology, caste, sectarian conflict and popular legends, however, suggests that these life stories might themselves be constructs of the latter period, and are governed by socio-economic and political impulses as much as by spiritual ones. This work attempts to trace the process whereby Sanskritic brahmanical tradition and a devotional Tamil folk tradition were knit together, arguing that ways in which the saint-poets’ hymns were interpreted and integrated contained elements of both continuity and change.

 

About the Author

Bharati jagannathan teaches History at Miranda House, University of Delhi. She writes fiction and poetry, and has authored several children’s books.

Introduction

What she said&rsquo

Evening has come
but not the Dark One.

The bulls
Their bells jingling,
have mated with the cows
and the cows are frisky.

The flutes play cruel songs,
Bees flutter in their bright<
White jasmine
and the blue-black lily.

The sea leaps into the sky
and cries aloud.

Without him here,
What shall I say?
How shall I survive?

This could well be a classical love poem from the Sangam Tamil collection, Akananuru, the poems of the ‘interior landscape’, made familiar to us by A.K. Ramanujan’s excellent translations. And it does share many features with the poem of that anthology-for one, this poem is also originally from Tamil, and has also been translated by Ramanujan. Though the similarity does not end there, it is actually a product of careful reworking of the older idiom, the established conventions of sangam poetry, to convey a new sensibility. This new poetry a cardinal rule of the akam genre-that none of the protagonists be named. For here, the beloved, the one causing the heroine the sufferings of love-in-separation, is as in the puram genres, identified, as The Dark One. And to the initiated, this clue tells all-it is not a generic dark lover but the Cosmic Lord who swallowed the seven world and then lay as baby on a banyan leaf; who smote the demon Hiranyakasipu as a man-lion; who killed Ravana in his avatara as Rama; who, as krsna, held aloft the mountain Govardhana as an umbrella to protect his cowherd community from torrential rains; who sleeps on the hooded serpent in the milky ocean, and in Srirangam. He is also Mayon of classical Tamil, the dark lord of the mullai tinai, the pastoral landscape.

Mayon or Mal of the Sangam poems already exhibits features of the northern Krsna; in fact, it is difficult to alwaya tell which elements of the composite god are Dravidian and which draw on northern sources. His early identification with krsna, Visnu, and, indeed, with Narayana, the supreme aspect of Visnu, in the Cailappatikaram, a late Sangam text, must certainly own to northern influence. But a more important element from our point of view was the lacalization, the ‘fixing’ of the transcendental god. ‘The universal god becomes a personalized god, almost “Visible”, his presence must be tangible, almost physical, “here and now”, contrasting with aniconic Vedic worship....A person with whom one may enter into an individual, highly personal, intimate, exclusive relationship and close contact.’ The immanence of the deity in the landscape-Murukan/Ceyyon in the kurinci tinai and Mayon in the mullai-that seems to have been fundamental to the Tamil ethos, and the relationship with this rooted deity, were this deity, were to become significant for the trajectory of development of religious ideas in early medieval Tamil Nadu.

The sixth to ninth centuries CE in Tamil Nadu saw the emergence and flowering deeply devotional form of religion which, as it acquired a distinct character, came to be called bhakti. Bhakti devotionalism which was eventually to become one of the most important aspects of the religious landscape of much of the subcontinent was focused was focused primarily on either of the two gods, Siva and Visnu (or his avataras), who came to be elevated far above the rest of the fairly extensive contemporary pantheon, and indeed above each other, in the minds of their respective devotees, The Saiva tradition recognizes sixty-three saints called Nayanmars, while the Vaisnava tradition reveres twelve Alvars. While many of the Nayanmars may have been legendary, since only a few have left behind compositions, the twelve Alvars have usually been thought to have been historical figures, as there are hymns attributed to all of them.

The Srivaisnava community based largely in Tamil Nadu and in Parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh Venerates the Alvars as saints and devotees per excellence of Visnu. Needless to say, Visnu is the supreme godhead for the Srivaisnavas who designate themselves so, first, in order to distinguish themselves from other Vaisnava sects and second, because of a crucial theological belief in the inseparability of Visnu and Sri, the latter signifying both the god’s sakti and the mediatrix between the god and his devotee. This theological position was elaborated between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries by brahmanical acaryas.

The Srivaisnava corpus of scriptures comprises the following:

1. The hymns of the Alvars in Tamil collected as the Nalayira Divya Prabandham (henceforth NDP);

2. Philosophical works in Sanskrit, including commentaries such as Ramanuja’s Sribhasya and Gitabhasya expounding authoritative texts, and independent treatises such as Vedanta Desika’s Samkalpa-suryodaya;

3. A Vast body of commentarial literature on the NDP in Tamil and in Manipravala developed from the eleventh century onwards;

4. Hagiographies of the saint-poets and the early acaryas of the community composed in Sanskrit and in Manipravala; and

5. Stotras (praise-poems) composed by various acaryas in Tamil, Sanskrit and Prakrt.

 

Contents

 

  Acknowledgements ix
  A Note on Transliteration and Footnotes xiii
  List of Abbreviations xvii
1 Introduction 1
2 The Hagiographical Accounts 47
3 The Ardently Loving Lord: A Promise of Salvation 95
4 Equal Before the Lord: Negotiating Caste 127
5 Whose God is the Greatest of All?' Engaging with Other Faiths 178
6 Bathing in Every Tirtha: Patterns of Worship, Pilgrimage and the Saint Poets 224
  Appendices  
I. Nalayira Divya Prabandham: Works with their Composers 281
II. Shrines mentioned in the Hymns/by the Alvars  
(a) The four Antadis of the Iyarpa and the Tiruccanta Viruttam 282
(b) Kulasekhara, Periyalvar, Andal and Tontaratippoti Alvar 284
(c) Tirumankai Alvar 286
(d) Nammalvar 290
(e) The Ciriya Tirumatal and the Periya Tirumatal 292
  Other Compositions in the Nalayiram 294
  Bibliography 295
  Index 329

 

Sample Pages
















Post a Comment
 
Post Review
Post a Query
For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy
Based on your browsing history
Loading... Please wait

Items Related to Approaching The Divine (The Integration of Alvar Bhakti in... (Hindu | Books)

Bhakti Tradition of Vaisnava Alvars and Theology of Religions
by S. Robertson
Hardcover (Edition: 2006)
Punthi Pustak
Item Code: NAG681
$40.00$32.00
You save: $8.00 (20%)
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Tirumazhisai Alvar (Bhaktisara)
Item Code: NAF215
$5.00$4.00
You save: $1.00 (20%)
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Alvars
Item Code: NAB750
$30.00$24.00
You save: $6.00 (20%)
SOLD
Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Alvars
Item Code: IDD369
$30.00$24.00
You save: $6.00 (20%)
SOLD
Bhakti Marga (The Road Well- Travelled)
by S.T.V. Raghavan
Paperback (Edition: 2010)
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
Item Code: NAD373
$10.00$8.00
You save: $2.00 (20%)
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Viraha Bhakti (The Early History of Krsna Devotion)
Item Code: NAK710
$55.00$44.00
You save: $11.00 (20%)
Add to Cart
Buy Now
The Archaeology of Bhakti I (Mathura and Maturai, Back and Forth)
Item Code: NAK693
$45.00$36.00
You save: $9.00 (20%)
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Revisiting Bhakti
by Susmita Pande
Hardcover (Edition: 2015)
B.R. Publishing Corporation
Item Code: NAL064
$65.00$52.00
You save: $13.00 (20%)
Add to Cart
Buy Now
The Bhagavata Bhakti Cult and Three Advaita Acaryas - An Old Book
by Ramnarayan Vyas
Hardcover (Edition: 1977)
Nag Publishers
Item Code: NAH125
$25.00$20.00
You save: $5.00 (20%)
SOLD
Araiyar Sevai (Theatre Expression In Sri-Vaishnava Worship) (An Old and Rare Book)
by SRIRAMA BHARATI
Hardcover (Edition: 1999)
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
Item Code: IDK775
$50.00$40.00
You save: $10.00 (20%)
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Andal and Akka Mahadevi (Feminity to Divinity)
by Alka Tyagi
Hardcover (Edition: 2014)
D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Item Code: NAF629
$30.00$24.00
You save: $6.00 (20%)
Add to Cart
Buy Now
From Devotion to Total Surrender: Saranagati Yoga (In the Light of  Indian Philosophy)
by T. K. Sribhashyam
Hardcover (Edition: 2012)
D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Item Code: NAD363
$40.00$32.00
You save: $8.00 (20%)
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Kancheepuram and Its Temples
Item Code: NAF012
$25.00$20.00
You save: $5.00 (20%)
SOLD
Testimonials
Thank you very much. Your sale prices are wonderful.
Michael, USA
Kailash Raj’s art, as always, is marvelous. We are so grateful to you for allowing your team to do these special canvases for us. Rarely do we see this caliber of art in modern times. Kailash Ji has taken the Swaminaryan monks’ suggestions to heart and executed each one with accuracy and a spiritual touch.
Sadasivanathaswami, Hawaii
Good selections. and ease of ordering. Thank you
Kris, USA
Thank you for having books on such rare topics as Samudrika Vidya, keep up the good work of finding these treasures and making them available.
Tulsi, USA
Received awesome customer service from Raje. Thank You very much.
Victor, USA
Just wanted to let you know the books arrived on Friday February 22nd. I could not believe how quickly my order arrived, 4 days from India. Wow! Seeing the post mark, touching and smelling the books made me long for your country. Reminded me it is time to visit again. Thank you again.
Patricia, Canada
Thank you for beautiful, devotional pieces.
Ms. Shantida, USA
Received doll safely and gift pack was a pleasant surprise. Keep up the good job.
Vidya, India
Thank you very much. Such a beautiful selection! I am very pleased with my chosen piece. I love just looking at the picture. Praise Mother Kali! I'm excited to see it in person
Michael, USA
Hello! I just wanted to say that I received my statues of Krishna and Shiva Nataraja today, which I have been eagerly awaiting, and they are FANTASTIC! Thank you so much, I am so happy with them and the service you have provided. I am sure I will place more orders in the future!
Nick, USA
Language:
Currency:
All rights reserved. Copyright 2019 © Exotic India