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 > Gods > Shiva > I Keep Vigil of Rudra: The Vachanas
Subscribe to our newsletter and discounts
I Keep Vigil of Rudra: The Vachanas
I Keep Vigil of Rudra: The Vachanas
Description
Back of the Book

Here I come, a ferryman without a body to the great flowing river. If you play the price your mind that grasps and let’s go, I shall take you across.

Vachana poetry in Kannada literature attained its zenith in the twelfth century. Passionate, intensely personal and ahead of their times, these free-verse poems speak eloquently of the futility of formal learning, the vanity of wealth and the evils of social divisions. The vachanas stress on the worship of Shiva, through love, labour and devotion, as the only worthwhile life-goal for the vachanakara—the vachana poet.

This collection offers a selection of vachanas composed by a wide range of vachanakaras from different walks of life. While some of these poets are well known even today, most have been forgotten. Translated fluidly and with great skill by H.S. Shivaprakash, I Keep Vigil of Rudra is not only an important addition to vachana literature, but also a must read for lovers of poetry everywhere.

Publisher’s Note

H.S. Shivaprakash is a well-known poet, playwright and translator from Karnataka. His translations and adaptations of Shakespeare are widely staged. He has also translated major European, Latin American and African poets into Kannada and sonic of the best-known Kannada and Tamil poets into English. He is the winner of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for playwriting and four best book prizes of the Karnataka Sahitya Akademi for poetry and translations. A former editor of the translations journal Indian Literature, Shivaprakash is an honorary fellow of the School of Letters, University of Iowa, and a specialist in Indian devotional traditions. He is currently professor, Theatre and Performance Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Introduction

Alas! They make versions of versionless non-version.

—Allama Prabhu

Historical Context

Medieval Kannada literature spans a period of about seven centuries from the beginning of the twelfth century However, the borders of this period are sometimes pushed back and forth. For instance, some historians consider Muddanna, the famous poet who saw the birth of the twentieth century, as part of medieval literature whereas the Tatvapadakaras of the eighteenth century are regarded as the precursors of modern Kannada literature. Historically, these centuries saw many dramatic events on the socio-.political and cultural frontiers of Karnataka. Among other things, the period saw the fall of the Chalukyas of Kalyana, the meteoric rise and disappearance of the Kalachuryas, and the ups and downs of the Hoysalas of Dorasamudra. These events roughly characterized the political landscape of the first two centuries of the medieval period. The most important event during the later centuries was the setting up and consolidation of the Vijayanagara Empire. The rise of the Bahmani sultanate of Bijapur and the emergence of smaller kingdoms and fiefdoms like those of Bidanur, Mysore and of the Keoadi family also took place during this period. Of all these developments, the Kalachurya and Vijayanagara empires made the greatest difference to Kannada language and literature.

The Shaiva and Vaishnava bhakti movements that swept across all of Karnataka had a much greater formative influence on the literature of the period than purely political events. Though it would be inaccurate to claim that the period produced only bhakti literature, there is no denying the fact that the bhakti way of seeing pervades the best works of medieval Kannada literature. The positive effects of bhakti were the liberation of language from the artificial conventions of courtly writing that characterized most of the works of the ancient period; the creation of shorter genres of literature like the vachanas and kirtanes, which are more accessible to the common man than long and involved narratives of the previous age. It is no wonder, then, that these changes influenced the content and form of the narrative poetry of the period. The narrative poetry stopped singing praises of kings and emperors by comparing them with mythological figures like Arjuna or Bhima as did the leading poets of the previous age) The heroes of medieval narrative poems were not military heroes any more, but spiritual heroes. The form of narrative poetry also underwent a sea change, thanks to the bhakti movement. The greatest narrative poets of the previous age, with minor exceptions, employed Champu, a genre characterized by Sanskrit metres. The medieval narrative poets resorted to simpler vernacular metres like Shatpadi, Sangatya and Tripadi.

Bhakti movements were not without their negative effects. Many of the lesser poets took spiteful sectarian propaganda to be the main task of poetry and produced mediocre work. This is a weakness that has at times diluted even the works of otherwise great poets like Basavanna and Harihara. The pervasive influence of the bhakti movements limited the content of literature to the religious. Only the greatest poets of the period like the Vachanakaras and Haridasas at their best, and Kumaravyasa, are free from the stigma of sectarianism.

The overall drama of the medieval Kannada literature was played out against the background of great social and political turbulence, The dynasties that ruled different parts of the land were constantly at war with each other. To make matters worse, there were invasions from the Muslim sultanates of the north. Massacres during war, looting and arson, the weight of heavy taxation—all these added to the burden of the common man. Though bhakti movements attempted to make caste exploitation less severe, they gave rise to bloody conflicts between Shaivas, Vaishnavas, Jainas and Muslims. On the whole, it was a period of endless conflicts, a feature best captured in historical narratives like Nanjundakavi’s Ramanathacharite produced in the latter half of the medieval period. Given this general background of turbulence, it is small wonder that bhakti exercised irresistible fascination on the minds of common people by offering salvation from the endless suffering of everyday life.

This was also a period during which the bhakti movements, the twelfth-century Sharana movement in particular, challenged caste hierarchy. However, all these developments had no lasting effects on the social structure based, theoretically, on varnashrama dharma. The Vijayanagara emperors, the symbol of the ‘pride’ of the Kannada people, used such grandiloquent titles as Gobrahmana Pratipalanacharya (the great protector of cows and Brahmins), Hinduraya Suratrana (the king of Hindus and the life of Brahmins) and Vaidikamarga Samsthapanacharya (the great founder of the Vedic path). On the basis of these titles one may deduce that the duty of the king, theoretically, was to uphold Brahmins, cows and Vedic values. The social structure—consisting of four varnas, eighteen kulas and innumerable castes—was controlled by the Brahmin-Kshatriya-Vaisya combine. Agraharas and Brahmapuris (Brahmin colonies); monasteries and temples; and Banajusanghas (associations of traders and merchants) were the privileged institutions.

The rigid caste hierarchy continued to be maintained through various means by the institution of dana or charity, meant only for satpatras (the deserving), which obviously meant Brahmins; by waging barbaric wars against feudatory lords who refused to pay timely tributes; by glorying the slavish heroism of common people sacrificing their lives for the sake of their lord, and deification of women condemned to perform sad, which are documented in an hyperbolic manner in innumerable monuments like viragallu (hero stones) and mastigallu (chaste-woman stones) .The number of castes multiplied throughout the medieval age. In spite of this, the varnashrama order remained theoretically inviolable. The rigidity of varnashrama-based caste rules applied not only to the living, but also to the dying. S. Settar’s analysis has persuasively shown that among the people who undertook innumerable voluntary forms of ritual death in conformity to jaina teachings, all belonged to privileged dwija (twice—born) castes (that is, Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaisya), except one. Caste privileges affected otherworldly matters too.

The only ways out of such an unassailable fort of dharma were samadhi (absorption in god), moksha (escape from a conditioned existence) and atmarpane (self-immolation of heroes and virtuous women) .The literary transformations of the medieval period had to be effected against a backdrop as vicious as this. The vachana as a form of poetry attained its zenith during the twelfth-century Sharana movement, which ended in political violence and counter—violence. The ruling class had greater material power than Sharana revolutionaries and the scattering of the movement was a setback for the future development of the form.

The efflorescence of the vachanas, however, altered the course of Kannada literature for centuries to come. The revolutionary force of the vachanas was assimilated into the hegemonic values of medieval society. This socio-political process is reflected in the literature of the succeeding centuries by the so-called followers of the Sharana tradition. The successors of the twelfth-century Sharanas gradually rose to a privileged position in the Vijayanagara empire, particularly during the rule of Praudadevaraya.

From the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries, vachana writing virtually disappeared. However, the Virashaivas who had inherited the values of the vachana movement, found a rallying point under the patronage of the rulers of Vijayanagara. They had before them the model of attempts at the reintegration of the works and scriptures of classical Hinduism undertaken by Brahmin sages and pandits from the middle of the fourteenth century onwards, following the threat of Muslim invasion. A similar attempt at the consolidation of Virashaiva lore and vachana Canon was undertaken during the fifteenth century by the Virashaiva priestly class. For them, the twelfth-century Sharana movement was no more an immediate reality. It was a glorious memory, a myth. They carried out a reinterpretation of the myth through scholarly endeavours like collections, anthologies and commentaries on vachana texts. Mahalinga (circa 1430 AD), Kalmatada Prabhudevaru (circa 1430 AD), Gubbi Mallannarya (early part of the fifteenth century), Channaviracharya (sixteenth century AD) and Singalada Siddhabasava (circa 1600 AD) expressed their theological erudition in their collections, selections and anthologies ofvachana texts purely from the standpoint of bhakti. Singalada Siddhabasava produced sophisticated commentaries on the Bedagina vachanas in the light of the Shakti Vishishtadvaita Vedanta. What is characteristic of all these scholarly endeavours is the over emphasis on the theological and metaphysical aspects of the vachanas and the total exclusion of their socio-political and existentialist implications.

Contents

Acknowledgements ix
Introduction xi
Abbreviations of the Kannada Source Texts lxxix
The Path: Vachanas 1
The Path: I Saw This Wonder 7
The Path: Ugh! This Empty Show of the World 39
The Path: Labour 85
The Path: Journey 103
The Destination: Union 151
Select Bibliography 171

I Keep Vigil of Rudra: The Vachanas

Item Code:
NAC563
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2010
Publisher:
ISBN:
9780143063575
Language:
English
Size:
8.0 Inch X 5.0 Inch
Pages:
252
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 190 gms
Price:
$20.00   Shipping Free
Notify me when this item is available
Notify me when this item is available
You will be notified when this item is available
Add to Wishlist
Send as e-card
Send as free online greeting card
I Keep Vigil of Rudra: The Vachanas

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 10768 times since 20th Nov, 2011
Back of the Book

Here I come, a ferryman without a body to the great flowing river. If you play the price your mind that grasps and let’s go, I shall take you across.

Vachana poetry in Kannada literature attained its zenith in the twelfth century. Passionate, intensely personal and ahead of their times, these free-verse poems speak eloquently of the futility of formal learning, the vanity of wealth and the evils of social divisions. The vachanas stress on the worship of Shiva, through love, labour and devotion, as the only worthwhile life-goal for the vachanakara—the vachana poet.

This collection offers a selection of vachanas composed by a wide range of vachanakaras from different walks of life. While some of these poets are well known even today, most have been forgotten. Translated fluidly and with great skill by H.S. Shivaprakash, I Keep Vigil of Rudra is not only an important addition to vachana literature, but also a must read for lovers of poetry everywhere.

Publisher’s Note

H.S. Shivaprakash is a well-known poet, playwright and translator from Karnataka. His translations and adaptations of Shakespeare are widely staged. He has also translated major European, Latin American and African poets into Kannada and sonic of the best-known Kannada and Tamil poets into English. He is the winner of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for playwriting and four best book prizes of the Karnataka Sahitya Akademi for poetry and translations. A former editor of the translations journal Indian Literature, Shivaprakash is an honorary fellow of the School of Letters, University of Iowa, and a specialist in Indian devotional traditions. He is currently professor, Theatre and Performance Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Introduction

Alas! They make versions of versionless non-version.

—Allama Prabhu

Historical Context

Medieval Kannada literature spans a period of about seven centuries from the beginning of the twelfth century However, the borders of this period are sometimes pushed back and forth. For instance, some historians consider Muddanna, the famous poet who saw the birth of the twentieth century, as part of medieval literature whereas the Tatvapadakaras of the eighteenth century are regarded as the precursors of modern Kannada literature. Historically, these centuries saw many dramatic events on the socio-.political and cultural frontiers of Karnataka. Among other things, the period saw the fall of the Chalukyas of Kalyana, the meteoric rise and disappearance of the Kalachuryas, and the ups and downs of the Hoysalas of Dorasamudra. These events roughly characterized the political landscape of the first two centuries of the medieval period. The most important event during the later centuries was the setting up and consolidation of the Vijayanagara Empire. The rise of the Bahmani sultanate of Bijapur and the emergence of smaller kingdoms and fiefdoms like those of Bidanur, Mysore and of the Keoadi family also took place during this period. Of all these developments, the Kalachurya and Vijayanagara empires made the greatest difference to Kannada language and literature.

The Shaiva and Vaishnava bhakti movements that swept across all of Karnataka had a much greater formative influence on the literature of the period than purely political events. Though it would be inaccurate to claim that the period produced only bhakti literature, there is no denying the fact that the bhakti way of seeing pervades the best works of medieval Kannada literature. The positive effects of bhakti were the liberation of language from the artificial conventions of courtly writing that characterized most of the works of the ancient period; the creation of shorter genres of literature like the vachanas and kirtanes, which are more accessible to the common man than long and involved narratives of the previous age. It is no wonder, then, that these changes influenced the content and form of the narrative poetry of the period. The narrative poetry stopped singing praises of kings and emperors by comparing them with mythological figures like Arjuna or Bhima as did the leading poets of the previous age) The heroes of medieval narrative poems were not military heroes any more, but spiritual heroes. The form of narrative poetry also underwent a sea change, thanks to the bhakti movement. The greatest narrative poets of the previous age, with minor exceptions, employed Champu, a genre characterized by Sanskrit metres. The medieval narrative poets resorted to simpler vernacular metres like Shatpadi, Sangatya and Tripadi.

Bhakti movements were not without their negative effects. Many of the lesser poets took spiteful sectarian propaganda to be the main task of poetry and produced mediocre work. This is a weakness that has at times diluted even the works of otherwise great poets like Basavanna and Harihara. The pervasive influence of the bhakti movements limited the content of literature to the religious. Only the greatest poets of the period like the Vachanakaras and Haridasas at their best, and Kumaravyasa, are free from the stigma of sectarianism.

The overall drama of the medieval Kannada literature was played out against the background of great social and political turbulence, The dynasties that ruled different parts of the land were constantly at war with each other. To make matters worse, there were invasions from the Muslim sultanates of the north. Massacres during war, looting and arson, the weight of heavy taxation—all these added to the burden of the common man. Though bhakti movements attempted to make caste exploitation less severe, they gave rise to bloody conflicts between Shaivas, Vaishnavas, Jainas and Muslims. On the whole, it was a period of endless conflicts, a feature best captured in historical narratives like Nanjundakavi’s Ramanathacharite produced in the latter half of the medieval period. Given this general background of turbulence, it is small wonder that bhakti exercised irresistible fascination on the minds of common people by offering salvation from the endless suffering of everyday life.

This was also a period during which the bhakti movements, the twelfth-century Sharana movement in particular, challenged caste hierarchy. However, all these developments had no lasting effects on the social structure based, theoretically, on varnashrama dharma. The Vijayanagara emperors, the symbol of the ‘pride’ of the Kannada people, used such grandiloquent titles as Gobrahmana Pratipalanacharya (the great protector of cows and Brahmins), Hinduraya Suratrana (the king of Hindus and the life of Brahmins) and Vaidikamarga Samsthapanacharya (the great founder of the Vedic path). On the basis of these titles one may deduce that the duty of the king, theoretically, was to uphold Brahmins, cows and Vedic values. The social structure—consisting of four varnas, eighteen kulas and innumerable castes—was controlled by the Brahmin-Kshatriya-Vaisya combine. Agraharas and Brahmapuris (Brahmin colonies); monasteries and temples; and Banajusanghas (associations of traders and merchants) were the privileged institutions.

The rigid caste hierarchy continued to be maintained through various means by the institution of dana or charity, meant only for satpatras (the deserving), which obviously meant Brahmins; by waging barbaric wars against feudatory lords who refused to pay timely tributes; by glorying the slavish heroism of common people sacrificing their lives for the sake of their lord, and deification of women condemned to perform sad, which are documented in an hyperbolic manner in innumerable monuments like viragallu (hero stones) and mastigallu (chaste-woman stones) .The number of castes multiplied throughout the medieval age. In spite of this, the varnashrama order remained theoretically inviolable. The rigidity of varnashrama-based caste rules applied not only to the living, but also to the dying. S. Settar’s analysis has persuasively shown that among the people who undertook innumerable voluntary forms of ritual death in conformity to jaina teachings, all belonged to privileged dwija (twice—born) castes (that is, Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaisya), except one. Caste privileges affected otherworldly matters too.

The only ways out of such an unassailable fort of dharma were samadhi (absorption in god), moksha (escape from a conditioned existence) and atmarpane (self-immolation of heroes and virtuous women) .The literary transformations of the medieval period had to be effected against a backdrop as vicious as this. The vachana as a form of poetry attained its zenith during the twelfth-century Sharana movement, which ended in political violence and counter—violence. The ruling class had greater material power than Sharana revolutionaries and the scattering of the movement was a setback for the future development of the form.

The efflorescence of the vachanas, however, altered the course of Kannada literature for centuries to come. The revolutionary force of the vachanas was assimilated into the hegemonic values of medieval society. This socio-political process is reflected in the literature of the succeeding centuries by the so-called followers of the Sharana tradition. The successors of the twelfth-century Sharanas gradually rose to a privileged position in the Vijayanagara empire, particularly during the rule of Praudadevaraya.

From the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries, vachana writing virtually disappeared. However, the Virashaivas who had inherited the values of the vachana movement, found a rallying point under the patronage of the rulers of Vijayanagara. They had before them the model of attempts at the reintegration of the works and scriptures of classical Hinduism undertaken by Brahmin sages and pandits from the middle of the fourteenth century onwards, following the threat of Muslim invasion. A similar attempt at the consolidation of Virashaiva lore and vachana Canon was undertaken during the fifteenth century by the Virashaiva priestly class. For them, the twelfth-century Sharana movement was no more an immediate reality. It was a glorious memory, a myth. They carried out a reinterpretation of the myth through scholarly endeavours like collections, anthologies and commentaries on vachana texts. Mahalinga (circa 1430 AD), Kalmatada Prabhudevaru (circa 1430 AD), Gubbi Mallannarya (early part of the fifteenth century), Channaviracharya (sixteenth century AD) and Singalada Siddhabasava (circa 1600 AD) expressed their theological erudition in their collections, selections and anthologies ofvachana texts purely from the standpoint of bhakti. Singalada Siddhabasava produced sophisticated commentaries on the Bedagina vachanas in the light of the Shakti Vishishtadvaita Vedanta. What is characteristic of all these scholarly endeavours is the over emphasis on the theological and metaphysical aspects of the vachanas and the total exclusion of their socio-political and existentialist implications.

Contents

Acknowledgements ix
Introduction xi
Abbreviations of the Kannada Source Texts lxxix
The Path: Vachanas 1
The Path: I Saw This Wonder 7
The Path: Ugh! This Empty Show of the World 39
The Path: Labour 85
The Path: Journey 103
The Destination: Union 151
Select Bibliography 171
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 I Keep Vigil of Rudra: The Vachanas (Hindu | Books)

Philosophy of Gorakhnath with Goraksha-Vacana-Sangraha
Deal 20% Off
Item Code: NAU193
$40.00$32.00
You save: $8.00 (20%)
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Songs for Siva (Vacanas of Akka Mahadevi)
by Vinaya Chaitanya
Hardcover (Edition: 2017)
Harper Collins Publishers
Item Code: NAO124
$25.00
Add to Cart
Buy Now
The Vachanamrut – Spiritual Discourses of Bhagwan Swaminarayan
Hardcover (Edition: 2014)
Swaminarayan Aksharpith, Amdavad
Item Code: NAC129
$35.00
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Seven Hundred Sayings of Sachchidananda
Item Code: NAC080
$12.50
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Sky - Clad (The Extraordinary Life and Times of Akka Mahadevi)
by Mukunda Rao
Paperback (Edition: 2018)
Westland Ltd.
Item Code: NAH809
$18.00
Add to Cart
Buy Now
THE ORIGINS OF VIRASAIVA SECTS
Deal 20% Off
Item Code: NAB384
$25.00$20.00
You save: $5.00 (20%)
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Mahaprabhu Aghoreshwar Baba Bhagwan Ram: The Book of Aghor Wisdom
by Akinchan Ram
Paperback (Edition: 2012)
Indica Books, Varanasi
Item Code: IDI653
$33.50
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Andal and Akka Mahadevi (Feminity to Divinity)
Deal 20% Off
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
The Bhakti Movement and the status of women: A Case Study of Virasaivism
by Leela Mullatti
Hardcover (Edition: 1989)
Abhinav Publication
Item Code: IDE436
$14.00
Add to Cart
Buy Now
Testimonials
My previous purchasing order has safely arrived. I'm impressed. My trust and confidence in your business still firmly, highly maintained. I've now become your regular customer, and looking forward to ordering some more in the near future.
Chamras, Thailand
Excellent website with vast variety of goods to view and purchase, especially Books and Idols of Hindu Deities are amongst my favourite. Have purchased many items over the years from you with great expectation and pleasure and received them promptly as advertised. A Great admirer of goods on sale on your website, will definately return to purchase further items in future. Thank you Exotic India.
Ani, UK
Thank you for such wonderful books on the Divine.
Stevie, USA
I have bought several exquisite sculptures from Exotic India, and I have never been disappointed. I am looking forward to adding this unusual cobra to my collection.
Janice, USA
My statues arrived today ….they are beautiful. Time has stopped in my home since I have unwrapped them!! I look forward to continuing our relationship and adding more beauty and divinity to my home.
Joseph, USA
I recently received a book I ordered from you that I could not find anywhere else. Thank you very much for being such a great resource and for your remarkably fast shipping/delivery.
Prof. Adam, USA
Thank you for your expertise in shipping as none of my Buddhas have been damaged and they are beautiful.
Roberta, Australia
Very organized & easy to find a product website! I have bought item here in the past & am very satisfied! Thank you!
Suzanne, USA
This is a very nicely-done website and shopping for my 'Ashtavakra Gita' (a Bangla one, no less) was easy. Thanks!
Shurjendu, USA
Thank you for making these rare & important books available in States, and for your numerous discounts & sales.
John, USA
Language:
Currency:
All rights reserved. Copyright 2020 © Exotic India