Singing Krishna: Sound Becomes Sight in Paramanand's Poetry

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Singing Krishna introduces Paramanand, one of north India's greatest medieval poet-saints, whose poetry has been sung from the sixteenth century to the present in ritual service to the Hindu deity Krishna. A. Whitney Sanford examines how hearing Paramanand's poetry in ritual context serves as a threshold for devotees between this world and Krishna's divine world. To "see Krishna" is a primary goal of the devotee, and Paramanand deftly constructs a vision through words. Sanford employs the dual strategies of interpreting Paramanand's poems-which sing the cycles of Krishna's activities-and illustrating the importance of their ritual contexts. This approach offers insight into the nature of the devotional experience that is not accessible by simply studying the poetry or rituals in isolation. Sanford shows that the significance of Paramanand's poetry lies not only in its beauty and historical importance but finally in its capacity to permit the devotee to see through the ephemeral world into Krishna's world.

About the Author:
A. Whitney Sanford is Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Florida

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Singing Krishna is a densely packed combination of beautiful translations and complex literary deconstruction, analyzing the meanings, metaphors and effects of Paramanand’s poetry. Sanford has added not only to the body of translated devotional poetry of Braj, but also to the ongoing efforts of scholars of religion to clarify a particular type of religious experience.” — International Journal of Hindu Studies

“…Sanford’s analysis of Paramanand’s work is certainly valuable and goes a long way toward unpacking the intense devotional experience of bhakti and the traditions of the Vallabha Sampraday.” — Religion

“…Sanford’s contribution expands our understanding of the Astachap genre.” — Journal of Asian Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791473955
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 3/6/2008
  • Pages: 218
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

A. Whitney Sanford is Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Florida.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Introduction     1
A Critical Perspective     1
The Research Context     3
The Experience of the Temple     4
Situated Poetry: Sound Becoming Sight     6
Plan for the Book: Following the Cycles     7
Paramanand's Poetic World     9
About Paramanand's Poetry     16
Paramanand's Poetic Environment     19
Serving Krishna     25
Synaesthesia, Metaphor, and Transformation     28
The End of the Night: Poetry, Memory, and Culture     33
Sayan: While Braj Sleeps     33
Paramanand's World     35
Theater of Memory     42
Mangala-Krishna Rises     51
Srngar-Ornamentation     58
Krishna's Morning Games: Creating Intimacy Through Treachery     63
Gval-Boyhood Play     63
The Gopi's Complaints to Yasoda     68
Mixed Bhavas     72
Shattered Boundaries and Spilled Milk: Metonymies of Love     81
Afternoon: Experiencing the Food of Love     91
Rajbhog-A Lunchtime Tryst in the Forest     91
Mahatmya: Separation during the Afternoon Watch     100
Public and PrivateLila     106
Utthapan-Avani: Krishna's Arrival in Braj     108
Exemplars of Bhava: The Cows and the Gopis     112
Bhog and Sandhyarati-The Connoisseur of Rasa Eats and Goes to Bed     115
Night: Playing the Game of Love     121
Sayan Mana-Divine Jealousy     121
The Sakhi's Counsel to Radha about Her Sulking and Pride     122
Setting the Stage: A Romantic Evening and the Beauty of the Lovers     132
The Sakhi's Warning     137
The Sakhi's Message to Krishna     142
The Resolution of Mana     145
Krishna's Mana     146
The Sakhi in Mana Poems     147
Autumn to Spring: Gopis, Birds, and the Moon     151
Sarad: The Autumn Full Moon     151
Hemant: Vows of the Cold Winter     168
Vasant: Spring and Holi     170
Summer-Seeing Reality: The Synaesthetic Transformation     173
Grisma: The Hot Season     173
Vars: The Rainy Season     179
Back to the Beginning     184
Notes     189
Works Cited     195
Index     199

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