The Bhagavata Purana: Sacred Text and Living Tradition

The Bhagavata Purana: Sacred Text and Living Tradition

by Ravi M. Gupta
     
 

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A vibrant example of living literature, The Bhagavata Purana is a versatile Hindu sacred text containing more than 14,000 Sanskrit verses. Finding its present form around the tenth century C.E., the work inspired several major north Indian devotional (bhakti) traditions as well as schools of dance and drama, and continues to permeate popular Hindu art and ritual in

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Overview

A vibrant example of living literature, The Bhagavata Purana is a versatile Hindu sacred text containing more than 14,000 Sanskrit verses. Finding its present form around the tenth century C.E., the work inspired several major north Indian devotional (bhakti) traditions as well as schools of dance and drama, and continues to permeate popular Hindu art and ritual in both India and the diaspora. Introducing The Bhagavata Purana’s key themes while also examining its extensive influence on Hindu thought and practice, this collection conducts the first multidimensional reading of the text’s entire twelve volumes.The Bhagavata Purana is a hard-to-classify embodiment of classical Indian cultural, religious, and philosophical thought. Its language and poetic expression are on par with the best of Sanskrit poetry (kavya), while its narrative structure holds together tightly as a literary work. Its theological message centers on devotion to Krishna and Vishnu, while its philosophical content is grounded solidly in the classical traditions of Vedanta and Samkhya. Each essay in this volume focuses on a key theme of The Bhagavata Purana and its subsequent presence in Hindu dance, music, ritual recitation, and commentary. The authors consider the relationship between the sacred text and the divine image, the text’s metaphysical and cosmological underpinnings, its shaping of Indian culture, and its ongoing relevance to contemporary Indian concerns. A glossary aids in the understanding of the work. Featuring original, expert scholarship, this volume is an essential companion for courses and research on India, Hinduism, and related topics.

Editorial Reviews

Choice

Highly recommended.

International Journal of Hindu Studies
A much needed analysis of the [Bhagavata Purana] as a whole… a valuable addition to Bhagavata studies.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231531474
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
04/09/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
File size:
18 MB
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This product may take a few minutes to download.

What People are saying about this

Daniel P. Sheridan
The Bhagavata Purana gathers a superb group of contemporary scholars who bring a new dimension of appreciation for this religious masterpiece of Vaisnava Hinduism. Their essays plumb its unique devotional intensity and metaphysical subtlety. The vast narratives of the Bhagavata Purana reveal a luxuriant universe in which the divine and created worlds interpenetrate and in which Krishna is portrayed as a God truly to be loved with 'whole heart, mind, soul, and strength.' The text's special genius heightens devotional intensity to Krishna while presenting profound theological discourse. No wonder Hinduism in all its varieties cannot be understood without first understanding the Bhagavata Purana. Ravi M. Gupta and Kenneth R. Valpey are to be thanked for gathering these important contributions to its scholarship.

Cynthia Ann Humes
This book brings together some of the most highly regarded scholars on the subject and cohesively provides an entry into the main themes of the Bhagavata Purana. Moreover, it does so by drawing on materials from comparative religion, theology, history, anthropology, and ethnomusicology.

Meet the Author

Ravi M. Gupta is associate professor of religious studies at the The College of William and Mary. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Oxford and is the author of The Caitanya Vaisnava Vedanta of Jiva Gosvami: When Knowledge Meets Devotion.Kenneth R. Valpey completed his Ph.D. at the University of Oxford. He is now a research fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and a regular visiting scholar at Chinese University of Hong Kong. He has lectured extensively throughout Europe on the Bhagavata Purana and regularly leads seminars and retreats on related themes.

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