The Gods at Play: L=il=a in South Asia

The Gods at Play: L=il=a in South Asia

by William S. Sax
     
 

God is playful. Like a child building sand castles on the beach, God creates the world and destroys it again. God plays with his (or her) devotees, sometimes like a lover, sometimes like a mother with her children, sometimes like an actor in a play.
The idea of God's playfulness has been elaborated in Hinduism more, perhaps, than any other religion, providing

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Overview

God is playful. Like a child building sand castles on the beach, God creates the world and destroys it again. God plays with his (or her) devotees, sometimes like a lover, sometimes like a mother with her children, sometimes like an actor in a play.
The idea of God's playfulness has been elaborated in Hinduism more, perhaps, than any other religion, providing one of the most distinctive and charming aspects of Indian religious life. Lila or "divine play" can refer to many things: to God's playful creation of the world and to religious dramas or "plays," as well as to various motifs in Hindu art. But despite the importance of lila in the cultural history of South Asia, few comprehensive studies of it are available, partly because scholars have tended to emphasize only one dimension of lila—either the theological or the performative—at the expense of the other. The Gods at Play fills this gap by bringing together scholarly essays on all aspects of this important Hindu idea, providing students with a broader understanding of popular Hindu culture and religion.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195091021
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
03/16/1995
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
248
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.54(d)

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
I. THE THEOLOGY OF PLAY
2. Lila, Norvin Hein
3. Lila in Early Vaisnava Thought, Clifford Hospital
4. The Play of the Three World: The Trike Concept of Lila, Bettina Baumer
5. The Playworld of Sanskrit Poetry: Model Sakuntala, Robert E. Goodwin
6. At the Whim of the Goddess: The Lila of the Goddess in Bengal Saktism, Malcolm McLean
II. RELIGIOUS PLAY IN NORTH AND SOUTH INDIA
7. The Play of Emotion: Lilakirtan in Bengal, Donna Wulff
8. Every Play a Play Within the Play, John S. Hawley
9. Who's Who in the Panday Lila, W.S. Sax
10. Class and Gender Politics in the Ramlila, Nita Kumar
11. The Realm of Play and the Sacred Stage, Vasudha Narayanan
12. Draupadi Cult Lilas, Alf Hiltebeitel
13. Some Concluding Reflections, John Carman

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