Bhakti and Embodiment
Fashioning Divine Bodies and Devotional Bodies in Krsna Bhakti
Routledge – 2014 – 432 pages
Series: Routledge Hindu Studies Series
With the emergence of bhakti (devotion) movements in the post-Vedic period, the body was re-figured to accord with the epistemological framework of the discourse of devotion. This historical shift from Vedic to bhakti traditions is characterised by various transformations which can best be understood in terms of these newly emerging discourses of the body in bhakti traditions.
Bhakti and Embodiment: Fashioning Divine Bodies and Devotional Bodies in K???a Bhakti explores the connections between bhakti and embodiment and is concerned with constructions of divine bodies and devotional bodies in K???a bhakti traditions in particular. It discusses the historical shift to post-Vedic bhakti traditions and the accompanying transformations. These reflections are grounded in an analysis of two case studies: the Bhagavata Pura?a, one of the most important scriptures in the Vai??ava bhakti canon, and the Gau?iya Vai??ava tradition, an important bhakti movement inspired by the sixteenth-century Bengali leader Caitanya. Holdrege argues that an exploration of the connections between bhakti and embodiment is critical to understanding the myriad forms that bhakti has historically assumed up to the present time.
Making a significant contribution to several fields, this book is relevant to scholarship on the body in the History of Religions and in the Humanities generally. It will also be of interest to those working in the field of Asian Religions, Hindu Studies, and more specifically Bhakti Studies, Pura?ic Studies and Gau?iya Vai??ava Studies.
Preface. Introduction 1. Bhakti and Divine Embodiment: Fashioning Divine Bodies 2. The Embodied Aesthetics of Bhakti: Fashioning Devotional Bodies 3. Bhagavata Purana as Text-Avatara: From Purana-Veda to Krishna-Veda to Embodiment of Bhagavan 4. Naman as Sound-Avatara: From Transcendent Vibration to Reverberating Name 5. Vraja-Dhaman as Place-Avatara: From Mythic Space to Pilgrimage Place to Transcendent Space 6: Meditation as Devotional Practice: Experiencing Krishna in His Transcendent Dhaman. Conclusion.
Barbara A. Holdrege is a comparative historian of religions in the Department of Religious Studies and Chair of the South Asian Studies Committee at the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA.