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Dance of Divine Love: The Rasa Lila of Krishna from the Bhagavata Purana, India's Classic Sacred Love Story

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The heart of this book is a dramatic love poem, the Rasa Lila, which is the ultimate focal point of one of the most treasured Sanskrit texts of India, the Bhagavata Purana. Judged a literary masterpiece by Indian and Western scholars alike, this work of poetic genius and soaring religious vision is one of the world's greatest sacred love stories and, as Graham Schweig clearly demonstrates, should be regarded as India's Song of Songs. The story presents the supreme deity as the youthful and amorous cowherd, Krishna, who joins his beloved maidens in an enchanting and celebratory "dance of divine love."

Schweig introduces this work of exquisite poetry and profound theology to the Western world in the form of a luminous translation and erudite scholarly treatment. His book explores the historical context and literary genre of the work and elucidates the aesthetic and emotional richness of the composition, highlighting poignant details of this drama of divine love. Schweig illuminates the religious dimensions and ethical nuances of the drama, drawing widely from the commentaries and esoteric vision of masters of the Caitanya school of Vaishnavism, a prominent devotional Hindu tradition.

Themes such as transcendence of death through love, the yoga of devotion, the contrast between worldly love and passionate love for God, and the dialectical tension between ethical boundaries and boundless love are presented. The final event of the Rasa dance, the author concludes, presents a dynamic symbol of supreme love that provides the basis for a theological vision of genuine religious pluralism.

Synopsis:

"This is truly first-rate scholarship. The five-chapter dramatic poem of the Rasa Lila is a gem of world literature, and Schweig has polished it masterfully. His translation gives a sense of the poetic aspect of the work as well as its theology."--E. F. Bryant, Rutgers University

"Schweig's translation is accurate, expressive, and poetic. This book will be useful to classes in a variety of disciplines, including world literature, Eastern religions, and comparative art and culture."--June McDaniel, College of Charleston

"A comprehensive presentation of the Rasa Lila chapters from the Bhagavata Purana has been much awaited, and this volume by Dr. Graham Schweig will surely satisfy scholars and aesthetes alike. Dr. Schweig's knowledgeable mind has danced well with his sensitive heart to produce a great accomplishment."--Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami, Radha Raman Temple, Vrindavana, India and author of Celebrating Krishna

Synopsis:

The heart of this book is a dramatic love poem, the Rasa Lila, which is the ultimate focal point of one of the most treasured Sanskrit texts of India, the Bhagavata Purana. Judged a literary masterpiece by Indian and Western scholars alike, this work of poetic genius and soaring religious vision is one of the world's greatest sacred love stories and, as Graham Schweig clearly demonstrates, should be regarded as India's Song of Songs. The story presents the supreme deity as the youthful and amorous cowherd, Krishna, who joins his beloved maidens in an enchanting and celebratory "dance of divine love."

Schweig introduces this work of exquisite poetry and profound theology to the Western world in the form of a luminous translation and erudite scholarly treatment. His book explores the historical context and literary genre of the work and elucidates the aesthetic and emotional richness of the composition, highlighting poignant details of this drama of divine love. Schweig illuminates the religious dimensions and ethical nuances of the drama, drawing widely from the commentaries and esoteric vision of masters of the Caitanya school of Vaishnavism, a prominent devotional Hindu tradition.

Themes such as transcendence of death through love, the yoga of devotion, the contrast between worldly love and passionate love for God, and the dialectical tension between ethical boundaries and boundless love are presented. The final event of the Rasa dance, the author concludes, presents a dynamic symbol of supreme love that provides the basis for a theological vision of genuine religious pluralism.

About the Author

Graham M. Schweig is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Indic Studies Program at Christopher Newport University. He earned his doctorate in Comparative Religion from Harvard University and has contributed articles to numerous journals and books in the field.

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables ix

Foreword by Norvin Hein xi

Acknowledgments xvii

Pronunciation xxi

Abbreviations xxv

Introduction: The Sacred Love Story 1

A Drama of Love 1

Sacred Love Stories 6

India's Song of Songs 8

Bh gavata as the Ultimate Scripture 11

Sacred Context of the Rasa Lila 16

Part I: Poems from the Bhagavata Purana

Dance of Divine Love: Rasa Lila 23

Act One. Krishna Attracts the Gop s and Disappears 25

Act Two. The Gop s Search for Krishna 39

Act Three. The Song of the Gopis: Gopi Gita 51

Act Four. Krishna Reappears and Speaks of Love 58

Act Five. The Rasa Dance 65

Song of the Flute: Venu Gita 78

Song of the Black Bee: Bhramara Gita 86

Part II: Textual Illuminations

Chapter 1: Background of the Text 97

Devotional Love as "Rasa" 97

Ancient Sources of Devotional Love 101

Devotional Love as the Path to God 105

Forms of the Deity Vishnu 108

Chapter 2: Aspects of the Story 111

Framing Passages of the Rasa Lila 111

Poetic and Dramatic Dimensions 114

Krishna: Lord of Love and Beauty 117

Vraja: Pastoral Paradise 125

Yogamaya :Potency for Intimacy 130

The Gopis: Beloveds of Krishna 137

The Special Gopi :Radha 147

Chapter 3: Messages of the Text 152

Devotional Yoga Transcends Death 152

Ethical Boundaries and Boundless Love 158

The Vision of Devotional Love 166

Symbolism in the Rasa Lila 172

Part III: Notes and Comments

Introduction 187

Act One 189

Act Two 222

Act Three 237

Act Four 250

Act Five 263

Part IV: The Sanskrit Text

Introduction 291

Act One 293

Act Two 304

Act Three 313

Act Four 318

Act Five 322

Appendix 1: Note on Translation 331

Appendix 2: Poetic Meters in Sanskrit Text 336

Accent and Syllable Length: Emphasis and Rhythm in Sanskrit Verse 337

Sanskrit Meters Used in R sa L l Te x t 337

Story Line and Poetic Meter Analysis 339

Verse Number Variations and Actual Verse Count 342

Appendix 3: Synoptic Analysis of the Rasa Lila 344

Glossary 347

Bibliography 355

Index 367

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691114460
Other:
Schweig, Graham M.
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Author:
Schweig, Graham M.
Location:
Princeton, NJ
Subject:
Poetry
Subject:
Hinduism
Subject:
Inspirational & Religious
Subject:
Krishna (hindu deity)
Subject:
Råadhåa (Hindu deity)
Subject:
Krishna
Subject:
Puranas
Subject:
Råadhåa
Subject:
Råasa låilåa
Subject:
Hinduism - General
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
Asian and Asian American Studies
Subject:
Religion Eastern-Hinduism-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Series Volume:
2
Publication Date:
February 2005
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
15 halftones. 3 tables. 1 map.
Pages:
424
Dimensions:
9.25 x 5.5 in 23 oz

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Hinduism » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Indian Philosophy
Religion » Eastern Religions » Krishna

Dance of Divine Love: The Rasa Lila of Krishna from the Bhagavata Purana, India's Classic Sacred Love Story New Hardcover
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Product details 424 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691114460 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "This is truly first-rate scholarship. The five-chapter dramatic poem of the Rasa Lila is a gem of world literature, and Schweig has polished it masterfully. His translation gives a sense of the poetic aspect of the work as well as its theology."--E. F. Bryant, Rutgers University

"Schweig's translation is accurate, expressive, and poetic. This book will be useful to classes in a variety of disciplines, including world literature, Eastern religions, and comparative art and culture."--June McDaniel, College of Charleston

"A comprehensive presentation of the Rasa Lila chapters from the Bhagavata Purana has been much awaited, and this volume by Dr. Graham Schweig will surely satisfy scholars and aesthetes alike. Dr. Schweig's knowledgeable mind has danced well with his sensitive heart to produce a great accomplishment."--Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami, Radha Raman Temple, Vrindavana, India and author of Celebrating Krishna

"Synopsis" by , The heart of this book is a dramatic love poem, the Rasa Lila, which is the ultimate focal point of one of the most treasured Sanskrit texts of India, the Bhagavata Purana. Judged a literary masterpiece by Indian and Western scholars alike, this work of poetic genius and soaring religious vision is one of the world's greatest sacred love stories and, as Graham Schweig clearly demonstrates, should be regarded as India's Song of Songs. The story presents the supreme deity as the youthful and amorous cowherd, Krishna, who joins his beloved maidens in an enchanting and celebratory "dance of divine love."

Schweig introduces this work of exquisite poetry and profound theology to the Western world in the form of a luminous translation and erudite scholarly treatment. His book explores the historical context and literary genre of the work and elucidates the aesthetic and emotional richness of the composition, highlighting poignant details of this drama of divine love. Schweig illuminates the religious dimensions and ethical nuances of the drama, drawing widely from the commentaries and esoteric vision of masters of the Caitanya school of Vaishnavism, a prominent devotional Hindu tradition.

Themes such as transcendence of death through love, the yoga of devotion, the contrast between worldly love and passionate love for God, and the dialectical tension between ethical boundaries and boundless love are presented. The final event of the Rasa dance, the author concludes, presents a dynamic symbol of supreme love that provides the basis for a theological vision of genuine religious pluralism.

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