Mysticism in India: The Poet-Saints of Maharashtra

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SUNY Press, 1983 - Religion - 494 pages
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Mysticism in India is a complete and informative description of the teachings, works, and lives of the great poet-saints of Maharashtra written by a scholar and professor who was also a mystic. Jnaneshwar, Namadev, Tukaram, Eknath, Ramdas, and the other saints discussed belonged to the great devotional religious movement that spread through medieval India. With the exception of Ramdas, they all belonged to the tradition of the Varkaris, the most popular sect in contemporary Maharashtra. Their compositions exemplify the universality of their faith and practice, and are recognized as literary treasures.

Ranade was primarily interested in the poet-saints as mystics--teachers of the perennial philosophy--whose experiences have general metaphysical and religious implications. At the heart of his classic is a comprehensive, objective presentation of the thought of these saints, augmented by a deep appreciation of their value and relevance to present-day scholars and seekers.

Mysticism in India is the only major study in English of medieval Indian religious literature. The book's enduring value has been enhanced by the addition of a foreword by a scholar currently working in Marathi literature, and a preface by a present-day poet-saint of Maharashtra.
 

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Contents

Introduction The Development of Indian Mysticism up to the Age of Jnanesvara
1
Jnanadeva Biographical Introduction
25
The Jnanesvari
47
The Amritanubhava
140
The Abhangas of Nivritti Jnanadeva Sopana Muktabai and Changadeva
166
General Review
178
Biographical Introduction
183
The Abhangas of Namadeva and Contemporary Saints
192
The Bhagavata of Ekanatha
228
Biographical Introduction Tukarama
261
Tukaramas Mystical Career
270
Tukaramas Mystical Teaching
313
General Review
355
Ramadasa
361
The Dasabodha I Introductory
374
General Review and Conclusion
422

General Review
209
Biographical Introduction Bhanudasa Janardana Swami and Ekanatha
213
The Abhangas of Bhanudasa Janardana Swami and Ekanatha
218
INDEX OF NAMES AND SUBJECTS
445
A SHORT BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE ON COMPARATIVE MYSTICISM
477
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Page xxix - what St. John of the Cross calls the Dark Night of the Soul is a necessary ingredient in the perfection of spiritual experience. It is true that persons like Bunyan passed through the Dark Night. It is also true that Plotinus never experienced the Dark Night at all. In a similar way, among the Mystics of
Page xxxviii - under delusions, a man who is likely to suffer from hallucinations, a man who is neurally pathological, can never hope to attain to real mystical experience. The imagination of the mystic must be powerful. He must have a penetrating, accurate, and unfaltering intellect. It is not without reason that great mystics like
Page xxxix - has made to the psychology of emotions is worthy of consideration at the hands of every student of Mysticism. When Spinoza said that emotions must be transcended in an intellectual love of God, he said most accurately what is needed in a true life of Mysticism. Another criterion of the reality of mystical experience is its capacity for the definite moral

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