The Embodiment of Bhakti

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Oxford University Press, Jan 6, 2000 - Religion - 288 pages
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This book offers an interpretive history of bhakti, an influential religious perspective in Hinduism. Prentiss argues that although bhakti is mentioned in every contemporary sourcebook on Indian religions, it still lacks an agreed-upon definition. "Devotion" is found to be the most commonly used synonym. Prentiss seeks a new perspective on this elusive concept. Her analysis of Tamil (south Indian) materials leads her to suggest that bhakti be understood as a doctrine of embodiment. Bhakti, she says, urges people towards active engagement in the worship of God. She proposes that the term "devotion" be replaced by "participation," emphasizing bhakti's call for engagement in worship and the necessity of embodiment to fulfill that obligation.
 

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Contents

Images of Bhakti
13
Bodies of Poetry
43
Contours in Song Sculpture and Story
77
A Corpus of Hymns
115
Concluding Remarks
153
Um257pati Civ257c257ry257rs Tev257ra Arulmuraittirattu
157
Um257pati Civ257c257ry257rs Tiruvarutpayan
189
Notes
211
Bibliography
249
Index
259
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Page 25 - Like the Protestant Reformation in Europe in the 16th century, there was a religious, social and literary revival and reformation in India, but notably in the Deccan in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Page 25 - This religious revival was not Brahmanical in its orthodoxy ; it was heterodox in its spirit of protest against forms and ceremonies and class distinctions based on birth, and ethical in its preference of a pure heart, and of the law of love, to all other acquired merits and good works. This religious revival was the work also of the people, of the masses, and not of the classes.
Page 8 - representation', it seems, is useful precisely because and to the extent that it can serve a mediating function between the two positions, neither foundationalist (privileging 'reality') nor superstructural (privileging 'culture'), not denying the category of the real, or essentializing it as some pregiven metaphysical ground for representation. This is the reason why feminism...
Page 26 - Sanskrit to be learned, to be minded lest one forget its rules, paradigms, and exceptions; he is one's own mother tongue. In his view, god lives inside us as a mother tongue does, and we live in god as we live in language — a language that was there before us, is all around us in the community, and will be there after us.

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About the author (2000)

Prentiss is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey.

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