Showing posts with label Lila. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lila. Show all posts

Hinduism - Who Was Surdas Among The Ashtachap?



 (early sixteenth century) One of the ashtachap, a group of eight bhakti (devotional) poets from northern India.

The Pushti Marg, a religious society whose members are Krishna devotees (bhakta), utilized the works of these eight poets for liturgical reasons.

All eight poets are also identified as members of the community and colleagues of either the community's founder, Vallabhacharya, or his successor, Vitthalnath, in the Pushti Marg's sectarian literature.

Surdas started writing songs about Krishna's lila, his humorous interactions with the universe, and his followers at Vallabhacharya's instruction, according to the Chaurasi Vaishnavan ki Varta ("Lives of eighty-four Vaishnavas").

He subsequently went on to write the Sursagar's 5,000-odd poems.

Surdas is shown in a very different light in the earliest manuscripts, since most of them only include a few hundred verses, most of which are relatively brief.

Supplication (vinaya) and separation (viraha) are the most essential topics in early poetry, and although Surdas is best known for his descriptions of Krishna's boyhood, these themes are more prominent later in the poetic tradition.

Surdas' poetry covers a broad variety of topics, from his personal spiritual life to devout "glimpses" of Krishna, the latter of which often explores the religious conflict between Krishna's image as a cute kid and his alter ego as master of the world.

Surdas wrote these poems to draw his listeners into Krishna's realm, as he does in most Vaishnava devotional poetry.

The disparity between these images casts doubt on Surdas' and Vallabhacharya's relationship.

Surdas, unlike the other ashtachap poets, did not produce poetry in honor of Vallabhacharya, despite his songs being included into the Pushti Marg's ceremonies.

It's just as probable that, as Surdas' poetry rose in popularity, the Pushti Marg "claimed" him as a fellow Krishna lover.

In truth, very little is known for certain about him, including whether or not he was indeed blind, as is often assumed.

Only two of the earliest poems address blindness; one is obviously allegorical, and the other is part of a litany of old age's ills.

One knows a lot more about the poetry than the poet, as is the case with many bhakti poets.

For further detail, read John Stratton Hawley's Krishna: The Butter Thief (1983) and Surdas: Poet, Singer, Saint (1984); also check John Stratton Hawley and Mark Juergensmeyer's Songs of the Saints of India (1988).

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Hinduism - Who Is Radha In Hindu Mythology?


Radha is the lady depicted as the deity Krishna's lover and companion in later devotional (bhakti) literature.

Radha's love for Krishna is a metaphor for the soul's longing for unification with the divine, portrayed via passionate love's poetic traditions.

Although there are a few mentions to Radha in poetry dating back to the seventh century, Jayadeva's lyric poem the Gitagovinda, written in the eleventh century, is her earliest detailed representation.

The narrative of Radha and Krishna's love, their fight and separation, and their final reconciliation is told in the Gitagovinda.

Radha is portrayed in a unique way by Jayadeva.

In the poem, Radha expresses her desire to be Krishna's solitary lover and friend.

She pouts jealously when he flirts with other women, and she snubs him violently when he returns to her with hints of another tryst.

They reunite in the end, and passionate love becomes a symbol of their togetherness.

The lyrical text given by Jayadeva's hymn Dashavatara Stotra brings this image of Radha and Krishna's love, separation, and reunion into fuller clarity.

After the text's introductory verses, Jayadeva describes the accomplishments of Krishna's 10 incarnations (avatars).

The hymn's final verses specifically mention Krishna as the ultimate source of the ten avatars, reminding listeners that the person playing a role in this drama of jealousy, repentance, and reconciliation is none other than the Lord of the Universe Himself, who has saved the world from destruction in the past.

Unlike previous representations of Krishna, which portray his relationships with his followers (bhakta) as a type of "play" (lila), the Krishna in the Gitagovinda seems to be less lofty and distant, and more personally and profoundly concerned with Radha as the object of his adoration.

Krishna is shown in the poem as someone who is highly affected by emotions and who reciprocates his devotee's sentiments in a meaningful way.

The inner interaction between the two lovers is the core of Jayadeva's literary attention, and he discloses nothing about Radha outside of this connection.

Radha's character evolved in a variety of ways following the Gitagovinda.

Radha's trysts with Krishna take on the hue of adulterous, forbidden love according to certain poets, who represent her as married to another man.

In Indian poetry, this love is seen as more passionate since the lovers have nothing to gain from the affair other than the love itself, and they risk losing everything if they are found.

Radha is a sign of someone who is prepared to risk and lose all for the sake of love itself.

Radha's character is also explored in a manner that contradicts this adulterous depiction.

Radha is depicted in various traditions not as a simple woman devoured by Krishna's love, but as his wife, consort, and divine force (shakti), through whose agency Krishna may operate in the universe.

For the Nimbarka religious community, who saw Radha and Krishna as manifestations of Lakshmi and Narayana, this deified figure of Radha was very important.

The Radhavallabh community was another sect that promoted equality, with members emphasizing Krishna's devotion for Radha.

See Barbara Stoller Miller (ed. and trans. ), The Love Song of the Dark Lord, 1977, and David R. Kinsley, Hindu Goddesses, 1986, for further information about Radha.

Hinduism - What Is The Pushti Marg?


Vallabhacharya (1479–1531) formed a religious community whose teachings have remained the sect's primary impact.

Vallabhacharya's philosophical viewpoint is known as "pure monism" (Shuddadvaita); his fundamental belief is that the deity Krishna is the Supreme Being and the ultimate source of everything that exists.

As a result, the earth and humans partake in his divine essence, although in limited ways, and the human soul is endowed with divinity as its inner light and controller.

Because Krishna is the ultimate source of everything, everything ultimately relies on God, the school's major religious focus is on God's grace.

This blessing is said to nourish (pushti) the devotee (bhakta) and is best obtained via devotion (bhakti), which is seen to be the only successful religious method.

Because of this focus on grace and devotion, the Pushti Marg has placed little emphasis on abstinence or sacrifice, and Vallabhacharya's followers mostly came from prosperous merchant groups.

In the Pushti Marg's temples, the emphasis on devotion was quickly expressed in beautifully structured forms of image worship.

Devotees would imagine themselves as Krishna's companions throughout his everyday activities—waking, eating, bringing his cows to pasture, returning home, and so on—and so be able to participate in the divine drama (lila).

The emergence of large liturgical materials, composed by eight poets (the ashtachap) affiliated with Vallabhacharya and Vitthalnath, his son and successor, aided this focus on vision and participation.

Vitthalnath's son Gokulnath, the group's third head, further cemented the growing community, whose main holy place is currently at Nathdwara, Rajasthan.

R.K. Barz, The Bhakti Sect of Vallabhacharya, 1976, is a good source of information.

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Hinduism - What Is A Lila?


(“play”) In a theological con text, a phrase whose wide literal meaning suggests any kind of activity, game, or sport, but which expresses a basic premise about how God interacts with the universe.

According to this theory, the ultimate god acts in creation not out of any feeling of necessity, but just for the pure pleasure and enjoyment of making and participating in the universe.

This is especially true of the deity Vishnu, notably in his forms as Rama and Krishna.

All spiritual exchanges between God and his followers (bhakta) are conducted in this spirit of play, despite the fact that human people may not perceive the actual nature of this meeting due to their ignorance.

The devotee's final freedom (moksha) occurs when he or she acknowledges the actual nature of this meeting, since with that revelation, one's whole existence becomes a series of playful exchanges with God himself.

One of the ways that modern followers attempt to access Rama's and Krishna's celestial worlds is via dramas, which are known as lilas.

These lilas might be attended for entertainment, but they can also be seen as a very spiritual event.

When children depicting deities are dressed up and in character, they are thought to be incarnations of the gods themselves.

Viewing these lilas is a pathway for receiving God's favour and an entry-point into a privileged, celestial realm for devout believers.

See David R. Kinsley, The Sword and the Flute, 1975, for an excellent discussion of Krishna's entire life as play; John Stratton Hawley, At Play with Krishna, 1981, for a description of the Krishna lilas; and Anaradha Kapur, Actors, Pilgrims, Kings, and Gods, 1990, for a description of the Krishna lilas.

Also see Ram Lila.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.