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Ramayana Stories in Modern South India

An Anthology

Compiled and Edited by Paula Richman

While some religious texts may remain static over time, the Ramayana epic has been retold in a variety of ways over the centuries and across South Asia. Some of the narrative's most probing and innovative retellings have appeared in print in the last 100 years in the region of South India. This collection brings together, for the first time, modern retellings translated from the four major South Indian languages and from genres as diverse as drama, short stories, poetry, and folk song. The selections focus on characters generally seen as stigmatized or marginalized, and on themes largely overlooked in previous scholarship. Editor Paula Richman demonstrates that twentieth-century authors have used retellings of the Ramayana to question caste and gender inequality in provocative ways. This engaging anthology includes translations of 22 primary texts along with interpretive essays that provide background and frameworks for understanding the stories.

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Rapt in the Name

The Ramnamis, Ramnam, and Untouchable Religion in Central India

In Rapt in the Name, Ramdas Lamb provides an intriguing account of the Ram bhakti tradition in India. Less well-known in the West than the tradition of devotion to Krishna, the Ram tradition is an important component of Hinduism. Ram is the most-worshipped form of the divine in North India today and has long been particularly important to those of the lower castes throughout India. Lamb explores both the evolution of the tradition and the rise of lower caste religious movements devoted to Ram, specifically the Ramnami Samaj, an Untouchable religious movement in Central India. Lamb’s study of the Ramnamis has spanned nearly three decades, first on a personal level as a Hindu monk and later as both a friend and a researcher. He discusses the historical origins, as well as present-day forms and structure of the Samaj, including a description of its distinctive ritual dress and practices. Among the more innovative aspects of the sect is its adaptation of the story of Lord Ram that is uniquely woven into its devotional repetition of his name (Ramnam). In addition, Lamb shares biographical sketches of six Ramnamis, each of which reveals the freedom of individual exploration and expression that is integral to the sect. This is a fascinating account of religious life and adaptation on the periphery of society.

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Reconciling Yogas

Haribhadra's Collection of Views on Yoga With a New Translation of Haribhadra's Yogadrstisamuccaya by Christopher Key Chapple and John Thomas Casey

Reconciling Yogas explores five approaches to the accomplishment of Yoga from a variety of religious perspectives: Jaina, Hindu, and Buddhist. Haribhadra, a prolific Jaina scholar who espoused a universal view of religion, proclaimed that truth can be found in all faiths and sought to elucidate differences between various schools of thought. In Yoga, he discovered a form of spiritual practice common to many faiths and juxtaposed their paths to demonstrate the common goal of liberation. Utilizing the structure of Patañjali’s advanced eightfold path of Yoga in the Yoga Suµtra, Haribhadra formulates his own eight stages of Yoga to which he assigns titles in the feminine gender that echo the names of goddesses. Discussed are the Jaina stages of spiritual ascent and two forms of Yoga for which there is no other account. Also included is a new translation of the Yogadr|s|t|isamuccaya, an eighth-century text by Haribhadra.

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Ritual in an Oscillating Universe

Worshipping Siva in Medieval India

Richard H. Davis

Saiva liturgy is performed in a world that oscillates: a world permeated by the presence of Siva, where humans live in a condition of bondage and where the highest aim of the soul is to attain liberation from its fetters. In this account of Indian temple ritual, Richard Davis uses medieval Hindu texts to describe the world as it is envisioned by Saiva siddhanta and the way daily worship reflects and acts within that world. He argues that this worship is not simply a set of ritualized gestures, but rather a daily catechism in which the worshiper puts into action all the major themes of Saiva philosophy: the cyclic pattern of cosmic emission and reabsorption, the human path of attaining liberation, the manifestation of divinity in the world, and the proper interrelationship of humanity and god. In re-creating the convictions and intentions of a well-versed worshiper of the twelfth century, Davis moves back and forth between philosophical and ritual texts, demonstrating the fundamental Saiva belief that the capacities of humans to know about the world and to act within it are two inter-related modalities of the unitary power of consciousness.

Originally published in 1991.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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The Saffron Wave

Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India

Thomas Blom Hansen

The rise of strong nationalist and religious movements in postcolonial and newly democratic countries alarms many Western observers. In The Saffron Wave, Thomas Hansen turns our attention to recent events in the world's largest democracy, India. Here he analyzes Indian receptivity to the right-wing Hindu nationalist party and its political wing, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which claims to create a polity based on "ancient" Hindu culture. Rather than interpreting Hindu nationalism as a mainly religious phenomenon, or a strictly political movement, Hansen places the BJP within the context of the larger transformations of democratic governance in India.

Hansen demonstrates that democratic transformation has enabled such developments as political mobilization among the lower castes and civil protections for religious minorities. Against this backdrop, the Hindu nationalist movement has successfully articulated the anxieties and desires of the large and amorphous Indian middle class. A form of conservative populism, the movement has attracted not only privileged groups fearing encroachment on their dominant positions but also "plebeian" and impoverished groups seeking recognition around a majoritarian rhetoric of cultural pride, order, and national strength. Combining political theory, ethnographic material, and sensitivity to colonial and postcolonial history, The Saffron Wave offers fresh insights into Indian politics and, by focusing on the links between democracy and ethnic majoritarianism, advances our understanding of democracy in the postcolonial world.

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Samadhi

The Numinous and Cessative in Indo-Tibetan Yoga

A historical and comparative study grounded in close readings of important works, this book explores the dynamics of the theory and practice of yoga in Hindu and Buddhist contexts. Author Stuart Ray Sarbacker explores the fascinating, contrasting perceptions that meditation leads to the attainment of divine, or numinous, power, and to complete escape from worldly existence, or cessation. Sarbacker demonstrates that these two dimensions of spiritual experience have affected the doctrine and cultural significance of yoga from its origins to its contemporary practice. He also integrates sociological and psychological perspectives on religious experience into a larger phenomenological model to address the multifaceted nature of religious experience. Speaking to a broad range of methodological and contextual issues, Samaµdhi provides numerous insights into the theory and practice of yoga that are relevant to both scholars of religious studies and practitioners of contemporary yoga and meditation traditions.

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Silence Unheard

Deathly Otherness in Patanjala-Yoga

Silence Unheard maintains that the reality of PatanÅjali’s Yogasuµtra is a profound silence barely and variously audible to the scholars and interpreters who approach it. Even the Yogasuµtra itself is an “approach,” a voice articulating an other— a silent, beyond-speech yogin. Author Yohanan Grinshpon presents PatanÅjali as a Saµn³khya-philosopher, who interprets silence in accordance with his own dualist metaphysics and Buddhistic sensibilities. The Yogasuµtra represents an intellectual’s conceptualization of utter otherness rather than the yogin’s verbalization of silence. Silence Unheard focuses on the yogin’s supra-normal experiences (siddhis) as well as on the classification of silences and the ultimate goal of disintegration through gun|a balance. The book provides a translation of the Yogasuµtra divided into two sections: an essential text, concerning the yoga practitioner, and a secondary text, concerning the philosopher. Grinshpon also surveys the encounters of intellectuals, scholars, seekers, devotees, and outsiders with the Yogasuµtra.

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Siva's Demon Devotee

Karaikkal Ammaiyar

An exploration and translation of the work of Hindu poet-saint, Karaikkal Ammaiyar. The Hindu poet-saint Karaikkal Ammaiyar describes herself as a demon, accompanying the god Siva as he dances in the cremation grounds. She is believed to be the first to write devotional poetry to Siva in the Tamil language and is considered the first of the 63 Tamil poet-saints. Written in the 6th or 7th century, her beautiful poetry presents the path of love and service that brings liberation. In Siva’s Demon Devotee, Elaine Craddock provides a historical, literary, and ethnographic exploration of Karaikkal Ammaiyar and her work. An annotated translation of the poet-saint’s 143 verses is included along with an introduction to the Tamil literary tradition. Craddock’s analysis of this poetry in its ancient context and of the narrative tradition that developed around the life of the Karaikkal Ammaiyar centuries later reveals cultural tensions concerning women’s roles and the devotional path. A consideration of the two temples that celebrate this poet-saint in contemporary India illuminate both ancient traditions and contemporary transformations.

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Siva's Warriors

The Basava Purana of Palkuriki Somanatha

Velcheru Narayana Rao

Here is the first translation into English of the Basava Purana, a fascinating collection of tales that sums up and characterizes one of the most important and most radical religious groups of South India. The ideas of the Virasaivas, or militant Saivas, are represented in those tales by an intriguing mix of outrageous excess and traditional conservatism. Written in Telugu in the thirteenth century, the Basava Purana is an anthology of legends of Virasaivas saints and a hagiography of Basavesvara, the twelfth-century Virasaiva leader. This translation makes accessible a completely new perspective on this significant religious group. Although Telugu is one of the major cultural traditions of India, with a classical literature reaching back to the eleventh century, until now there has been no translation or exposition of any of the Telugu Virasaiva works in English. The introduction orients the reader to the text and helps in an understanding of the poet's point of view. The author of the Basava Purana, Palkuriki Somanatha, is revered as a saint by Virasaivas in Andhra and Karnataka. His books are regarded as sacred texts, and he is also considered to be a major poet in Telugu and Kannada.

Originally published in 1990.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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Sleep as a State of Consciousness in Advaita Vedanta

Indian philosophy bases itself on three states of consciousness: waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. Deep sleep, or sus|upti, plays an important role in Advaita Vedaµnta, the major philosophical school that advocates a doctrine of pure consciousness. Explaining and savoring this paradox, this book shows how the concept of deep sleep can be used in Advaita Vedaµnta to reveal a philosophical insight, validate an argument, illustrate a moral, or adorn a tale. Arvind Sharma explores why sleep is a phenomenon that philosophers should be interested in and examines it in classical Hindu religious texts, including the Upanis|ads, and in foundational, early, and modern Advaita Vedaµnta.

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