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Maharasa Manjusa

Sacred Poetry of the Divine Dance (Hindu Studies, Vaishnavism)

Published by Mandala Publishing
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



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About The Book

An annotated translation of Nandadasa’s poetic rendition of the five chapters of rasa-lila in the Bhagavata, highlighting the text’s musical legacy, devotional worship, and Vedantic foundations.

Maharasa Manjusa: Sacred Poetry of the Divine Dance provides translation and scholarly commentary of Nandadasa’s five chapters of rasa-lila, collectively known as the rasapancadhyayi.

In the Vaisnava tradition propounded by Vallabhacarya, Nandadasa is considered to be one of the eight devotional poets, whose compositions are exquisitely detailed with description of both Krsna’s cosmic form and his divine play. This gradually developed into a distinctive style of performing art, haveli-sangita, which is practiced even today. Maharasa Manjusa: Sacred Poetry of the Divine Dance brings out the poetics, narrative style, and idiosyncrasies of the recitation of devotional poems from the region of Vraja in the 16th Century.

An exquisite specimen of devotional poetics, Nandadasa’s Rasapancadhyayi is a Braja-Bhasa rendition of the Bhagavata’s quintet of Maharasa written in Sanskrit verse. The Bhagavata is one of the most beloved texts of Krsna-devotional traditions and the foundational scripture of Braja Vaisnavism and its five chapters describing the divine dance illustrate the ecstatic fruit of devotion.

Presenting a devotee’s execution of the Maharasa while examining its interpretative themes underpinned in the epistemology of Vallabhacarya, Maharasa Manjusa: Sacred Poetry of the Divine Dance offers an intensive view of the musical legacy, a devotee’s worshipful interactions, and Vedantic foundations of the ecstatic devotion expressed by Nandada¯sa. The introductory chapters provide first compendious study of the theo-aesthetic, epistemic, and liturgical framework of Pustimarga’s orthopraxis that have fuelled this lyrical delivery. Enriched with annotations, the translations are literal while offering nuanced insights into the colloquial intricacies of Braja-Bhasa poetics and the cultural expressions of the Braja region.

EXPERT SCHOLARLY ANALYSIS: Prakriti Goswami is a doctoral candidate at Indiana University who studies the role of poetics, music, and aesthetics within Hinduism. Foreword author David Haberman is a professor of religious studies at Indiana University who has written multiple books on northern Indian religious traditions.

EDUCATION AID: Maharasa Manjusa: Sacred Poetry of the Divine Dance is a rich source of knowledge which can supplement academic coursework or provide guidance for independent study of Hinduism.

FIRST BOOK IN SERIES: This book is the first in a series of academic texts by the Bhaktivedanta Research Center, an academic institute which offers forums, conferences, courses, and other resources on Vaishnavism.

About The Author

Prakriti Goswami is a doctoral candidate at Indiana University Bloomington who studies the Braja Vaisnavism and the role of poetics, music, and aesthetics in the devotional theism within Indian religiosity. A direct descendent of Vallabhacarya, her scholarship focuses on the orthopraxis of Pustimarga and the Vedantic hermeneutics of Suddhadvaita. 

Product Details

  • Publisher: Mandala Publishing (August 1, 2023)
  • Length: 184 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781647229191

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