A well-known geographical site on the banks of the Yamuna, about 150 kilometers from Delhi, VRINDAVANA is the holiest of the pilgrimages for the worshippers of Krishna. However, in the devotional Sanskrit and Braj Bhasha literatures, another dimension of Vrindavana dominates the picture, i.e., its role as an expression of the divine realm. What, then, is Vrindavana? A terrestrial place of pilgrimage? A mythic locale associated with Krishna and Radha? Or a metaphysical concept symbolizing the celestial space of the eternally-going lila (divine sport)? With sharp focus on these and allied questions, Dr. Corcoran explores afresh the essential nature of Vrindavana, critically analysing the representative texts from the immense corpus of Vaishnava literature of different genres: mythological, metaphysical, devotional and commentatorial.
The author's inquiry seeks to identify a notional sequence of ideas connected with Vrindavana: the description of (a) a mythic place, (b) a symbolic place, (c) the geographical town as a centre of pilgrimage. And also looks at other thematically relevant concepts, for instance, avatara (incarnation) and lila (divine sport), underlying the entire understanding of the nature of the divine and the relation of the divine to the material world.
The book exhibits a striking departure from modern sources which have, for the most part, concentrated on Vrindavana as a geographical place, glossing over its symbolic and mythic significance.