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Vrndavana in Vaisnava Literature

History -- Mythology -- Symbolism

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.

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About This Book

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.

  • Foreword By : R.C. Sharma
  • Binding: : Hardbound
  • 13 Digit ISBN : 9788124600245
  • 10 Digit ISBN : 8124600244
  • Edition : 1st edition
  • Year : 1995
  • Pages : xi, 178 p.
  • Size : 25
  • Weight (approx.) : 500
  • Bibliographic Details : Appendices; Glossary; Bibliography; Index

Foreword
Preface
Abbreviations
Map of Mathura Districts
Map of Vrindaban

1. Introduction

Primary Sources
Secondary Sources

2. Mythic Vrindavana as the Scene of Krishna's Incarnation

Sanskrit Sources

Krishna-Vishnu Motifs in Vedic Literature -- The Epic and Puranic Approach to the Relation Between Krishna and Vishnu -- Vrindavana Motifs in Vedic Literature -- The Nature of Vrindavana -- Celestial and Terrestrial -- In the Puranas -- The Gaudiya Approach to Krishna-Vishnu

Krishna-Vishnu and the Concept of Avatara in Braj Bhasha Literature

The Non-Sectarian Approach -- The Surasagara -- The Sectarian Approach

3. Vrindavana and its Role in Lila

The Nature of Lila

Lila in the Puranas -- Lila in the Sectarian Philosophical Texts -- The Braj Bhasha Treatment of Divine Sport

The Role of Vrindavana in Lila -- An Aspect of the Divine

In the Puranas -- In the Sectarian Philosophical Texts -- Vrindavana in the Braj Bhasha Texts

4. Geography and Symbolism in the Representation of Vrindavana

The Mythological Representation
The Symbolic Representation
The Geographical Representation

5. The Role of Vrindavana in Devotional Practice and Experience

The Mythological Tradition
The Symbolic Approach

6. Conclusion

Appendix
Glossary
Bibliography
Index

 

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