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Interpreting Bhakti Tradition

Through Subaltern Postcolonial Lens by: John V. Mathew



ISBN: 9788124611036
Year Of Publication: 2023
Edition: 1st
Pages : xxii+484
Bibliographic Details : Bibliography; Indices
Language : English
Binding : Hardcover
Publisher: D.K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Size: 23
Weight: 500


The book investigates the bhakti beliefs and practices of the subaltern Kabirpanth community in comparison with the nirguna bhakti thought of their guru, the medieval iconoclastic bhakti saint Kabir. By doing so, the book attempts to investigate the Kabirpanthis’ attempt at dissent and submissiveness vis-a-vis the dominant Sanskritic Hindu tradition. This dual strategy of dissent and submissiveness is analysed through subaltern postcolonial lens as well as by employing social anthropological empirical research.
The book begins by making an analytical study of the medieval Bhakti movement and the nirguṇa bhakti teachings and practices of Kabir. Using postcolonial discursive tools such as postcolonial mimicry, ambivalence and hybridity, the author investigates how the bhakti beliefs and practices of the subaltern Kabirpanth community are elements of subversive and resistance stance against the dominant Sanskritic Hindu tradition.
This book is a must read for anyone interested in bhakti religion and movement and those who wish to analyse subaltern religion through postcolonial lens.


List of Tables

The Research Problem
Background of the Study
Significance of the Study
Definition of Key Terms
Medieval Hindu Bhakti
Subaltern Response
Previous Studies in Related Area of Research
Methodology Employed in the Study
Outline of the Book

1. Medieval Hindu Bhakti in North India 
A Study of the Concept of Bhakti
Major Forms of Bhakti
Origin and Growth of Bhakti
Bhakti Literature
Socio-Religious, Politico-Economic Context of the Medieval Bhakti Movement
Socio-Religious Context of the Medieval Bhakti Movement
Political and Economic Context of the Medieval Bhakti Movement
Division of Bhakti in North India

2. Methodological Considerations 
Meaning of the Term Subaltern
Subaltern Consciousness
Subaltern Religion
Postcolonial Theory
Postcolonialism: Its Definition and Usage
Postcolonialism: Its Definition
Various Usages of the Term Postcolonialism
The Origin of Postcolonialism as a Field of Study
Post in Postcolonial Theory
Theoretical Roots/Assumptions of Postcolonial Theory
Features of Postcolonial Studies
A Critical Stance or Subversive Reading Strategy
A Resistance Discourse
Attaining New Hybridized Identity
Contrapuntal Reading
Key Issues in Postcolonial Studies
Subaltern Studies Group and Subaltern Postcolonial Theory
Subaltern Response in Terms of Postcolonial Theoretical Concepts
Postcolonial Mimicry
Postcolonial Ambivalence
Postcolonial Hybridity
Postcolonial Appropriation
Postcolonial Binarism
Postcolonial Catachresis

3. Life and Teachings of Kabīr with Special Reference to Bhakti
A Brief Overview of Kabīr’s Life
The Sources for Kabīr’s Teachings
The Bījaka
The Teachings of Kabīr: A Comprehensive Analysis
Kabīr’s Doctrine of God
God as Nirguṇa
God as Saguṇa
God as Creator and Sustainer of the World
God as Sovereign, Eternal and Immanent
Kabīr’s Concept of the World
Kabīr’s Concept of Maya
Kabīr’s Teachings on Human Person (Jīva)
The Fate of the Unliberated Human Being
The Nirguṇa Bhakti of Kabīr
The Bhakti Teachings of Kabīr
Śabda: The Word
Nāma: The Name of God
Guru: The Divine Preceptor
Dayā: Grace of God
God’s Grace as an Important Factor in Kabīr’s Nirguṇa Bhakti
The Ultimate Experience (Mokṣa)
Nirguṇa Bhakti Practice of Kabīr
Rejection of Outward Religion
Rejection of Caste
Rejection of the Traditional Acts of Merits
Rejection of Avatāras
Rejection of Idolatry
Rejection of Tīrtha
Rejection of Ascetic Practices
Rejection of Scriptural and Religious Authority

4. The Kabīrpanth Movement: A Brief Introduction 
Meaning of the Term Panth and Kabīrpanth
The Founder of Kabīrpanth
Date and Context of the Founding of Kabīrpanth
Kabīrpanth as a Subject of Study
Social Composition of the Kabīrpanthīs
The Kabīrpanth: Its Main Branches
Benares Kabīr Caurā Branch
Chhattisgarh Branch
Bhagatāhi Branch
Jagudās Branch
Phatuhā Branch
Kabīr Caurā Jagdishpurī (Purī)
Kabīr Nirṇaya Mandir, Burhanpur
General Remarks

5. Understanding of Bhakti in the Benares Kabīr Caurā Branch
An Overview of Important Beliefs and Teachings
Understanding of God as Paramātmā
Rāma-Nāma as Paramātmā
Kabīr as Paramātmā and Sadguru
Relation between Paramātmā and the World
Relation between Paramātmā and Human Person
Bhakti Teachings and Practices of the Kabīr Caurā
Branch of the Kabīrpanth Community Understanding of Bhakti
Importance of Bhajana in Bhakti
Four Types of Bhajana
Satsaṅga in Kabīrpanth
Emphasis on Kīrtana
The Mantra of Rāma Nāma or Nāma-Sumirana
Kabīrpanthī Understanding of Means of Mokṣa
State of Mokṣa
Guru in Kabīrpanth
Pilgrimage to the Santas
Bhakti Understanding of Caste
Bhakti Understanding of Karma and Punarjanma
Teachings Against Traditional Acts of Merit
A Ridicule of the Hindu Trimūrti and Avatāras
Against Saguṇa Worship and Idol Worship
Injunction Against Non-Vegetarianism
Teachings on Yoga
Wearing of Kaṇṭhī and Tīlaka
Rites and Rituals of the Kabīrpanth Community
Religious Duties at the Kabīr Caurā Maṭha
Caukā Āratī
Initiation Ceremony
Bījaka Pāṭha in Kabīrpanth

6. A Subaltern Postcolonial Analysis of Bhakti of the Kabīrpanth Community
Theoretical Discussions in Relation to the Cultural Traditions of Low-caste Groups
Subaltern Postcolonial Response
Mimicry as an Assimilation and Resistance Stance
Dual Function of Mimicry on the Kabīrpanthīs
The Impact on the Kabīrpanthīs Due to Mimicry
Mimicry as a Sign of Affiliation and Antagonism
towards the Dominant Sanskritic Hindu Tradition Subaltern Postcolonial Consciousness as a Strategic Stance
Resistance and Oppositional Stance vis-à-vis the
Dominant Sanskritic Hindu Tradition’s Beliefs and Practices
Resistance and Oppositional Stance through
Kabīrpanthī Bhakti Beliefs and Practices Kabīrpanthī Symbols as Iconic Symbolic Means of Resistance
Rejection of Hierarchical Social Ideology of Varṇāśrama-dharma as a Radical Stance
Kabīrpanth Community as a Hybridized Community
Alternate Soteriological Resource
Development of Postcolonial Consciousness Among the Kabīrpanthīs through Their Sociocultural Forms
Two Indian Approaches towards Subaltern Liberation: Gandhi and Ambedkar
Relevance of Kabīrpanthī Subaltern Experience for Subaltern Christian Theology
A Subversive Reading Strategy
A Synthetic Subaltern Hermeneutics
Reading for a Liberative/Creative Reappropriation
Subaltern Hermeneutics for Community Emancipation
A Subaltern Hybridized Identity Formation
Subaltern Theology as a Theology of Constructing Critical Consciousness Among the Subalterns
A Subaltern Community Reading of the Biblical Texts in Terms of Subaltern Satsaṅga
A Subaltern Christology from the Bhakti Teachings of the Kabīrpanthīs
Jesus as Guru and God Incarnate
Bhaṇḍārā Fellowship of Jesus Christ

Word Index 
Name Index 

Meet the Author
Books of John V. Mathew

“Interpreting Bhakti Tradition”

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