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Vrndavana in Vaisnava Literature

History – Mythology – Symbolism by: Maura Corcoran

The book explores the essential nature of Vrndavana, analysing various Vaisnava texts — mythological, meta-physical, devotional and commentatorial. It identifies a notional sequence of ideas connected with Vrndavana — the description of a mythic place, a symbolic place, etc.

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ISBN: 9788124600245
Year Of Publication: 1995
Edition: 1st
Pages : xi, 178
Bibliographic Details : ppendices; Glossary; Bibliography; Index
Language : English
Binding : Hardcover
Publisher: D.K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Size: 25 cm.
Weight: 550

Overview

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.

Contents

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 and the Concept of Avatara in Braj Bhasha Literature
3. Vrindavana and its Role in Lila
The Nature of Lila
The Role of Vrindavana in Lila — An Aspect of the Divine
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

Meet the Author
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Dr. Maura Corcoran’s acquaintance with Hindi began as a child in India. She subsequently studied Hindi at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. For the pursuit of her post-graduate research work she stayed at Vrindaban for some time and was associated with the Vrindaban Research Institute. This granted her an opportunity to be familiar with the region of Braj and analyse the Vaishnava theology, traditions and literary texts. She received a Ph.D. in 1980 from the University of London and since then she has been teaching Hindi in London. Dr. Corcoran was the Chief Examiner for GCSE Hindi for a number of years. At present, she is In-charge of Religious Education in a secondary school.
Books of Maura Corcoran