An Ornament for Jewels

Steven Paul Hopkins

in Singing the Body of God

Published in print May 2002 | ISBN: 9780195127355
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834327 | DOI:
An Ornament for Jewels

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After recalling themes of “emotional” bhakti in the Tamil poems for Devanåyaka at Tiruvahândrapuram, Chapter Seven is a close reading of selected passages from Vedåntadeóika's Sanskrit and Måhåråóìrâ Pråkrit poems to Devanåyaka, the Devanåyakapañcåóat and the Acyutaóatakam, respectively. We see in these Sanskrit and Pråkrit poems for Devanåyaka what we saw in his Tamil poems for the same god: how creatively Deóika transforms the resources of a secular poetics of love — in this case, the many valences of óãígåra rasa, or the aesthetic experience of the erotic — into hymns praising the beautiful body of god. This chapter's close reading also provides a recapitulation of the main themes of the book, including the theology of place and the “real presence” of Vishnu in the shrine and icon, the anubhava as “verbal icon” of the body of the god, the erotics of bathing, surrender (prapatti) and “worthlessness” (akiñcanatvam), salvific beauty, and the linking of the “emotional” and “intellectual” in Vedåntadeóika's bhakti poetics.

Keywords: Acyutaóatakam; aesthetic; Devanåyakapañcåóat; erotic; Måhåråóìrâ Pråkrit; óãígåra rasa; prapatti; surrender

Chapter.  10700 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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