Chapter

Building Fences With Kālī: Rāmprasād Sen and the Popularization of the Tantric Goddess

Rachel Fell McDermott

in Mother of My Heart, Daughter of My Dreams

Published in print July 2001 | ISBN: 9780195134353
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834457 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195134354.003.0003
Building Fences With Kālī: Rāmprasād Sen and the Popularization of the Tantric Goddess

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This is a study of the Hindu Śākta poet Rāmprasād Sen (ca. 1718–1775), who has long been recognized as the premier Bengali Śākta poet, although very little is actually known about him. The approach adopted is to combine what historical material there is with looking at his poetry and various biographical legends. The largest section of the chapter looks at the available manuscripts on Rāmprasād, and includes quotations from his poetry and various historical illustrations; this is followed by a brief look at Rāmprasād's temple in Halishar. The next part of the chapter tries to create a composite portrait of Rāmprasād by examining the nature of his relationship with the Nadia rajas, the degree to which he should be treated as a Tāntrika, and his place within the Śākta tradition; these topics provide clear examples of the way in which Rāmprasād has been used and interpreted by his descendants and admirers. The last part of the chapter draws inferences on the “real” Rāmprasād.

Keywords: Bengal; Hinduism; history; India; poetry; poets; Śāktism; Rāmprasād Sen; Tantrism

Chapter.  20310 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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