“Born in Rāmprasād's Line to Revive Bhakti”: Sādhaka Kamalākānta

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:
“Born in Rāmprasād's Line to Revive Bhakti”: Sādhaka Kamalākānta

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This is a study of the Bengali Hindu Śākta poet Kamalākānta Bhaṭṭācārya (ca. 1769–1821), a sādhaka (one who engages in spiritual austerities, often Tantric). He is regarded as the second‐ranking figure (in chronology as well as talent) of the Śākta Padāvalī (a collection of short sung verses or padas of the Śākta persuasion) genre, and most of his biographers depict him as following the example of Rāmprasād Sen both poetically and in lifestyle. The three stages in the progression of ideas and modes of presentation in the Bengali biographical literature on Kamalākānta are examined, with quotations from his poetry. An account is also given of efforts to commemorate his life through buildings and monuments in the Burdwan area, and of another site associated with him at Baj Baj (south of Calcutta). Three case studies are then presented that chart changes in the depiction of Kamalākānta over time, and finally some historical judgments made of him are revisited.

Keywords: Bengal; Kamalākānta Bhaṭṭācārya; Hinduism; history; India; poetry; poets; Śāktism

Chapter.  19356 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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