The Spirituality of the Subaltern

Hugh B. Urban

in Songs of Ecstasy

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780195139013
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199871674 | DOI:
 The Spirituality of the Subaltern

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This first chapter summarizes the main arguments of the author's companion volume, The Economics of Ecstasy:‐ Tantra, Secrecy, and Power in Colonial Bengal. In doing this it places the Songs of Ecstasy of the Kartābhajās, a Bengali sect devoted to Tantra in colonial Calcutta, in a historical and literary context. The different sections of the chapter look at the style and structure of the Bhāver Gīta (the main song text, which translates literally as Songs of Ecstasy), the mystical imagery and social ideals found within it, the ambivalent status of Tantra in colonial Bengal, and the decline into obscurity of the songs following a period of scandal, slander, corruption, and disrepute.

Keywords: Bengal; Bhāver Gīta; colonialism; culture; decline; imagery; India; Kartābhajās; mysticism; religion; sects; social ideals; songs; spirituality; subalterns; Tantrism

Chapter.  15573 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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