The Embodiment of Bhakti

The Embodiment of Bhakti

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Karen Prentiss offers an interpretive history of bhakti, an influential religious perspective in Hinduism. She argues that although bhakti is mentioned in every contemporary sourcebook on Indian religions, it still lacks an agreed-upon definition. "Devotion" is found to be the most commonly used synonym. Prentiss seeks a new perspective on this elusive concept. Her analysis of Tamil (south Indian) materials leads her to suggest that bhakti be understood as a doctrine of embodiment. Bhakti, she says, urges people towards active engagement in the worship of God. She proposes that the term "devotion" be replaced by "participation," emphasizing bhakti's call for engagement in worship and the necessity of embodiment to fulfill that obligation. The book ends with two appendices presenting translations of hymns and an important philosophical text.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 278 pages
  • 167.6 x 228.6 x 22.9mm | 616.9g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0195128133
  • 9780195128130
  • 2,095,079

Review quote

Embodiment of Bhakti enthusiastically recommended to specialists in south Indian religion, scholars of comparative religion and history, and both Hindu and Christian theologians...Skillfully weaving and intelligently understanding available sources, it enables us to see how participation in Siva was a human project which nevertheless preserved and powerfully expressed this community's encounter with God and adherence to transcendent truths. If Saivism was
(and is) an intellectually sophisticated faith, this fine volume enables us to understand more clearly the how and why of that achievemen? * International Journal of Hindu Studies *
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