Singing the Body of God The Hymns of Vedantadesika in Their South Indian Tradition


This is the first full-length study of the devotional poetry and poetics of the 14th-century poet-philosopher Vedantadesika, one of the most outstanding and influential figures in the hindu tradition of Sri-Vaishnavism (the cult of Lord Vishnu). Despite their intrinsic beauty and theological importance, the poetry and philosophy of Vedantadesika have received very little scholarly attention. However, for millions who belong to the Vaishnava tradition these poems are not just classical literature; they are committed to memory, recited, sung and enacted in ritual both in India and throughout the Hindu diaspora. Steven Hopkins here offers a comparative study of the Sanskrit, Pakrit and Tamil poems composed by Vedantadesika in praise of important Vaishnava shrines and their icons - poems that are considered to be the apogee of South Indian devotional literature.

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