Alternative Krishnas: Regional and Vernacular Variations on a Hindu Deity

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Guy L. Beck
SUNY Press, 2012 - Religion - 226 pages
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Krishna—widely venerated and adored in the Hindu tradition—is a deity of many aspects. An ancient manifestation of the Supreme God Vishnu, or the Godhead itself, Krishna is the bringer of Yoga philosophy and the creator of the universe, the destroyer of evil tyrants, and the hero of the epic Mahabharata. He is also described in classical Sanskrit texts as having human characteristics and enjoying very human pursuits: Krishna is the butter thief, cowherd, philanderer, and flute player. Yet even these playful depictions are based upon descriptions found in the Sanskrit canon, and mostly reflect familiar, classical Pan-Indian images.

In this book, contributors examine the alternative, or unconventional, Krishnas, offering examples from more localized Krishna traditions found in different regions among various ethnic groups, vernacular language traditions, and remote branches of Indian religions. These wide-ranging, alternative visions of Krishna include the Tantric Krishna of Bengal, Krishna in urban women's rituals, Krishna as monogamous husband and younger brother in Braj, Krishna in Jainism, Krishna in Marathi tradition, Krishna in South India, and the Krishna of nineteenth-century reformed Hinduism.
 

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
2 Contemporary Metaphor Theory and Alternative Views of Krishna and Radha in Vaishnava Sahajiya Tantric Traditions
19
3 Folk Vaishnavism and the Thakur Pa˝cayat Life and Status among Village Krishna Statues
33
Friendship Marriage and Womens Experience in a Hindu Womens Ritual Tradition
43
The Alternative Krishnology of the Radhavallabha Sampradaya
65
Alternate Views of Krishna and Balarama in Daui
91
7 A Family Affair Krishna Comes to Pandharpur and Makes Himself at Home
113
Krishna in the NonHindu Literature of Early Medieval South India
139
Vasudeva Krishna in Jaina Cosmohistory
151
10 Epiphany in Radhas Arbor Nature and the Reform of Bhakti in Hariaudhs Priyapravas
177
Contributors
209
Index
213
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About the author (2012)

Guy L. Beck, a religious historian, teaches Hinduism and Asian Religions in the Religious Studies Program at Tulane University. He is the author of Sonic Theology: Hinduism and Sacred Sound.

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