During this spouse quantity to ]i]Singing the physique of God[/i] (Oxford 2002), Steven P. Hopkins has translated into modern American English verse poems written via the South Indian Srivaisnava thinker and saint-poet Venkatesa (c. 1268-1369).
These poems, in 3 assorted languages - Sanskrit, Tamil, and Maharastri Prakrit -- composed for one specific Hindu god, Vishnu Devanayaka, the "Lord of Gods" at Tiruvahindrapuram, shape a microcosm of the saint-poet's paintings.
They surround significant issues of Venkatesa's devotional poetics, from the play of divine absence and presence on this planet of non secular feelings; the "telescoping" of time earlier and destiny within the everlasting "present" of the poem; love, human vulnerability and the impassible perfected physique of god; to the devotional adventure of a "beauty that saves" and to what Hopkins phrases the paradoxical coexistence of asymmetry and intimacy of lover and cherished on the middle of the divine-human come upon.
Moreover, those poems shape not just a thematic microcosm, yet a linguistic one embracing all 3 of the poet's operating languages. just like the remembered international of Proust's Combray within the style of madeleine dipped in tea, or Blake's global in a Grain of Sand, we style and spot, during this one specific position, and during this one specific type of Vishnu, quite a few protean types and powers of the divine, and hint a veritable summa of theological, philosophical, and literary designs.
Each translated poem varieties a bankruptcy in itself, has its personal person brief Afterword, in addition to targeted linguistic and thematic notes and observation. the quantity concludes, for comparative purposes, with a translation of Tirumankaiyalvar's luminous cycle of verses for Devanayaka from the Periyatirumoli.
As a lot an issue as an anthology, this e-book could be of curiosity to scholars and students of South Asian experiences, comparative faith, and Indian literatures.
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Additional resources for An Ornament for Jewels: Love Poems for the Lord of Gods
10 After praising him with ﬁfty verses in the ancient tongue,19 singing a hundred songs in charming Prakrit,20 and stringing a three-jeweled necklace of songs, my Mummanikko¯vai, in the graceful Tamil tongue,21 ˙ I sung these songs: a pantu a kalal an amma¯nai a ucal an ecal22 and the praiseworthy Navamanimalai ˙ at the two feet of the Lord of ever-prosperous serpent town. ’’23 Afterword This Tamil poem shares many themes with the Mumanikko¯vai. There are motifs ¯ lvar˙ saint-poets—here, most that allude to classical Tamil and the Tamil of the A markedly, in a reference in verse 4 to bathing with the icon in the month of Maci, near ‘‘cool casuarina groves in the sand’’ (manal to¯ppil).
19 An even introduction 13 more infamous story, for which there is no solid material evidence, is told in Saiva literary sources such as the twelfth-century Periyapura¯nam of Ce¯kkilar _ and in a series of vivid frescoes on the mandapam walls of the Mı¯naks¯ı temple __ _ _ tank. It is the story of the newly converted Pandiya king of Madurai. __ First a Jain, Sundarapantiya is said to have been converted to Saivism by __ the Nayanar child saint-poet Campantar. 20 Later, in the eighth century, the Vaisnava _ _ __ king Nandivarman II Pallavamalla carried out systematic persecutions of Buddhists and Jains, inspired in great measure by the fervor of the bhakti revival.
In a synthesis that reﬂects his time, Vexkatesa moves the ‘‘Tamil tradition’’ _ of passionate devotion forward from its local and regional focus to a broader, translocal context through his Sanskrit and Prakrit compositions; but at the same time he composes his own original Tamil poems that expand and afﬁrm Tamil literary tradition, and its own regional ambitions as a divine tongue of saint-poets, without being diluted or muted by Sanskrit. introduction 15 Poems for the Lord of Gods: Devanayaka’s Shrine as Microcosm My earlier study, Singing the Body of God, focused its textual analyses on Vexkatesa’s praise-poems to three iconic forms of Vishnu, murtis or arca¯vata¯ras: the _ ˜ cı¯shrine and icons of Varadarajaperumal in the northern temple town of Kan _ puram; those of Lord Devanayaka at the small village of Tiruvahı¯ndrapuram near the southeastern coastal town of Cuddalore (Katalur); and ﬁnally, the shrine _ and icons of Lord Raxganatha at Srı¯raxgam, a temple complex that became, by the tenth century, the most important southern center of power in Vexkatesa’s _ community.