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Rosenstein, Ludmila L. (1996) The devotional poetry of Svami Haridas: A study of early Braj Bhasa verse. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The 16th-century North Indian bhakta, poet and musician, Svami Haridas, composed lyrics in Braj Bhasa, devoted to the divine couple Radha and Krsna. 128 of them were later compiled in two anthologies: the didactic Astadas siddhanta and the rapturous Kelimal, and became the theological basis of the Haridasa sampradaya, a sect, which still flourishes in Vrindaban, U.P. Neither of these important works has hitherto been edited, properly translated or studied academically. For this reason the focus of this dissertation is the text of Haridas's poetry: its transmission, edition and interpretation. The chapter on textual criticism assesses sixteen 18th-19th century manuscripts which were collected during a field-trip in Vrindaban, and discusses the editorial procedure. The manuscript material is analysed with the help of computer programmes originally employed in taxonomy. The apparatus criticus is followed by an annotated English translation in which readings are assessed, points of linguistic interest discussed and commentarial glosses analysed. The language of Haridas's text is examined in detail in chapter III. Chapters I, VI and VII put Haridas's lyrics into a larger context. The introductory chapter discusses the theological views of the Haridasi sampradaya against the background of bhakti, analyses the sources of information about Haridas, and attempts to reconstruct his life. Chapter VI examines some musical characteristics of Haridas's lyrics: the raga distribution of his padas, the structure of the chapa and the association of Svami Haridas with the musical style of dhrupada. Chapter VII describes the main commentaries and analyses the sectarian concerns they reflect and metaphorical mechanisms they use. The general conclusions are followed by a comprehensive etymological glossary, a discussion and listing of extra verses attributed to Haridas, extracts from the main commentaries, and a list of chapa in Haridas's works.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:16

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