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The Final Word: The Caitanya Caritamrita and the Grammar of Religious Tradition

Tony K. Stewart

Abstract

In the early 16th c., Bengali brahmin Kṛṣṇa Caitanya (1476–1533) inspired a community of Kṛṣṇa worshipers in Bengal, Orissa, and Vraja. This study examines the ways those devotees came to be unified through the intervention of a Sanskrit and Bengali hagiography, the Caitanya caritāmṛta of Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja. Devotees thought Caitanya to be god, Kṛṣṇa, and eventually saw in him an unusual form of divine androgyny, Kṛṣṇa fused with his consort Rādhā. His many Sanskrit and Bengali hagiographies depict scattered independent groups, each proposing a different theology and practice. Kṛṣṇadāsa’s hagi ... More

Keywords: Bengali, Caitanya, canon, Caritāmṛta, final word, grammar of tradition, hagiography, Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇadāsa, rhetoric

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2010 Print ISBN-13: 9780195392722
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195392722.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Tony K. Stewart, author
North Carolina State University