Along with his commentary on the Brahma Sutras his commentary on the Bhagavata Purana (subodhini) and other Vallabhacharya (c. 1479-1531) wrote by way of practical help on the path of devotional for his disciples and followers sixteen Verse-treatises (Sodasagranthah). This volume presents both translation and interpretation based upon traditional and contemporary commentaries of these verse treatises. It is the first such presentation in a western Language.
These short treatises may be characterized as the practical theology of Vallabhacahrya's path of Grace (pustimarga). For the wrote most of them in response to the question of specific disciples about central topics of the path of loving devotion to lord Krishna such as worship (seva) of the Lord the path of grace and the other paths initiation to this path of worship and grace worries about worship refuge in and surrender to Lord Krishna commands given by the Lord or one's guru how love of the Lord grows stronger whether renunciation (samnyasa) might help or hinder that love the constraint (nirodha) by which reward of such worship among other topics.
The grace (pusti, anugraha, prasada) by which Lord Krishna chooses a person for such a path is arguably the central theme of these verse treatises. Hence the book's title.
Dr. James D. Redington S.J, is the author of Vallabhacarya on the games of Krsna (Delhi Motilal Banarsidas, 1983) and several articles on Vallabhacharya. Formerly associate Professor in the Theology Department at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C, USA he has spent the past six years as Senior Lecturer in philosophy and theology at Arrupe College in Harare Zimbabwe and is about to become a fellow of the Woodstock theological Research centre at Georgetown University where he will pursue his interest in Interreligious Dialogue as well as Hindu and Christian theology.
The Sodasagranthah one of the most frequently cited and important works of Vallabhacharya (c. 1479-1531) is classified his followers in the Hindu tradition the Vallabha or Pusmtiomargiya, Sampradya as a prukarangrantha i.e a treatise. It is actually a series of small works of vallabha grouped together late in his lifetime or shortly after his death. And it has to do with several central topics of the path of grace itself worship devotion the initiation ceremony to the path of grace commands from Lord Krishna prayer refuge in or surrender to Krishna telling of the Lord's wonders renunciation and the reward of grace worship consequently I have called Vallabha's work the sixteen Verse treatise and would like to describe them by their content as practical theology they are the chief such works of Vallabha and they are referred to constantly by both teachers and practitioners on the path of Grace. They have not to my knowledge been presented before in such a complete form in any western language.
Ideally this translation and commentary interpretation would have included as an introduction an essay "placing" Vallabhacharya within the history of devotional Hinduism. I would like to have been able to do so but regret that I cannot for two reasons first finishing this work in its present form has taken its lazy author more than twenty years. Including a further essay would have put too large a question mark over its ultimate appearance secondly with respect to the evidence on Vallabha his movement and his period Indian and Western scholarship need to decide what hermeneutic or methodology to use with the huge volume of evidence we do have on so called late medieval Hindu bhakti. For it seems that the body of evidence will not lie down on the sometimes Procrustean bed of Western historical critical method. To use a homelier metaphor perhaps we better play with the cards we've been dealt which are many but different from those expected. The historical evidence on Vallabha and his movement as on many other devotional movements of the same era is ambiguous although the religious and literary evidence are vast so at least have my twenty eight years of Vallabha studies led me to conclude. But enough self excusing I hope that what I have men aged to produce here makes a worthwhile contribution.
As fro bibliography there is very little to refer to on the sixteenth Verse Treatise. On Vallabha generally I would refer the reader to the Bibliography in my Vallabhacharya on the love Games of Krsna. I would add only the names of peter Bennett Shyamdas, Frederick M. Smith and Jeffrey timm most of whose works I have referred to in Footnotes in the present book also to be recommended especially for its two articles by smith and myself on three of these Verse Treatise is the entire number of journal of Vaisnava Studies which is dedicated "the Vallabha Sampradaya".
Finally I have the pleasure of acknowledging the help received or Vallabhas Sixteen Verse Treatises I first read them fully and thoroughly with the late professor T.G Mainkar then head of Mumbai University's Sanskrit Department and alter Director of the Bhandarkar Oriental research Institute in pune in 1974 and 1975. As the footnotes of the present work attest many of his helpful suggestion and interpretations still apply twenty five years later. Secondly and definitively as the dedication page of this book should make clear. I owe a profound debt of gratitude as well as friendship to Goswamy Shyam Manohar surely the master scholar of the Vallabha Sampradaya today. The degree to which his erudition insight and bhava have contributed to this work especially during the sessions in 1993 when we studied these treatises thoroughly together will be so obvious throughout the pages of the book that I need not further describe it here indeed he would but the books co-author except that the mistake are mine. My thanks and enduring love to him.
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