This book is about devotion to holy names-names such as Rama, Krishna or Devi-in India, especially in the Kaveri delta from 1650-1850 A.D. During that time leaders such as Venkatesa Ayyaval, Dodhendra, Sadasiva Brahmendra, Narayana Tirtha and Sadgurusvami sang, repeated and taught about the holy names as a Hindu way of religious life leading ultimately to the moksa. These Namasiddhanta leaders practised revolving the name in their minds and singing holy names aloud as ways to keep to hold on the ultimate amid an ever-changing world of disturbance and confusion. They saw the name as a simple direct way to taste bhakti, to plunge the individual into contact with the holy through evocative utterance.
V. Raghavan conducted in-depth research into the lives, documents, Sanskrit texts, history and cultural vitality of this fertile region, focusing on the Namasiddhanta saints and their background as one of his favorite areas of exploration. The author has brought together some of V. Raghavan's studies on Namasiddhanta and arranging them and discussing them in larger historical and comparative contexts and also updating them to take them to the present day scholars of world religions.
About the Author
William J. Jackson is presently at the Department of Religious Studies, Indiana University, USA.
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