Overview for Krishna's Mandala: Bhagavata Religion and Beyond
This posthumous volume brings together seminal essays by one of the foremost American scholars on the religions of India. Exploring the ancient Indian milieu with an innate sense of mandala, ‘the surround', D. Dennis Hudson's writings constantly engaged with the core of Bhagavata dharma-Krishna as preceptor and lover in the real world. Hudson was driven by a desire to understand how this ancient vision of Vishnu's forceful, subtle activity managed to stay alive in south India as rulers, poets, and ordinary people changed.
This collection is divided into three parts. The first part, ‘Tales of Two Cities', deals with the physical, conceptual, ritual, and moral layouts of two ancient Tamil capitals-Madurai and Kanchipuram. The second, ‘Reading Bhagavata Texts-Temples and Tomes', proposes radical interpretations of two familiar texts, the Bhagavad-Gita and the Bhagavata Purana, and shows how they connect to temple architecture. The final section, ‘Andal and the Sri Vaishnava World', explores the connections between Bhagavata religion and gender, underlining the example of Andal, the only woman Alvar saint.
In the introduction, John Stratton Hawley highlights the crosscurrents in Dennis Hudson's writings and situates this collection in the larger context of Hudson's academic and personal world. The foreword by Romila Thapar depicts a vigorous, passionate scholar ‘not driven by scholarship alone'.