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The Hindi Padavali of Namdev

Winand M. Callewaert (Author) Mukund Lath (Author)

Namdev, Who lived in the 14th century , was one of the gratest saint-poets of Maharashtra. Besides Numerous songs in Marathi, tradition ascriber to him songs in Hindi too. Namdev’s Hindi songs Breathe a spirit quite distinct from his Marathi compositions and are considered the oldest expression Of the Hindi nirgun strain of bhakti poerty. Accroding to the 16th century ‘biographer’Anantdas, namdev was the First among the nirgun greats and stood at the threshold of the remarkable religious and poetic movement which Later produced men like kabir , Raidas, Nanak and Dadu.’ Almost all of greatest Hindi Nirgun poetry is riddle with problem of authenticity. The historical And Scholarly quest of identifying songs which Namdev. Kabir or Raidas actually from out of the Bewildering manythat survive in their name both in oral and written transmission, has exercised many modern Minds. But no satisfactory answer are yet at hand. Greater reliance, naturally, has been placed on written mansuscripts, the earliest written collection Being the Guru granth. But as far as Namdev (also Kabir and Raidas) are concerned, the Guru Granth is Clearly a selection and thus an incomplete guide. Another store of old written materials comes mainly from rajasthan. However, modern scholarship has yet To make full use of the earliest of this written store –house. What have been examined so far are usually later Manuscripts with the usual text-critical presumption that they can lead us back to the unique and authentic Version of a poet’s work. This presumption, our study show, is a myth. We have been able to expose this myth with the help of The rich microfilm collection of nirgun manuscripts in Leuven, Belgium (along with a suitable computer). This collection contains the earliest manuscript records of nirgun songs and has been text-critically explaining The original Namdev. Insecapably, we are led to the conclusion that the original must remain tantailsingly elusive. One reaches For a written record in order to escape the uncertainties of the Oral. But in the earliest nirgun manuscripts, What we are faced with is oral tradition itself which we had hoped to escape through the written . The earlier nirgun manuscripts are records of oral repertoires as they stood in the 16th century . These were reertoise transmitted by organized bands of musicians whose record were essentially Oral as they still are. The repertoires are interconnected and our study is an attempt at examining The interrelations between these repertoires with a view to arriving at an oral stemma and drawing Significant text-critical clues from the fact that the transmission was in a musical tradition, which is Different in important ways from the poetic in our study , history of poetry accosts the history of music. Long neglected in such studies. We have also made an English translation of a select number of Namdev’s song . those that we consider As belonging to the oldest strata. But we have not really taken sides in this matter and our collection contains All of Namdev’s available hindi songs which we have noted with pathabhedas. An authentic biography of Namdev present as many problems as his songs. We have tabulated a detailed Picture of how his ‘biography’ has grown with time acquiring more and more hagiographic details till in the Modern period, with a growth of the taste for the historical, it also began to acquire a historical visage.

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About the authors

Winand M. Callewaert

Winand M. Callewaert is professor of Sanskrit and Hinduism at the KUlEUVEN, Belgium. He has been studying and working in India since 1965, holding degrees in Hindi, Sanskrit and Philosophy from Ranchi, Pune and Varanasi, and a Ph.D. and D. Lit. from Leuven. Besides numerous research articles he has published 17 books in English or Hindi and 14 in Dutch.

Mukund Lath

Dr. Mukund Lath (born in 1937). He is a historian teaching in the Department of History and Indian Culture in the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur. He has had an interest in music since his childhood and is a disciple of Pandit Jasraj. He is equally interested in the theory and history of Indian music and his A Study of Dattilam (1978) has been widely acclaimed among musicologists and scholars all over the world. His other works include an English translation of the Kalpasutra, the traditional biography of Tirthankara Mahavira and a study and translation of the Ardha-Kathanaka, published under the title Half A Tale. This is an autobiography in Hindi written by a Jain merchant and religious rebel in mid-17th century.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Hindi Padavali of Namdev
Format Hardcover
Date published: 31.12.1989
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 9788120806078
length 430p., 9.00 X 6.00cm.