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The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India

Karine Schomer (Author) W.H. McLeod (Editor)
Synopsis The devotional transformation of medieval Hinduism known as bhakti was an extremely diverse phenomenon. This book brings together current research and offers new perspectives on the radical wing of the movement. Its central focus is the Sant tradition of North India, whose major figure is Kabir and out of which the Sikh religion evolved. It also considers the Sants of Maha-rashtra and a few of the other major nonconformist traditions. A variety of problems are explored. In the first section, the Sants are placed within the broader context of Indian religious history. The second section deals with Hindi and Marathi Sant literature, analyzing its poetics, thematic content and textual history. The third section examines some of the organized communities that have evolved out of the teachings and folio wings of the Sants, particularly the Sikhs, the Kabir-panth and the modern Radhasoami movement. The fourth section contains comparative essays on the Indian Sufis, the Bengali Bauls and the Siddhas of Tamilnadu. An introductory essay, a glossary of Indic terms and an annotated bibliography help make the volume accessible to non-specialist readers. Most of the papers were originally prepared for a conference held under the auspices of the Graduate Theological Union and the Center for South and Southeast Asia Studies of the University of California at Berkeley. The contributors are: Winand M. Callewaert, Edward C. Dimock, Daniel Gold, John Stratton Hawley, Linda Hess, Mark Juergensmeyer, K. Kailasapathy, Bruce LaBrack, Bruce Lawrence, David Loren-zen, Vijay C. Mishra, Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty, W. H. McLeod, Andrew Rawlinson, Karine Schomer, Frits Staal, Charlotte Vaudeville and Eleanor Zelliott. An appendix on the illustration used in the frontispiece was contributed by Elinor C. Gadon.
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About the authors

Karine Schomer

Karine Schomer has interests in the medieval, modern and folk literature of the Hindi area and Rajasthan. She taught Hindi and South Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley for a decade and is currently a Research Associate of the Center for South and Southeast Asia Studies. Her publications include Mahadevi Varma and the Chhayavad Age of Modern Hindi Poetry (University of California Press, 1983), and contributions to The Oral Epics of India (forthcoming) and volumes 1 and 2 of the Berkeley Religious Studies Series.

W.H. McLeod

William Hewat Mcleod, Professor of History at the University of Otago, New Zealand, has interests in Sikh history, textual studies and Sikhs overseas. His major works in Sikh studies are Guru Nanak and the Sikh Religion (Clarendon Press, 1968), The Evolution of the Sikh Community (Clarendon Press, 1976) and Early Sikh Tradition: A Study of the Janam-sakhis (Clarendon Press, 1980). He has also published a volume of translations entitled Textual Sources for the Study of Sikhism (Manchester University Press, 1984).

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Bibliographic information

Title The Sants: Studies in a Devotional Tradition of India
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.1987
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8120802772
length viii+472p., Appendix; Glossary; Bibliography; Index.