From Hagiographies to Biographies

Hardcover | July 10, 2014

byRanjeeta Dutta

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Ramanuja, a well known religious figure of the medieval bhakti tradition, is remembered as a philosopher, social reformer and the most important acarya of the Srivaisnava community of South India. This book analyses the delineation of Ramanuja in the Srivaisnava hagiographies between twelfthand fourteenth centuries. These early hagiographical illustrations composed within the context of evolving community identity registered a process of canonization and constructed specific historical memories that were disseminated to the subsequent generations and were further encrusted upon withfresh narratives. The modern biographies crucial for popularizing Ramanuja outside the Srivaisnava community ignored the variations of the hagiographical delineations and presented a seamless account of Ramanuja's life, often overlooking the fact that the image of an individual is usually a result of accretions ofmotifs in history. Emphasizing the dialogic interaction between the hagiographies and biographies, this study argues that the hagiographies and biographies cannot always be understood within the binaries of the sacred and the secular. Based upon a range of historical sources comprising the hagiographies, praise-poems (stotras) dedicated to Ramanuja, inscriptions and modern works, this study will also analyse various moments of interactions in history when the structuring of the notion of a remembered past and the historicalmemories through which the past would become a received tradition was being attempted at.

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Ramanuja, a well known religious figure of the medieval bhakti tradition, is remembered as a philosopher, social reformer and the most important acarya of the Srivaisnava community of South India. This book analyses the delineation of Ramanuja in the Srivaisnava hagiographies between twelfthand fourteenth centuries. These early hagiogr...

Ranjeeta Dutta is Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Culture at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:248 pages, 8.7 × 5.59 × 0.98 inPublished:July 10, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198092296

ISBN - 13:9780198092292

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Table of Contents

1. Encountering Ramanuja: Some Preliminaries2. Texts, Tradition and the Srivaisnava Community3. Texts, Contexts and the Srivaisnava Community4. Ramanuja as an Acarya5. Devotion and Dissent: Ramanuja as a "Social Reformer"6. From Hagiographies to Biographies: Some Concluding RemarksBibliographyIndexAbout the Author