An Ornament for Jewels: Love Poems for the Lord of Gods by Vedantadesika

By Vedantadesika

During this spouse quantity to ]i]Singing the physique of God[/i] (Oxford 2002), Steven P. Hopkins has translated into modern American English verse poems written by way of the South Indian Srivaisnava thinker and saint-poet Venkatesa (c. 1268-1369).

These poems, in 3 various languages - Sanskrit, Tamil, and Maharastri Prakrit -- composed for one specific Hindu god, Vishnu Devanayaka, the "Lord of Gods" at Tiruvahindrapuram, shape a microcosm of the saint-poet's paintings.

They surround significant issues of Venkatesa's devotional poetics, from the play of divine absence and presence on this planet of non secular feelings; the "telescoping" of time prior and destiny within the everlasting "present" of the poem; love, human vulnerability and the impassible perfected physique of god; to the devotional adventure of a "beauty that saves" and to what Hopkins phrases the paradoxical coexistence of asymmetry and intimacy of lover and liked on the middle of the divine-human come upon.

Moreover, those poems shape not just a thematic microcosm, yet a linguistic one embracing all 3 of the poet's operating languages. just like the remembered international of Proust's Combray within the flavor of madeleine dipped in tea, or Blake's global in a Grain of Sand, we flavor and spot, during this one specific position, and during this one specific kind of Vishnu, a number of protean types and powers of the divine, and hint a veritable summa of theological, philosophical, and literary designs.

Each translated poem kinds a bankruptcy in itself, has its personal person brief Afterword, in addition to unique linguistic and thematic notes and remark. the quantity concludes, for comparative purposes, with a translation of Tirumankaiyalvar's luminous cycle of verses for Devanayaka from the Periyatirumoli.

As a lot a controversy as an anthology, this booklet can be of curiosity to scholars and students of South Asian reviews, comparative faith, and Indian literatures.

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Extra info for An Ornament for Jewels: Love Poems for the Lord of Gods

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These hymns of Vexkatesa to the beautiful icon-bodies of Devanayaka at _ Tiruvahı¯ndrapuram both reflect his rootedness in the icon-based poems of the ¯ lvar and A ¯ carya traditions and express some of the most emotional aspects A  of Vexkatesa’s own devotional poetics. In such poems that ‘‘sing the body of _ God’’ we can most vividly see his distinctive contributions to the south Indian Vaisnava tradition he inherited. Both similarities and differences with regard ¯_l_var and A ¯ carya bhakti are most clearly inscribed in these particular kinds to A  of hymns.

You who taught the husband of the Lady of the Tongue the Vedas’ first syllable a, who honored Garuda, the son of Vinata, ˙ _ with new life, when he surrendered to you. You who give to Ananta, your snake, the joy to worship your feet, letting him coil himself into a couch for those holy feet. O Devanayaka, Lord of truth to your servants, you have come to Tiruvahı¯ndrapuram, this place born from the womb of Bhudevı¯, goddess of earth! 4 4 Devanayaka of matchless radiance, married to the great Lotus Lady of fragrant hair— he comes in delight to cool groves in the sand,5 after bathing in the sea in the month of Maci— this great virile God of Love riding his Bird!

I became the slave of the Lord of celestials, Lord, body of Truth to his servants—10 You protected the Elephant, Discus in your hand! You live in the great town of the king of serpents! O god, have mercy on me! ’’ Come to me, on the day of my death, so the servants of Yama, God of the Dead, do not drag me away! 8 O Lord of inexhaustible beauty who dwells in Ayintai town, rich in groves that catch 42 an ornament for jewels the passing clouds in their tops,11 flawless Vasudeva12 who protected the cows of Vraj when you lifted the mountain.

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