The Eighty-Four Hymns of Hita Harivamsa – An Edition of the Caurasi Pada by Rupert Snell

The Eighty-Four Hymns of Hita Harivamsa – An Edition of the Caurasi Pada

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  • Book Name The Eighty-Four Hymns of Hita Harivamsa – An Edition of the Caurasi Pada
  • Author Rupert Snell
  • Language, Pages Engish, 375 Pgs. (HB)
  • Upload Date 2024 / 02 / 01
  • ISBN 9788120806290, 8120806298

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The Eighty-Four Hymns of Hita Harivamsa – An Edition of the Caurasi Pada
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From the Jacket:

The Caurasi Pada (Eighty-four Hymns) is a sixteenth-century anthology of devotional Braj Bhasa verses ascribed to Hita Harivamsa, a devotee of Radha. With the delicacy of their language and the intensity of their sentiments, these poems recreate the bucolic world of Jayadeva; and their devotional content gives them an unrivalled place in the history of Vaisnava devotional literature. The text, which comprises the theological basis of the Radhavallabha sampradaya, appears here for the first time in a critical edition and is accompanied by a fully annotated rendering in English. The study which follows the text examines its language and prosody, with particular reference to the musical talas in which it is sung in the contemporary tradition of the Radhavallabhi hymnal; and a further section traces the processes by which the text has been transmitted by sectarian tradition over the centuries.

Rupert Snell is a senior lecturer in Hindi at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His published work includes studies of modern Hindi grammar and prose style; but he has a special interest in Braj Bhasa poetry, and has Written on various aspects of the devotional traditions which use this language as the main vehicle of their expression. The Radhavallabha Sampradaya, the subject of the present book, has been a particular focus of interest. Dr Snell is currently working on a Braj Bhasa Reader, designed as an introduction to the language and conventions of pre-modern religious and secular poetry.



Of the numerous Braj bhasa devotional texts written or compiled during the l6th and l7th centuries, the Caurasi pada (CP) has a particular importance between of its attribution to Hita Harivamsa, regarded as the ‘founder’ of one of the Krsnaite sampradayas established at that time. The Radhavallabha sampradaya does not boast the specifically theological treatises which are found in related traditions, and sectarian theology is largely deduced from works attributed to Hita Harivamsa, especially the lyrics of the CP. Consequently, a tradition of tika- writing has accompanied the transmission of the CP, and manuscripts with and without tika abound in the private and institutional collections of Vrindaban and its environs. Although comparatively little known outside the sampradaya, the Caurasi pada continues to be an important living work within the Radhavallabhi community, and its currency in temple worship as well as in individual devotions lends an especial interest to its study.

The language of the CP contains a high proportion of tatsamas and semi-tatsamas, and even the tadbhava forms present few difficulties of etymology or meaning: consequently an index verborum has not been included here. Problematic forms are discussed in the annotations to the translation in chapter V, with cross-references to other occurrences where appropriate; such forms are itemized in the index.

My first debt of gratitude is to members of the Radhavallabha sampradaya in Vrindaban, not least because access to privately-owned manuscript collections had made the present work possible: In particular I owe much to Sri Lalita Caran Goswami, to whom this book is dedicated; to Sri Hitananda Gosvami, to Baba Hit Das, and to the samajis of the Choti Sarkar temple. The vivisection of a much-loved work is poor requital for the cordial welcome which I received in Radhavallabhi temples and homes: but if a laying bare of text and tradition appears ruthless, it intends no disrespect, and some reassurance may be offered in a phrase from Caurasi pada 82, binu bhusana bhusita braja gori, ‘without adornment is the fair lady of Vraja adorned’.

The staff of the Vrindaban Research Institute have given generously of their assistance, both in the procuring of texts and in the providing of" personal contacts within the labyrinthine religious communities of present-day Braj.

The greater part of this study was written under the guidance of Professor J.C. Wright, whose awesome knowledge of Indo-Aryan language and literature has been both an inspiration and an invaluable support throughout. I am also indebted to Dr. J.D. Smith and Dr. D.R. Widdess, who have made helpful comments on the contents of Chapter VI; and to Dr R.D. Gupta, Dr R.S. McGregor, Professor C. Shackle and Mr S.C.R. Weightman, who have commented on specific points and advised on the general organization of material. I also thank the Publications Committee of the School of Oriental and African Studies for meeting part of the cost of publication. Textual editing easily becomes an all-engaging obsession equal to that shown to a parakiya; to my svakiya, Mary, I owe the traditional vote of thanks for keeping her displays of mama to a minimum. I am very grateful to Acharya Sripad Baba, of the Vraja Academy, for permitting the reproduction of the painting on the dust-jacket; and also to Dr. Grahame Niemann for kindly providing the photograph.




Preface xiii
Note on References and Abbreviations xv
Chapter 1 Hita Harivamsa and The Radhavallabhi Tradition 1-46
1. The Sectarian Background 1
2. Materials relating to the life of Hita Harivamsa 5
3. Areas of Dispute in the Hagiography of Hita Harivamsa 30
4. Further texts attributed to Hita Harivamsa 37
Chapter 2 Manuscripts of the Caurasi Pada 47-77
1. Manuscripts of the CP collated for the present edition 47
2. Facsimiles of CP Manuscripts 65
3. Other Manuscripts of the CP 70
4. The phalasruti 74
5. The tikas 74
Chapter III Manuscript Affiliations And the Language of the Text 79-113
1. Affiliation of manuscripts and editorial procedure 79
2. Script, phonology and orthography 92
3. Morphology and syntax 96
Chapter IV The Caurasi Pada: Edited Text and Apparatus Criticus 115-181
Chapter V The Caurasi Pada: Annotated Translation 183-304
Chapter VI Metre In the Caurasi Pada 263-304
1. Introduction 263
2. Varna vrtta 263
3. Matra chanda 268
4. Note on the Derivation and Transmission of Metrical Types in the CP 279
5. The Disposition of Metres in the CP 280
6. The Metres of the CP in Musical Performance 284
Chapter VII The Composition and Content of the Caurasi Pada 305-337
1. The Title of the Text 305
2. Authorship of the 84 stanzas 307
3. The Structure of the text 312
4. Sectarian Interpretation of the Themes of the Text 332
Appendix I Examples of the Commentaries 339
Appendix II Stanzas in the Surasagara Corresponding to Stanzas in the CP 343
Appendix III Additional Stanzas Bearing the Name of Hita Harivamsa 347
Bibliography 349-358
1. Editions and Translations of Primary Texts 349
2. Secondary Sources 352
3. Manuscripts 357
4. Catalogues 358
1. Concordance of Sphuta vani Texts 38
2. Concordance of MS A. 50
3. The Metres of the CP 280
4. The Ragas of the CP 314
5. Performance Times of the CP Ragas 321

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