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.
|Note on References and Abbreviations
|Hita Harivamsa and The Radhavallabhi Tradition
|The Sectarian Background
|Materials relating to the life of Hita Harivamsa
|Areas of Dispute in the Hagiography of Hita Harivamsa
|Further texts attributed to Hita Harivamsa
|Manuscripts of the Caurasi Pada
|Manuscripts of the CP collated for the present edition
|Facsimiles of CP Manuscripts
|Other Manuscripts of the CP
|Manuscript Affiliations And the Language of the Text
|Affiliation of manuscripts and editorial procedure
|Script, phonology and orthography
|Morphology and syntax
|The Caurasi Pada: Edited Text and Apparatus Criticus
|The Caurasi Pada: Annotated Translation
|Metre In the Caurasi Pada
|Note on the Derivation and Transmission of Metrical Types in the CP
|The Disposition of Metres in the CP
|The Metres of the CP in Musical Performance
|The Composition and Content of the Caurasi Pada
|The Title of the Text
|Authorship of the 84 stanzas
|The Structure of the text
|Sectarian Interpretation of the Themes of the Text
|Examples of the Commentaries
|Stanzas in the Surasagara Corresponding to Stanzas in the CP
|Additional Stanzas Bearing the Name of Hita Harivamsa
|Editions and Translations of Primary Texts
|Concordance of Sphuta vani Texts
|Concordance of MS A.
|The Metres of the CP
|The Ragas of the CP
|Performance Times of the CP Ragas