List of Figures and Tables ix Foreword by Norvin Hein xi Acknowledgments xvii Pronunciation xxi Abbreviations xxv Introduction: The Sacred Love Story 1 A Drama of Love 1 Sacred Love Stories 6 India's Song of Songs 8 Bh gavata as the Ultimate Scripture 11 Sacred Context of the Rasa Lila 16 Part I: Poems from the Bhagavata Purana Dance of Divine Love: Rasa Lila 23 Act One. Krishna Attracts the Gop s and Disappears 25 Act Two. The Gop s Search for Krishna 39 Act Three. The Song of the Gopis: Gopi Gita 51 Act Four. Krishna Reappears and Speaks of Love 58 Act Five. The Rasa Dance 65 Song of the Flute: Venu Gita 78 Song of the Black Bee: Bhramara Gita 86 Part II: Textual Illuminations Chapter 1: Background of the Text 97 Devotional Love as "Rasa" 97 Ancient Sources of Devotional Love 101 Devotional Love as the Path to God 105 Forms of the Deity Vishnu 108 Chapter 2: Aspects of the Story 111 Framing Passages of the Rasa Lila 111 Poetic and Dramatic Dimensions 114 Krishna: Lord of Love and Beauty 117 Vraja: Pastoral Paradise 125 Yogamaya :Potency for Intimacy 130 The Gopis: Beloveds of Krishna 137 The Special Gopi :Radha 147 Chapter 3: Messages of the Text 152 Devotional Yoga Transcends Death 152 Ethical Boundaries and Boundless Love 158 The Vision of Devotional Love 166 Symbolism in the Rasa Lila 172 Part III: Notes and Comments Introduction 187 Act One 189 Act Two 222 Act Three 237 Act Four 250 Act Five 263 Part IV: The Sanskrit Text Introduction 291 Act One 293 Act Two 304 Act Three 313 Act Four 318 Act Five 322 Appendix 1: Note on Translation 331 Appendix 2: Poetic Meters in Sanskrit Text 336 Accent and Syllable Length: Emphasis and Rhythm in Sanskrit Verse 337 Sanskrit Meters Used in R sa L l Te x t 337 Story Line and Poetic Meter Analysis 339 Verse Number Variations and Actual Verse Count 342 Appendix 3: Synoptic Analysis of the Rasa Lila 344 Glossary 347 Bibliography 355 Index 367
This is truly first-rate scholarship. The five-chapter dramatic poem of the Rasa Lila is a gem of world literature, and Schweig has polished it masterfully. His translation gives a sense of the poetic aspect of the work as well as its theology. -- E. F. Bryant, Rutgers University Schweig's translation is accurate, expressive, and poetic. This book will be useful to classes in a variety of disciplines, including world literature, Eastern religions, and comparative art and culture. -- June McDaniel, College of Charleston A comprehensive presentation of the Rasa Lila chapters from the Bhagavata Purana has been much awaited, and this volume by Dr. Graham Schweig will surely satisfy scholars and aesthetes alike. Dr. Schweig's knowledgeable mind has danced well with his sensitive heart to produce a great accomplishment. -- Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami, Radha Raman Temple, Vrindavana, India and author of "Celebrating Krishna"
Graham M. Schweig is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Indic Studies Program at Christopher Newport University. He earned his doctorate in Comparative Religion from Harvard University and has contributed articles to numerous journals and books in the field.
"This is the most complete presentation of the Rasa Lila, focusing on the text and story itself and looking at it, as it requires, from each of its many viewpoints. The scholarship and teaching quality are first-rate... Schweig's approach is inclusive, consciously reaching out to all levels of reader/devotee/connoisseur and clearly wishing not to leave anyone behind... [E]veryone interested in Hinduism, literature, and religion should consider buying this book."--James D. Redington, S.J., Journal of Vaishnava Studies "A fascinating study and eloquent translation of the beloved story of the all-attractive god Krishna's nocturnal dalliances with the cowherder women of Vraja as described in the Bhagavata Purana... Schweig render[s] this Sanskrit classic into elegant English."--Joel Bordeaux, Altar Magazine This book is an event-for Vaishnavas and everyone else. Long awaited by insiders, it will be a grace to outsiders, too... [E]veryone interested in Hinduism, literature, and religion should consider buying this boo--especially those who incline to mystical love religion and its literature."--James D. Redington, Jr., Yoga and Vaishnavism "Scholars of Vaisnavism will be pleased by this volume and its singular focus."--Frederick M. Smith, Religious Studies Review