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Lecture 9

lecture 9


Department
Religion
Course Code
RLG205H5
Professor
Ajay Rao
Lecture
9

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Week 9 BHAKTI: EROTICS AND POSSESSION
Bhakti: devotion to God with participation. Focuses on emotion, sexuality, and
erotics. Intimate, material, carnal, physical love to talk about spiritual experience!
Is a historical transformation which happened in 6 9 century CE (common era). It
is a religious practice. Bhakti is a small change that spreads to refigure but not
replace older traditions. Bhakti is new but not radically new -> it draws upon a
whole range of already existing things, comes from the story of Mahabharata and
more specifically the Gita (story of Arjuna and Krishna).
The two theistic traditions of Saivas and Vaisnavas lead to the development of
Bhakti. So Bhakti is mostly for Vaisnavas and Saivas, but also in other religions too.
Developed for Visnu.
Gupta period 320 540 CE -> for Gupta Empire which is a major empire. Bhakti
started in South India (in Tamil language) and moved north. Temples became
cultural + economic centers. Kingship was defined by being a sacrifice. Blend poetry
+ music => sing as a religious practice.
1. Ecstacy : out of body experience. E.g. Dream,vision. Different from bhakti.
2. Enstasy : withdraw from the world and the senses. Like renouncer. Different
from bhakti.
Bhakti: need to possess God and be possessed by him. Positive possession.
Themes of bhakti:
1. Mutuality and grace.
2. Imagining God as a lover.
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