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Bhakti - a contemporary discussion

(Philosophical Exploration in the Indian Bhakti Tradition)

Edited by Daya Krishna, Mukund Lath and Francine E. Krishna.

New Delhi: Indian Council of Philosophical Research, 2000.

Summary: This book explores the philosophical dimensions of Bhakti tradition in India in all their variety and depth, and raises the question such as whether the world of feelings which is intrinsically subjective and personal in character can ever be an ‘object’ of rational enquiry. It asks “Is Bhakti possible without belief in Personal God or any other God whatsoever?” and tries to articulate the 'ideals' immanent in the life of feeling without reference to those involved in knowledge.

Bhakti is seen as purusartha embedded in the world of feelings than man lives in. The issue related to this “seeking” are discussed in a spirit of free and critical enquiry which may come as a surprise to those who see the tradition as “closed” in respect of such things. Who would ever believe that such a discussion was held at Vrindavan, and that too under the Chaitanya Prem Samsthan, seat of the foremost Bhakti tradition of India. But the religions of Indic origin have had a tradition of free enquiry which is not found elsewhere.

The life of feelings has too long been neglected by philosophers and “ideals” involved in it have hardly been paid any attention uptill now.

The book thus attempts to shift the attention of the philosophical world to this neglected dimension of human personality which, if properly cultivated, might change the ‘inner’ life of man as it is ‘lived’ and experienced by him/her.

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