9788187812319: The Lives of the Vaishnava Saints
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Pages: 214
Foreword

The Lives of the Vaishnava. Seints: Shri- nivas Acharya., Narottam Des Thakur, and Shyamananda Pandit adds well- documented material in English, some- times from Indian-language sources, on important saints of the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. Steven Rosen's special focus in this work is on Shri- nivas, Narottam, and Shyamananda, some of whom had personal contact with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (the tra- dition's founder).

Mr. Rosen's guru, A.C. Bhakrivedanta Swami Prabhu- pada, of course, is the principal link in contemporary times between the Indian lineages and the spread of Gaudiya Vaishnavism abroad in the ISKCON move- ment. Mr. Rosen began in ISKCON and continues to be a practicing and believing Vaishnava.

In this latter respect Mr. Rosen's work empha- sizes his own devotional attitude toward the subject- matter and is written in the “bhakta” style rather than in a strictly scholarly manner. The adjustment of the reader to this point-of-view enhances his appreciation of the experience of devotion in this sampradaya' s tra- dition. The book, also, has value for students of Hin- duism generally and bhakti in particular because of Mr. Rosen's reporting and documentation of the historical development of Gaudiya Vaishnavism in its formative period. The work is perhaps unique in its presentation of material on the higher states of Vaishnava mysticism in the Sakhi-bhava mode.

For example, there is a moving description of a meditative trance of Shrinivas's wherein he witnesses Radha's water sport with the Gopis. In mystic exper- ience he observes Radha's nose-ornament (besara) fall into the waters of the Yamuna while Radha and the Gopis are splashing about. Shrinivas cannot

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Narottam Das Thakur and Shyamananda Pandit Shrinivas Acharya
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