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Acting as a Way of Salvation

by David L. Haberman

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Sixteenth-century Hindu theologian Rupa Gosvamin established a technique by which, in imitating one of the significant figures in Krsna`s dramatic world, a devotee might actually come to inhabit the world of the character whose part he or she was playing. Acting As a Way of Salvation shows that the Hindu view of reality accepts such role playing, called Raganuga Bhakti Sadhana, as a natural part of human experience--the pre-eminent way to salvation. Haberman challenges the assumption that Hindu devotionalism or bhakti is a religion of grace which requires no discipline or effort. He shows that deliberate dramatic technique is a significant part of the tradition, as ultimate reality is believed to be a cosmic drama--the eternal play of Krsna. According to Gaudiya Vaisnavism, whose religious activities center around raganuga bhakti sadhana, there is a whole world of which we are normally unaware, and that each of us has a "double." Haberman investigates this extraordinary double called the "perfected body" and the disciplined transformation techniques used in taking on the role, and demonstrates that the "perfected body" is the key to entering and participating in the dramatic world of Krsna`s play.Throughout the book, Haberman explores Indian dramatic theory, Rupa`s unique application of that theory to devotionalism, developments in the practice of this technique, its contemporary manifestations, and finally, the technique`s significance to religious experience in general. Presenting documents and materials never before examined in Western texts, this fascinating study will appeal to scholars of both religion and drama, students of North Indian bhakti and those with a general interest in south Asian religious culture. DAVID L. HABERMAN is professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University. He has been making frequent visits to the region of Braj for over twenty years, studying and writing about the religious culture of this important pilgrimate center. "David Haberman`s introduction to this fascinating ritual process guides the reader by deliberate steps worthy of a Vaisnava adept. For those unfamiliar with the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition, Acting as a Way of Salvation provides an excellent entree to a little-understood mode of religious realization; for specialists, the basic structure of the system is laid bare, with plenty of textual leads to explore further the details and ramifications of this complex practice --TONY K. STEWART "Haberman`s concentration on the notion of a `paradigmatic individual` is indeed original (even though the `and there we have it` style of presentation is occasionally overdone); his treatment of the timetabled astayama routine of devotions, and of the ways in which roles for acolytes are determined by their mentors (somewhat belying Edward Dimock`s statement in the Foreword that `Everyone has a role, and it is self-selected`) adds greatly to our knowledge of contemporary practice. --RUPERT SNELL"This book concerns certain Hindu worshipers of the god Krishna in North India from around the sixteenth century to the present. Haberman relates this spiritual discipline to earlier Indian aesthetic theories and practices in which dramatic participation and or aesthetic appreciation resulted in temporary "depersonalization" or transformation of personality, as well as to the contemporary theories of Constantin Stanislavski concerning an actor`s identification with the part he or she is portraying. Haberman also concludes by discussing certain similarities in the imitative practices of Christian Cistercian monks and Buddhist.--DAVID KINSLEY "A useful glossary, copious notes, a selected bibliography, figures and an index are useful features of the book. The author brings to bear upon the book his experience of twenty years of studying and writing about the religious culture of Vraj. The book is an excellent introduction to those who want to be familiarized with the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition."--VIDYA JYOTI "A Truly creditable work making positive contribution in spreading awarness about Hinduism and its religious practices,will be of much help to students of religious studies and comparative religion.Certainly a valuable addition for and a `must` in all libraries."--The Vedanta Kesri,Aug.2003 Raganuga Bhakti Sadhana- by David L. Haberman..... an instrument of light for the academic scholar as well as the lay devotee of the krishna tradition.--Prabuddha Bharata December 2003 ".........an excellent exposition of the famous theory of Gaudiya Vaisnavism." ______J.I.C.P.R. Vol : 21, No. 3, July-Sept., 2004





Detailed Product Info:

Title: Acting as a Way of Salvation
Author(s): David L. Haberman
ISBN: 812081794X
Year of Publication: 2001
Bibliographic Information: xv + 211p. Append., Biblio., Gloss., Index, Notes
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
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