The CAurasi Pada (Eighty-four Hymns) is a sixteenth-century anthology of devotional Braj Bhasa verses ascribed to Hita Harivamsa, a devotee of Radha. With the delicacy of their language and the intensity of their sentiments, these poems recreate the bucolic world of Jayadeva; and their devotional content gives them an unrivalled place in the history of Vaisnava devotional literature. The text, which comprises the theological basis of the Radhavallabha sampradaya, appears here for the first time in a critical edition and is accompanied by a fully annotated rendering in English. The study which follows the text examines its language and prosody, with particular reference to the musical talas in which it is sung in the contemporary tradition of the Radhavallabhi hymnal; and a further section traces the processes by which the text has been transmitted by sectarian tradition over the centuries.
RUPERT SNELL is a senior lecturer in Hindi at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His published work includes studies of modern Hindi grammar and prose style; but he has a special interest in Braj Bhasa poetry, and has written on various aspects of the devotional traditions which use this language as the main vehicle of their expression.