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Books > Hindu > Gods > Love of God and Social Duty in The Ramcaritmanas (An Old and Rare Book)
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Love of God and Social Duty in The Ramcaritmanas (An Old and Rare Book)
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Love of God and Social Duty in The Ramcaritmanas (An Old and Rare Book)
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About the book

Here is an interesting study of Tulsi Das' views on the inter-action of love of God and social duty as expressed in the Ramcaritmanas. The author has dwelt briefly upon the life and works of the Tulsi Das and elaborated the three distinct types in the context of Hindu tradition - Orthodox theism, Vedic Orthodoxy and Antinomian Theism which emphasizes love of God to the negligence of traditional duties. Studying the literary characteristics of the Ramcaritmanas, Social duty and Love of God in the text are discussed at length, giving way to the will of God as the ultimate in resolving the tension in both. The nature and characteristics of the ideal devotee are exemplified. Contains select Bibliography and Index.

Introduction

THE Ramcaritmanas is the most popular religious text of North India, and its excellence is generally acknowledged among Hindus of the whole sub-continent. In order to read it in proper perspective, it is important to bear in mind that it was meant to of the Valmiki Ramiiyana, written approximately twenty centuries earlier. That is, in rewriting the story of Rama, Tulsi Das felt free to make a number of alterations allowing him to present his own religious views and inclinations.

The most consequential change that Tulsi Das introduced in his new version of the Rcimayana is the importance given to the interaction of love of God and social duty. It will be argued in this study that the attempt to relate these two competing claims is shown in the Ramcaritmanas to result in a state of tension in the sense that the intensity of the devotee's love of God causes a dilemma vis-à-vis his obligation to perform his normal social duties : whether to endure physical separation from the Lord in order to fulfill his obligation, or to abandon his duties in order to follow the Lord more closely.

Rather than using the Ramcaritmanas as an illustration of any particular theory on social causality, this study will attempt to attain a clearer insight into the problem of relating love of God and social duty as it arose from Tulsi Das' own consciousness. In order to do so, an effort will be made in Part I to present the available information on his life and work, thus highlighting his importance in the history of medieval North India.

In the historical section, which forms the second part of this book, we shall attempt to understand how Tulsi Das might have sought to situate his position in terms of the Hindu tradition, to which he repeatedly claims his own indebtedness throughout the Ramacaritmanas. It will be argued that as he looked back, he could discern, on the question of the tension between love of God and social duty, at least three main alternatives expressed with various emphases at different periods. A first alternative gave priority to the claims and salvific role of social duty to the point of either totally subordinating or denying the role of love of God. Another alternative stressed the priority of love of God while neglecting the value of social duty. A third alter-native, which for the sake of convenience will be referred to as the "middle position", held that love of God was not inconsistent with the performance of social duty. Tulsi Das' under-standing of these alternatives led him to choose the third in his attempt to formulate a solution which would emphasize love of God while at the same time insisting as much as he could that social duties were important.

The present work then studies to what extent Tulsi Das' perception of this problem might have been affected by his environment. It will be shown that the immediate context could be viewed as a challenge to Tulsi Das, that his magnum opus may be considered as a response to this challenge, and that his response revived the "middle" alternative. This section is not meant to establish that Tulsi Das was socially conditioned in his response, nor to show that the impact of his views followed any particular sociological pattern. Rather, it is meant to explain how he chose to meet the challenge of his day on the basis of his own religious inclinations, and in what sense his response could have fulfilled the expectations of his immediate hearers.

The final section of the book is devoted to exegesis of the Ramcaritmeinas, aimed at illustrating Tulsi Das' understanding of love of God and social duty. In the final chapter, it will be held that in dealing with the tension between love of God and social duty Tulsi Das formulated a balance which was new in the Ramayanic tradition of North India, and which is one of the most important solutions to this perennial problem of religious mysticism.

The English phrases "love of God" and "social duty" will be used throughout this study in preference to Sanskrit equi-valents such as bhakti and dharma, partly because the latter are frequently used with differing connotations and partly because the Ramcaritmanas, along with other sources, uses a variety of terms to designate these concepts. The expression "love of God" is taken here in a broad sense so that it may include the various forms of affectionate attachment to the Divine, which Tulsi Das describes using such terms as bhakti, prema, saneha, priti, bhava, and rati. The expression social duty is used here to designate the obligations associated with the status of the householder and transmitted by the oral or the written tradition. Social duty is usually referred to in the Ramcaritmanas as dharma, niti or karma.

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Love of God and Social Duty in The Ramcaritmanas (An Old and Rare Book)

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Item Code:
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Edition:
1979
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211
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Weight of the Book: 0.42 Kg
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About the book

Here is an interesting study of Tulsi Das' views on the inter-action of love of God and social duty as expressed in the Ramcaritmanas. The author has dwelt briefly upon the life and works of the Tulsi Das and elaborated the three distinct types in the context of Hindu tradition - Orthodox theism, Vedic Orthodoxy and Antinomian Theism which emphasizes love of God to the negligence of traditional duties. Studying the literary characteristics of the Ramcaritmanas, Social duty and Love of God in the text are discussed at length, giving way to the will of God as the ultimate in resolving the tension in both. The nature and characteristics of the ideal devotee are exemplified. Contains select Bibliography and Index.

Introduction

THE Ramcaritmanas is the most popular religious text of North India, and its excellence is generally acknowledged among Hindus of the whole sub-continent. In order to read it in proper perspective, it is important to bear in mind that it was meant to of the Valmiki Ramiiyana, written approximately twenty centuries earlier. That is, in rewriting the story of Rama, Tulsi Das felt free to make a number of alterations allowing him to present his own religious views and inclinations.

The most consequential change that Tulsi Das introduced in his new version of the Rcimayana is the importance given to the interaction of love of God and social duty. It will be argued in this study that the attempt to relate these two competing claims is shown in the Ramcaritmanas to result in a state of tension in the sense that the intensity of the devotee's love of God causes a dilemma vis-à-vis his obligation to perform his normal social duties : whether to endure physical separation from the Lord in order to fulfill his obligation, or to abandon his duties in order to follow the Lord more closely.

Rather than using the Ramcaritmanas as an illustration of any particular theory on social causality, this study will attempt to attain a clearer insight into the problem of relating love of God and social duty as it arose from Tulsi Das' own consciousness. In order to do so, an effort will be made in Part I to present the available information on his life and work, thus highlighting his importance in the history of medieval North India.

In the historical section, which forms the second part of this book, we shall attempt to understand how Tulsi Das might have sought to situate his position in terms of the Hindu tradition, to which he repeatedly claims his own indebtedness throughout the Ramacaritmanas. It will be argued that as he looked back, he could discern, on the question of the tension between love of God and social duty, at least three main alternatives expressed with various emphases at different periods. A first alternative gave priority to the claims and salvific role of social duty to the point of either totally subordinating or denying the role of love of God. Another alternative stressed the priority of love of God while neglecting the value of social duty. A third alter-native, which for the sake of convenience will be referred to as the "middle position", held that love of God was not inconsistent with the performance of social duty. Tulsi Das' under-standing of these alternatives led him to choose the third in his attempt to formulate a solution which would emphasize love of God while at the same time insisting as much as he could that social duties were important.

The present work then studies to what extent Tulsi Das' perception of this problem might have been affected by his environment. It will be shown that the immediate context could be viewed as a challenge to Tulsi Das, that his magnum opus may be considered as a response to this challenge, and that his response revived the "middle" alternative. This section is not meant to establish that Tulsi Das was socially conditioned in his response, nor to show that the impact of his views followed any particular sociological pattern. Rather, it is meant to explain how he chose to meet the challenge of his day on the basis of his own religious inclinations, and in what sense his response could have fulfilled the expectations of his immediate hearers.

The final section of the book is devoted to exegesis of the Ramcaritmeinas, aimed at illustrating Tulsi Das' understanding of love of God and social duty. In the final chapter, it will be held that in dealing with the tension between love of God and social duty Tulsi Das formulated a balance which was new in the Ramayanic tradition of North India, and which is one of the most important solutions to this perennial problem of religious mysticism.

The English phrases "love of God" and "social duty" will be used throughout this study in preference to Sanskrit equi-valents such as bhakti and dharma, partly because the latter are frequently used with differing connotations and partly because the Ramcaritmanas, along with other sources, uses a variety of terms to designate these concepts. The expression "love of God" is taken here in a broad sense so that it may include the various forms of affectionate attachment to the Divine, which Tulsi Das describes using such terms as bhakti, prema, saneha, priti, bhava, and rati. The expression social duty is used here to designate the obligations associated with the status of the householder and transmitted by the oral or the written tradition. Social duty is usually referred to in the Ramcaritmanas as dharma, niti or karma.

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