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Saints, Hagiographers, and Religious Experience: The Case of Tukaram and Mahipati

Department of Religious Studies, Missouri State University, 901 South National Avenue, Springfield, MO 65897, USA
Religions 2019, 10(2), 110;
Received: 27 December 2018 / Revised: 6 February 2019 / Accepted: 12 February 2019 / Published: 15 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Experience in the Hindu Tradition)
One of the most important developments in Hinduism in the Common Era has been the rise of devotionalism or bhakti. Though theologians and others have contributed to this development, the primary motive force behind it has been poets, who have composed songs celebrating their love for God, and sometimes lamenting their distance from Her. From early in their history, bhakti traditions have praised not only the various gods, but also the devotional poets as well. And so hagiographies have been written about the lives of those exceptional devotees. It could be argued that we find the religious experience of these devotees in their own compositions and in these hagiographies. This article will raise questions about the reliability of our access to the poets’ religious experience through these sources, taking as a test case the seventeenth century devotional poet Tukaram and the hagiographer Mahipati. Tukaram is a particularly apt case for a study of devotional poetry and hagiography as the means to access the religious experience of a Hindu saint, since scholars have argued that his works are unusual in the degree to which he reflects on his own life. We will see why, for reasons of textual history, and for more theoretical reasons, the experience of saints such as Tukaram must remain elusive. View Full-Text
Keywords: religious experience; bhakti; Tukaram; Mahipati religious experience; bhakti; Tukaram; Mahipati
MDPI and ACS Style

Llewellyn, J.E. Saints, Hagiographers, and Religious Experience: The Case of Tukaram and Mahipati. Religions 2019, 10, 110.

AMA Style

Llewellyn JE. Saints, Hagiographers, and Religious Experience: The Case of Tukaram and Mahipati. Religions. 2019; 10(2):110.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Llewellyn, J. E. 2019. "Saints, Hagiographers, and Religious Experience: The Case of Tukaram and Mahipati" Religions 10, no. 2: 110.

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