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  • Ramalinga’s Devotional Poems: Creating a Hagiography

    Richard S. Weiss

    Chapter from the book: Weiss, R. 2019. The Emergence of Modern Hinduism: Religion on the Margins of Colonialism.


    The fourth chapter examines Ramalinga’s views of authority and tradition through a close reading of his devotional works. Scholars have noted that Hindu reformers emphasized the authority of the written text and also that they relegated scripture and revelation to the distant past, expressing nostalgia for a golden age of Hindu tradition. Ramalinga diverged strongly from these views, asserting that Shaivism was a living, oral tradition based on direct experiences of Shiva’s revelation that continue into the present. The chapter stresses the auto-hagiographical character of Ramalinga’s writings to argue that new notions of the literary past were emerging in nineteenth-century South Asia outside of reform Hinduism.

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    Weiss, R. 2019. Ramalinga’s Devotional Poems: Creating a Hagiography. In: Weiss, R, The Emergence of Modern Hinduism. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.75.d

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    Published on Aug. 6, 2019