Title Bhakti & Power
Subtitle Debating India’s Religion of the Heart
Author John Stratton Hawley, Christian Lee Novetzke, Swapna Sharma
ISBN 9780295745503
List price GBP 23.99
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 264
Book size 152 x 228 mm
Publishing year 2019
Original publisher Cornell University Press (Combined Academic Publishers)
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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“A welcome addition to the field of bhakti studies, South Asian devotionalisms, and South Asian religions and comparative religions more broadly.”

­—Ramya Sreenivasan, associate professor, South Asian Studies, University of Pennsylvania


“An important contribution to the historiographical issues regarding bhakti and the arena of bhakti studies.”

—Srilata Raman, author of Self-Surrender (Prapatti) to God in Srivaisnavism: Tamil Cats and Sanskit Monkeys


Bhakti, a term ubiquitous in the religious life of South Asia, has meanings that shift dramatically according to context and sentiment. Sometimes translated as “personal devotion,” bhakti nonetheless implies and fosters public interaction. It is often associated with the marginalized voices of women and lower castes, yet it has also played a role in perpetuating injustice. Barriers have been torn down in the name of bhakti, while others have been built simultaneously.

Bhakti and Power provides an accessible entry into key debates around issues such as these, presenting voices and vignettes from the sixth century to the present and from many parts of India’s cultural landscape. Written by a wide range of engaged scholars, this volume showcases one of the most influential concepts in Indian history–still a major force in the present day.



Note on Transliteration

Introduction: The Power of Bhakti

PART I: Situatons

Chapter 1. Affect and Identity in Early Bhakti: KaraikkaI Ammaiyar as Poet, Servant and Pey (Karen Pechilis)

Chapter 2. Religious Equality, Social Conservatism: The Shiva-Bhakti Community as Imagined in Early Kannada Hagiographies (Gil Ben-Herut)

Chapter 3. Caste and Women in Early Modern India: Krishna Bhakti in Sixteenth-Century Vrindavan (Heidi R. M. Pauwels)

Chapter 4. “Are you All Coming to the Esplanade?”: Devotional Music and Contingent Politics in West Bengal (Eben Graves)

Chapter 5. All the Valmikis Are One: Bhakti as Majoritarian Project (Joel Lee)

PART II: Mediations

Chapter 6. The political Theology of Bhakti, or When Devotionalism Meets Vernacularization (Christian Lee Novetzke)

Chapter 7. Bhakti as Elite Cultural Practice: Digambar Jain Bhakti in Early Modern North India (John E. Cort)

Chapter 8. Lover and Yogi in Punjabi Sufi poetry: The story of Hir and Ranjha (Manpreet Kaur)

Chapter 9. Illuminating the Formless: God, King, and Devotion in an Assamese Illustrated Manuscript (Physllis Granoff)

Chapter 10. Bhakti as Relationship: Drawing Form and Personality from the Formless (David L. Haberman)

Chapter 11. Bhakti the Mediator (John Stratton Hawley)

PART III: Solidarities

Chapter 12. Singing in Protest: Early Modern Hindu-Muslim, Encounters in Bengali Hagiographies of Chaitanya (Kiyokazu Okita)

Chapter 13. Bhakti and Power from the Inside: A Devotee’s Reading of What Chaitanya Achieved (Shrivatsa Goswami)

Chapter 14. Fall from Grace?: Caste, Bhakti, and Politics in Late Eighteenth-Century Marwar (Divya Cherian)

Chapter 15. The Ties That Bind: Individual, Family, and Community in Northwestern Bhakti (Tyler Williams)

Chapter 16. Waterscape and Memory:  The Aina-i Tirhut of Bihari Lal “Fitrat” and the Politics of a Bhakti Past (Aditi Natasha Kini and William R. Pinch)

Chapter 17. Bhakti in the Classroom: What Do American Students Hear? (Richard H. Davis)


List of Contributions


About the Editors:

John Stratton Hawley is Claire Tow Professor of Religion at Barnard College, Columbia University. He is the author of A Storm of Songs: India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement.

Christian Lee Novetzke is professor of South Asian studies and comparative religion at the Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington. He is the author of The Quotidian Revolution: Vernacularization, Religion, and the Premodern Public Sphere in India.

Swapna Sharma is senior lecturer in Hindi at Yale University.

Target Audience:

People interested in Bhakti studies, South Asian devotionalisms, South Asian religions and comparative religions.

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