Devotion According to the Rules: Guru-Bhakti in the Texts and Practices of the Datta Sampradāya/

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Morse, Jeremy G., author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2017
Description:1 electronic resource (277 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Wendy Doniger Committee members: Philip Engblom; Anne Feldhaus.
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Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 78-12(E), Section: A.
Summary:This dissertation investigates the amalgamation of bhakti (devotion) and vidhi (rules of comportment and ritual enactment as enunciated in the Dharmaśāstras) in the texts and practices of the Datta sampradāya, a western-Indian Hindu tradition formed around the deity Dattātreya and the lineage of deified gurus beginning with Śrīpāda Śrīvallabha and Nrsimha Sarasvatī in the 14th and 15th centuries CE. The dissertation engages close readings of the tradition's principal Marathi text, the Gurucaritra (composed c. 1550 CE), a contemporary Marathi manual for Datta worship, and the Sanskrit Gurugītā, supplementing this material with ethnographic data. The texts of the tradition prescribe different principles and practices for distinct audiences, in part to promote Śāstric social and religious praxis through a bhakti idiom. Ethnographic data reveals how contemporary practitioners navigate the competing emphases on bhakti and vidhi by engaging in ritual activities in accordance with many Śāstric norms, while simultaneously describing their motivations in the language of bhakti and hoping for a personal experience of the presence of Datta or Nrsimha Sarasvatī. This study further contributes to the burgeoning field of Guru Studies by exploring the social and textual history of the Gurugītā, a text that many Hindu-inspired guru traditions use to establish the guru as a divine figure and to explain and justify devotion to such a personage. This combination of original translations and ethnographic research, exploring the contours and limits of bhakti in a Śāstric milieu, reveals new facets of the understudied Datta sampradāya. It should be of interest to scholars in the fields of South Asian Studies, the History of Religions, Bhakti Studies and Guru Studies.