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Man and Culture

Between suffering and bliss: rollercoaster of emotions of the Tamil Shaiva Bhakti

Vecherina Ol'ga

PhD in History

Docent, the department of Mediation in Social Sphere, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

127051, Russia, g. Moscow, ul. Sretenka, 29






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Abstract: The subject of this research is the range of primary emotions experienced by the medieval Tamil Shaiva bhakti poets who lived in the VI-IX centuries. A profound emotional and aesthetic component of their works and biographies became a part of Shaiva poetic canon “Panniru Thirumurai”, which has records of the new ritual of worshipping Shiva, notable for the heightened emotional involvement (bhakti) of believers. The canon retains its relevance in modern India, being the source of the daily religious practice. As a result, the author reveals the presence of a substantial range of emotions in the works of all primary authors of the canon – from contemptuous-depreciative up to the absolute bliss. The consciously cultivated heightened emotionality of the adept provoked the reaching of the vivid altered states of mind, including insanity as the pinnacle of emotional hierarchy. It is demonstrated that the achievement of such altered state became a necessary condition for following the path of bhakti-yoga and the main trigger launching the mechanisms of poetry writing and visualization of Shiva’s manifestations.

Keywords: madness, darshan, love, divine grace, Śaiva canon, bhaktas, emotions, insanity, poetic gift, bliss
This article written in Russian. You can find full text of article in Russian here .

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