Introduction to the Ram Rasik Tradition of the Ramanandi Sampradāy
July 3 @ 1:15 pm - 2:30 pm
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Despite both being incarnations of Vishnu, Ram and Krishna are often seen on opposite ends of a continuum. Ram is portrayed as the maryādā puruṣotthama, or the ideal man, emphasizing his role as a king and as the upholder of dharma. His relationship with Sita is seen as the model marriage. Krishna, on the other hand, is sometimes called the līlā puruṣotthama, or the exemplar of playfulness, and is often portrayed as a mischievous child or a lover of Radha and all the gopīs. The Ram rasik tradition emerged as a branch of the Ramanandi sampradāy and offers a contrast to the dichotomous view of Krishna and Ram. The rasik branch was highly influenced by the Gaudiya Vaishnavas, a Bengali religious community devoted to Krishna based on the teachings of Caitanya. However, the Ram rasiks were not merely derivative of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, they introduced important literary and theological innovations in order to synthesize the story of the Rāmāyaṇa with rasik characteristics. This presentation introduces the Ram rasik tradition in order to demonstrate the incompleteness of the Ram/Krishna binary and highlight some of the important innovations made by the Ram rasiks.
Anna Lee White is a PhD student at the School of Religious Studies at McGill University in Canada. She completed a BA in Anthropology and South Asian Studies from Mount Holyoke College and an MA in History of Religions at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Her research focuses on the history of bhakti literature, hagiographies of bhakti saints, and the formation of devotional sectarian communities. Her research project in India in the summer of 2019 is supported by the Mitacs Globalink Research Award.
Free and open to public.