Scholars of religion and seekers in general will find Forms of Krishna: Collected Essays on Vaishnava Murtis to be an informative introduction to Indic philosophy and Vaishnava history, particularly in terms of Krishna’s form and the underlying theological and scriptural background for the worship of his iconic image. For those who are already so informed, many details of Krishna and his worship are unveiled for the first time (at least in the English language), and this is especially so for the much beloved icons explored in these pages, whose full story may be hard to find, even in Sanskrit and Bengali literature. Just as Krishna’s form and its many variants are central to Gauḍīya Vaishnava thought, the entire philosophy of Indian spirituality, including yoga and meditation, can be understood through these forms in both direct and indirect ways. Steven J. Rosen, well known in the field as founding editor of the Journal of Vaishnava Studies, brings his vast learning to bear, as readers are brought into the esoteric world of Vaishnavism.
Steven J. Rosen (Satyaraja Dasa) is a biographer, scholar, and author in the fields of philosophy, Indic religion, and comparative spirituality.
Chapter One: Yuga Avatāras: God(s) of a Different Color
Chapter Two: Ten From Infinity: The Daśāvatāra Story
Chapter Three: Ropes of Love: The Sweet Pastimes of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Dāmodara
Chapter Four: Radha Raman — Three Deities in One
Chapter Five: Jagannāth: The Entire Universe in a Block of Wood
Chapter Six: The Country Charm of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Vrindaban Chandra
Chapter Seven: The Intimate Majesty of Śrī Śrī Rukmiṇī-Dvārakādhīśa
Chapter Eight: Śrī Nāthjī, Mādhavendra Purī, and the Dawn of Love
Chapter Nine: Hawaii Five-O: The Pañca Tattva in the Aloha State
Chapter Ten: Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Gopīnāth: The Apogee of Krishna Consciousness
About the Author
The significance of, and practices surrounding, the worship of murtis (deities) in Vaishnava temples and homes may be the most difficult aspect of Indian spirituality to understand, especially for those not born into the culture. This volume provides an in-depth, comprehensive study of such forms of Krishna in India and beyond. Steve Rosen has written a splendidly researched and nuanced study of the various murtis (forms) of Krishna that includes detailed histories of great temple traditions, the many narratives and back stories that surround them, and descriptive insights into temple cultures. This volume is a "must" for students of Hindu religion and culture and for practitioners who would like to understand the complete spectrum of devotional theism.
Steven Rosen provides readers with an engaging study of Chaitanya Vaishnavism's focus on Krishna "Deity" worship, containing a wealth of fascinating historical, theological and philosophical detail. Those that are unfamiliar or only moderately familiar with the background and meaning of Indic devotional temple practices will find that this work greatly expands their knowledge in this regard.
The most immediately and ubiquitously visible face of Hinduism in India and abroad are the majestic temples housing Deities of the variegated forms of God worshipped in the various Hindu traditions. Yet for many acculturated in countries historically dominated by Biblically derived religiosities, Deities are also the most challenging aspect of Hinduism to grasp theologically, given the severe injunctions found in the Old Testament against 'worship of the graven image.' In this volume, one of the foremost and certainly most prolific scholars of Vaishnavism brings a variety of Krishna Deities into real living presences, each with its own uniquely marvelous history, specific personal flavor and tailormade worshiping culture. Deities are transubstantiated forms of God, living presences each with its own personality, graciously appearing in a form that can accept the service of embodied devotees. Rosen masterfully portrays the theological coherence and logic of Deity worship, and captures the extremely real and personal interaction between Deity and devotee in this long overdue volume. A must read for anyone interested in understanding actual on-the-ground Hinduism, as opposed to the highly selective, transmogrified yoga-derived versions typically found on the shelves of Eastern philosophy in Western bookstores.