Humility and Passion: A Caitanyite Vaishnava Ethics of Devotion

Journal of Religious Ethics 30 (3):421 - 444 (2002)
Two axiological elements--humility and passion--I argue, are at the ethical core of Bengal Vaishnavism. These modes of behavior, derived from early theological sources, are dialectically related and form the basis for an ethics of devotion that allows the devotee to accept, while simultaneously transcending social norms and identities. I draw primarily from what is considered the most honored story of the "Bhāgavata Purāṇa", the Rāsalīlā, involving the cowherd maidens who exhibit the highest devotion to God, and from the "Caitanya Caritāmṛta", the biography of the sixteenth century revivalist and saint Caitanya, the tradition's model for devotional life
Keywords humility  egalitarianism  ethics  feminine  passion  devotion  hierarchy
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DOI 10.1111/1467-9795.00116
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