Love in Separation: An exploration of longing in devotion (Viraha-Bhakti) in the Hindu and Christian faiths.

Purohit, Sheena (2019) Love in Separation: An exploration of longing in devotion (Viraha-Bhakti) in the Hindu and Christian faiths. Masters thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

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This dissertation is a Hindu-Christian comparative study on the subject of viraha-bhakti, devotional love-in-separation. Although possessing distinctive characteristics, the longing for God in his divine absence that is encountered in Hinduism and Christianity corresponds closely with each other and forms an important devotional practice within both traditions. Focussing on a relatively unexplored subject in academic research, this study in comparative theology presents an opportunity for scholarly engagement and for favourably contributing to interreligious dialogue. In the religiously pluralistic setting of the twenty-first century, reciprocal learning across religions can lead to a more comprehensive understanding of devotion to God. Engaging in constructive dialogue and shared learning within theistic traditions can also facilitate individuals’ spiritual and religious pursuit for God. An understanding of the totality of devotion and the fullness of loving God necessitates consideration of both the aspects of divine presence and divine absence. It is the powerful uncompromising longing and all-consuming love, which becomes greatly strengthened during God’s absence, that keeps us connected to God in the midst of separation and eventually leads to divine union. This thesis explores the motif of longing in devotional love-in-separation in the Hindu and Christian faiths. In doing so, it seeks to advance an understanding of the concept of longing as encountered in the bhakti theology of Gauḍīya Vaishnavism and the mystical theology of Carmelite Catholicism. I do this by engaging in a comparative reading of the Gopī Gīta and The Spiritual Canticle. Within this framework, I examine longing through the facets of seeking, remembering, yearning and imploring. The thesis concludes that in both texts, longing emerges as a dynamic force which leads to ultimate self-surrender. In doing so, it reveals a new dimension of surrender, which I identify as belongingness.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: Natalie Williams
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2021 10:02
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 10:39

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