“Self-Surrender,” “Peace,” “Compassion,” and the “Mission of the Goose”
Poems and Prayers from South India
Vedanta Deshika (1268-1369) was perhaps the most outstanding Sanskrit author in the South Indian tradition focused on Vishnu and one of the most original poets in all of Sanskrit literature. Two of his best-known works appear here. "The Mission of the Goose," in the genre of messenger-poems modeled on Kali dasa’s famous "Cloud Messenger," has Rama send a goose with a message for Sita, flying to Lanka over graphically described Tamil temples. "Compassion" is a meditation about the compassionate aspect of Vishnu, particularly as embodied in the great temple of Tirupati. Appayya Dikshita (1520 -1592) and Nila kantha Dikshita (1580 1644) belong to one family as well as to the same religious world centered on Shiva. Appayya’s "Self-Surrender" to his deity is the most personal of the polymath’s works. In "Peace" his great-nephew Nila kantha, political high achiever as well as poet, reevaluates renunciation and transcendence in a skeptical, intimate, and deeply unsettling voice.
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