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Tales of Love, Sex, and Danger$
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Sudhir Kakar and John Munder Ross

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780198072560

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198072560.001.0001

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The Cloistered Passion of Radha and Krishna

The Cloistered Passion of Radha and Krishna

(p.67) 4 The Cloistered Passion of Radha and Krishna
Tales of Love, Sex, and Danger

Sudhir Kakar

John Munder Ross

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the paradigmatic love story of Radha and Krishna, widely considered in Hindu cultural imagination as a parable of the human longing for and union with God. The liaison of Radha and Krishna has been portrayed in thousands of exquisite miniature paintings depicting the lovers in separation and union, longing and abandonment. The legend is not a narrative in the sense of an orderly progression whose protagonists have a shared past and are progressing towards a tragic and happy future. Tender and cheerful, and not tragic, it is rather an evocation and elaboration of the here-and-now of passion. While the figures of Radha and Krishna are linked to the heroine and hero of classical love poetry in many ways, they are primarily products of the bhakti movement, which is known for its erotic mood.

Keywords:   passion, Radha and Krishna, love, paintings, longing, abandonment, separation, love poetry, bhakti movement, union

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