Bhima Bhoi: Verses from the Void : Mystic Poetry of an Oriya Saint (with audio CD)

Edited by Bettina Baumer and Johannes Beltz, Manohar, 2010, 408 p, figs, ISBN : 8173048135, $55.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Bhima Bhoi: Verses from the Void : Mystic Poetry of an Oriya Saint (with audio CD)/Edited by Bettina Baumer and Johannes Beltz

Contents: Foreword. Acknowledgements. 1. Introduction: Bhima Bhoi: life and legends/Johannes Beltz. Philosophy and mysticism/Bettina Baumer. 2. The Oriya texts and their translation/Bettina Baumer, Johannes Beltz, Sadananda Das, Kalidas Mishra and Kedar Mishra. 3. The anthology: selected verses from Bhima Bhoi's Stuticintamani and Bhajanamala. Glossary. Bibliography. Index.

"Mahima Dharma ('the Dharma of Glory') is one of the most fascinating living religious traditions of Orissa. It originated during the nineteenth century as an autochthonous reform movement, emerging out of the nirguna bhakti tradition of India. The earliest authentic testimonies of this movement are the impressive compositions of Bhima Bhoi, a lay guru, who fought against social evils such as caste and ritualized piety and initiated women into his community.

The present volume is the first representative and comprehensive anthology of Bhima Bhoi's religious poetry. It offers a detailed introduction, which discusses the poet and his work in its social, religious, and philosophical contexts. All poems, originally in Oriya, are transliterated into Roman script first and then translated into English on the facing page for easy comprehension.

Since Bhima Bhoi's poetry is above all oral poetry, and his songs are still recited by Mahima Dharmis, the editors decided to complement the written text by authentic audio samples from Orissa. An audio CD, recorded in the areas of Sonepur and Sambalpur offers a selection of popular bhajans of Bhima Bhoi sung by practising Mahima Dharmis.

In the end, the volume brings to a worldwide audience, for the first time, an outstanding poet, widely unknown outside Orissa." (jacket)

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