Unworthy Recipients and the Mercy of God

Dāna as bhakti in the Sant Hagiographies of Anantadās





Sant, hagiography, gift, Kabīr, Anantadās, dāna, paracaī, bhakti


This article examines the ideology of gift in the Sant hagiographies (paracaī) of Anantadās (16th/17th century). It is assumed that understanding author’s implicit view of gift giving (dāna) is fundamental to unraveling the meaning of certain episodes of the paracaīs. These involve curious cases such as that of Kabīr abandoning his dāna-related duties or those of various Sants, for example, Pīpā, offering gifts to the brahmins (who are, nevertheless, depicted mainly as enemies of the bhakts). The approach of Anantadās to dāna seems to differ significantly from the ideas expounded by the medieval Brahmanic, Buddhist, and Jain sources as it transcends the notion of the gift as being motivated by the socioreligious status of the recipient. It also proves the existence of a certain God-bhakt reciprocity. As such, dāna works on a soteriological level, as a devotional act aimed at creating a relationship with Hari, and on a proselytic level as a tool for expanding the religious community.

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How to Cite

Zapart, Jarosław. 2023. “Unworthy Recipients and the Mercy of God: Dāna As Bhakti in the Sant Hagiographies of Anantadās”. Cracow Indological Studies 25 (2):205-31. https://doi.org/10.12797/CIS.25.2023.02.07.

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