New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. — 206 p. — ISBN-0-19-513433-8.Pathways to the Sakta Poetry: Sources, Precedents, and Influences. The Bengali scholar Sasibhusan Dasgupta, in commenting upon the Goddess-centered devotional poetry tradition of Bengal, once remarked that although it was not surprising to find Uma, the lovely wife of Siva, softened and humanized by the touch of devotion, the effects of that touch upon Kali were astonishing. Who would have thought that the black Goddess of death, who decapitates her enemies and hangs their body parts from her neck and around her waist, would become the embodiment of motherly compassion and kindness? In part because of the dread characteristics of this Goddess, bhakti, or devotion, came late to her literary tradition. Although we have evidence of bhakti poetry to male deities such as Visnu and Siva from as early as the ninth century in south India, and although love poetry to Krishna flowered in Bengal from the fifteenth century on, it was not until the mid-eighteenth century that poets began addressing Kali in the endearing language of intimacy.
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