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FB-55612-11
Polemics and Patronage: Vyasatirtha and the 16th-Century Vijayanagara Court
Valerie Stoker, Wright State University Main Campus

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FB-55612-11

Polemics and Patronage in the City of Victory: Vyasatirtha, Hindu Sectarianism, and the Sixteenth-Century Vijayanagara Court (Book)
Title: Polemics and Patronage in the City of Victory: Vyasatirtha, Hindu Sectarianism, and the Sixteenth-Century Vijayanagara Court
Author: Valerie Stoker
Abstract: How did the patronage activities of India's Vijayanagara Empire (c. 1346-1565) influence Hindu sectarian identities? Contrary to most portraits of the empire as a Hindu bulwark against Islamic incursion from the north or as a religiously ecumenical state, in Polemics and Patronage in the City of Victory, Valerie Stoker argues that the Vijayanagara court was selective in its patronage of religious institutions. But the motivations behind this selectivity were not always religious. To understand the dynamic interaction between religious and royal institutions in this period, she focuses on the career of the Hindu intellectual and monastic leader Vyasatirtha. An agent of the state and a powerful religious authority, Vyasatirtha played an important role in expanding the empire’s economic and social networks. By examining Vyasatirtha’s polemics against rival sects in the context of his work for the empire, Stoker provides a remarkably nuanced picture of the relationship between religious identity and socio-political reality under Vijayanagara rule.
Year: 2016
Primary URL: http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520291836
Access Model: open access
Publisher: University of California
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9780520291836
Copy sent to NEH?: No

Darbar, Matha, Devasthanam: The Politics of Intellectual Commitment and Religious Organization in Sixteenth-Century South India (Article)
Title: Darbar, Matha, Devasthanam: The Politics of Intellectual Commitment and Religious Organization in Sixteenth-Century South India
Author: Valerie Stoker
Abstract: This essay examines the nexus of the court (darbar), monastery (ma?ha) and temple (devasthanam) through the career of the monastic leader, Vyasatirtha (1460–1539). Vyasatirtha was head of the Madhva Brahmin sect under successive Vijayanagara emperors, most notably, Krishnadevaraya (r. 1509–1529). He is famous for his doc- trinal polemics against alternative forms of Vedanta advanced by rival sects and in favour of his own system of thought often called ‘Dvaita’ or ‘Dualist’ Vedanta. Vyasatirtha’s fame as a polemicist is linked directly to his role as an institutional leader, overseeing a network of sectarian monasteries that was significantly expanded by Krishnadevaraya’s patronage. In this capacity, Vyasatirtha was both an agent of the Vijayanagara state and a powerful regional authority. Inscriptional and literary sources indicate that Vyasatirtha used royal patronage of his sect to forge productive relation- ships with a variety of social groups, simultaneously expanding the Empire’s economic and social networks and spreading Madhva Brahminism into new territories. Thus, studying Vyasatirtha’s role as a ma?hadhipati, or the head of a monastic institutional network, illuminates key connections between Brahmin intellectual and religious activity and various socio-political formations of early sixteenth-century South India. However, the sources also reveal important distinctions between the political arena, on the one hand, and religious and intellectual arenas, on the other hand.
Year: 2015
Primary URL: https://www.routledge.com/Scholar-Intellectuals-in-Early-Modern-India-Discipline-Sect-Lineage/OHanlon-Minkowski-Venkatkrishnan/p/book/9781138905702
Access Model: subscription only
Format: Journal
Format: Other
Publisher: Routledge

Krishnadevaraya and the Patronage of Vyasatirtha (Book Section)
Title: Krishnadevaraya and the Patronage of Vyasatirtha
Author: Valerie Stoker
Editor: Anila Verghese
Abstract: Book Abstract: The Year 2009-2010 marked the 500th anniversary of the coronation of Krishnadevaraya, the greatest ruler of the Vijayanagara Empire. This volume is a tribute to this volume is a tribute to this remarkable monarch (reign period 1509-1529 CE) Whose legacy endures to the eminent scholars who are working on vijayanagara city and Empire and /or on Vijayanagara's successor states have contributed to this volume. My Chapter Abstract: This essay explores the relationship between royal and religious forms of authority under Krishnadevaraya's rule. It focuses on the symbiotic but also conflicted relationship between this monarch and the Hindu monk, Vyasatirtha.
Year: 2013
Primary URL: http://www.worldcat.org.ezproxy.libraries.wright.edu/title/krishnadevaraya-and-his-times/oclc/900657987&referer=brief_results
Publisher: K.R. Cama Oriental Institute
ISBN: 9789381324035

The Social Life of Vedanta Philosophy: Vyasatirtha on Hierarchy in Moksha (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: The Social Life of Vedanta Philosophy: Vyasatirtha on Hierarchy in Moksha
Author: Valerie Stoker
Abstract: One of the more controversial doctrines in the Dvaita or ‘dualist’ system of Vedanta thought is the belief that souls in the state of mok?a experience hierarchical degrees of bliss. This concept of moksataratamya was first articulated by the Dvaita movement’s 13th-century founder, Madhva. In keeping with his realist epistemology and pluralistic ontology, Madhva maintained that souls possess innate capacities or ‘yogyatas’ that predestine them to achieve not only specific but stratified soteriological ends. It is perhaps unsurprising that modern critics have objected that this doctrine potentially lends eternal validity to conservative Hindu social hierarchies, which often restricted access to moksa to male elites. But traditional critics also pointed out the doctrine’s inherent unfairness, particularly its problematic implication of God’s partiality. In the final chapter of his polemical text, the Nyayam?ta or Nectar of Logic, the sixteenth-century Dvaita polemicist Vyasatirtha defends this doctrine of moksataratamya largely by flipping the issue of fairness on its head. As part of a larger doxographic project, Vyasatirtha surveys a variety of ideas within Hinduism about how to achieve liberation from samsara. These ideas range from Vedanta prerequisites of Vedic study to Puranic traditions about achieving mok?a through hatred of God (i.e., “dvesabhakti”) to popular notions of achieving moksa merely by dying in a holy city. Vyasatirtha argues that the relative difficulty of these various sadhanas (or “means to mok?a”) necessitates hierarchy within mok?a. After all, it is only fair that those who have used a more challenging method should be rewarded with a better form of mok?a than those who took an easier, or, a less wholesome route.
Date: 10/22/15
Conference Name: The South Asia Conference, Madison, Wisconsin

Hindu Mathas (Monasteries) under Vijayanagara Rule (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Hindu Mathas (Monasteries) under Vijayanagara Rule
Author: Valerie Stoker
Abstract: This presentation explores the relationship between a variety of Hindu monasteries and the royal court, over the course of two and a half centuries of Vijayanagara rule in South India.
Date: 04/17/15
Conference Name: The Matha: Entangled Histories of a Political-Religious Institution (seminar held at the University of Arizona)

Symbolic Worlds and Everyday Lives: New Directions in Vijayanagara Research (Conference/Institute/Seminar)
Title: Symbolic Worlds and Everyday Lives: New Directions in Vijayanagara Research
Author: Valerie Stoker
Author: Ilanit Loewy Shacham
Author: Kathleen Morrison
Abstract: This workshop brings together scholars from a variety of disciplines who work on diverse aspects of the Vijayanagara Empire. While the field of Vijayanagara studies has enjoyed a long period of productive interdisciplinary collaboration among Indian, European, and North American scholars, this collaboration has tended to focus on the Empire’s material culture. This makes sense in light of the Empire’s extensive art and architectural remains and the voluminous inscriptional records detailing their political, economic, and social significance. As this research on Vijayanagara continues to develop, additional work in Vijayanagara studies is being done in other fields such as literature and religious studies. We propose to conduct a broader interdisciplinary workshop that will expand the types of collaborations on Vijayanagara. The goals of this workshop would be to introduce new scholars and scholarship to the “Vijayanagara scholars” group, and discuss how new findings fit in with previous models. Because the Vijayanagara court’s patronage of a variety of economic, cultural, and religious institutions and networks contributed materially to the theoretical and symbolic worlds depicted in the texts, one goal of the proposed conference would be to explore those connections more deeply. Precisely by examining the specific and dynamic links between material and other forms of culture, we might also seek to question the dichotomy between “textual-based” scholarship as pertaining to a theoretical, symbolic world and “artifact-based” scholarship as pertaining to everyday life.
Date Range: 11/7/15-11/8/15
Location: University of Chicago
Primary URL: https://lucian.uchicago.edu/blogs/vijayanagara/

Sectarian Rayas and Ecumenical Mathadhipatis: Religion and the Vijayanagara Court (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Sectarian Rayas and Ecumenical Mathadhipatis: Religion and the Vijayanagara Court
Author: Valerie Stoker
Abstract: This presentation examines how royal patronage of sectarian religious institutions in sixteenth-century South India contributed simultaneously to the inscribing of sectarian identities and the creation of a shared religious identity across different Hindu communities.
Date: 06/15/13
Primary URL: http://www.torch.ox.ac.uk/oxford-early-modern-south-asia-workshop-‘discipline-sect-lineage-and-community-scholar-intellectuals
Conference Name: Scholar-Intellectuals in Early Modern South India (a seminar at Oxford University)


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