Pilgrimages have been a part of our study here at The Confluence Countdown for a very long time. As I’ve said, both of us were English majors. That means, when we joined book collections, so to speak, one of our copies of The Complete Works of Chaucer (of The Canterbury Tales fame) and Bocaccio (The Decameron) had to be given up (traded in, actually, for more books).
When we started reading Ramesh Menon’s translation of The Mahabharata a couple years ago, we kept coming across this word, “yatra” (both Pandavas and Kauravas go on yatras). We understood this to be the same act of devotion found in Boccacio and Chaucer–perhaps even its origin: Pilgrims visiting holy sites, seeking grace. (Although there are a lot more dirty stories in Chaucer.)
Now, we are the Pilgrims, or yatris. As regular readers know, this winter, we’ll be joining others on a pilgrimage to holy sites and festivals in India, led by Robert Moses (co-editor, with Eddie Stern, of Namarupa). Robert has sent out his reading list, and they’ve started to arrive at our doorstep (thank you, Amazon). I’ve asked Robert if we could publish his selections, and he’s kindly granted his permission. So, if you’re interested, here they are. I’m sure we’ll be talking about them.
- India: A Sacred Geography – By Diana L. Eck
- Darsan: Seeing The Divine Image In India – By Diana L. Eck
- Seeing Spiritual India: A Guide to Temples, Holy Sites, Festivals and Traditions – By Stephan Knapp
- Meeting God: Elements of Hindu Devotion – by Stephen Huyler
- Anything by and about Ramana Maharishi – the sage of Arunachala at Tiruvannamalai especially his short text ‘Who am I’
- The Home of Dancing Sivan: The Traditions of the Hindu Temple in Citamparam – by Paul Younger
- The Myths and Gods of India: The Classic Work on Hindu Polytheism from the Princeton Bollingen Series by Alain Danielou
- Virtue, Success, Pleasure, and Liberation: The Four Aims of Life in the Tradition of Ancient India by Alain Danielou
- While the Gods Play: Shaiva Oracles and Predictions on the Cycles of History and the Destiny of Mankind by Alain Danielou
- Temples of South India – by AMBUJAM ANANTHARAMAN
- Temple Towns of Tamil Nadu – by George Michell