In the history of Hindi literature, the oldest extant text of medieval Hindi prose is the collection of hagiography known as the as the vārtā literature which, since the seventeenth century, has been central to the religious life of the Hindu devotional community known as the Pusti Mārga. This article argues that a close examination of these texts in their proper social and historical context reveals that the vārtā literature was written and revised during a time when the Pusti Mārga was slowly expanding its sphere of religious influence in Western and Central India. The result was a body of literature whose principal purpose was to shape the religious self - identity of the Pusti Mārga by stressing the community as a close-knit and exclusive fellowship of believers who owed their final allegiance to Krsna and the community's religious leaders who were known as mahārājas.
|Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
|Published - 2006