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A God at Play? Reexamining the Concept of Līlā in Hindu Philosophy and Theology

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jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pjats:italicLīlā</jats:italic>, as a concept and term, has a long and complex history in Sanskritic Hinduism, yet, irrespective of context, it has routinely been translated by words signifying “play,” “sport,” and “game” in English and other languages. Focusing mainly on the term’s philosophical and theological connotations in Sanskritic Hinduism, this article challenges these facile and often misleading renderings. It analyzes the semantic functions and nuances of this deceptively multifaceted and important term over a range of contexts, from Vedāntic interpretations of Bādarāyaṇa’s jats:italicBrahmasūtra</jats:italic> 2.1.33 to the term’s meaning over a wide range of occurrences in Hindu tradition. In the process, attention is also given to the associated terms jats:italickrīḍā</jats:italic> and jats:italickhelā</jats:italic>.</jats:p>



lila, krida, khela, play, sport, game, Krsna-lila, Goddess, avatara

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International Journal of Hindu Studies

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC