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Mangal-Kvya (Bengali: , "Poems of Benediction")

is a group of Bengali Hindu religious texts, composed


more or less between 13th Century and 18th Century,
notably consisting of narratives of indigenous deities of
rural Bengal in the social scenario of the Middle Ages.
The Mangal-Kvyas usually give prominence to a
particular deity amalgamated with a Vedic or Hindu
mythological god and the narratives are usually written
in the form of verses.
Manas Mangal, Chand Mangal and Dharma
Mangal, the three major genus of Mangal-Kvya
tradition include the portrayal of the magnitude of
Manas, Chand and Dharmathakur respectively. They
are considered the greatest among all the native
divinities in Bengal. But restraining the accounts of other
deities, there are also minor Mangal-Kvyas known as
Shivyana, Klik Mangal, Rya Mangal, Shasht
Mangal, Stal Mangal and Kamal Mangal etc. Each
strain is composed by more than one poet or group of
poets who are on the whole the worshipper of the god or
goddess concerning their verses.
The Mangal-Kvya tradition is an archetype of the
synthesis between the Vedic and the popular folk culture
of India. Lila Ray elaborates, Indigenous myths and
legends inherited from Indo-Aryan cultures began to
blend and crystallise around popular deities and semi-
mythological fgures in the fourteenth and ffteenth
centuries. A new cosmogony was evolved, which is
diferent from Sanskrit tradition but has an unmistakable
afnity with the cosmogonic hymns in Rigveda and the
Polynesian myth of creation. [1]
Etymology
The word Mangal-Kvya comes out as an
amalgamation of the two Bengali words, Mangal
(Benediction) and Kavya (Poems). These are so named
because it was believed that listening to these verses
concerning the auspicious divinities would bring both
spiritual and material benefts. Though some scholars of
the early modern period tried to fnd out any other
signifcance of the word Mangal that was frequently used
in the medieval Bengali literature irrespective of any
designated tradition. But all these speculations are now
frmly discarded by the recent school of intellectuals.
1. Listening to them was said to bring spiritual and
material benefts ("mangal").[2]
2. They were sung in the Mangal raga.
3. They were read out in rituals extending from one
"Mangalbar" (Tuesday) to the next.
Poems
Mangalkavya were used to describe the greatness of
particular Hindu deities known as "nimnokoti" (roughly
translating as lower) by historians, because they were
absent or unimportant in classical Hindu literature such
as the Vedas or Puranas. These deities were based on
indigenous to Bengal (like Manasa) who had become
assimilated in regional Hinduism. These deities are often
depicted with unusually strong human qualities and they
engage in direct interaction with humans. They are also
portrayed to have faws such as envy like other human
beings.
In the time period when they were produced,
Mangalkavya was the representation of nearly all
medieval Bengali literature. Mangalkavya was the main
form of expression in the Later Middle Period of the
language.[3]
Construction
Mangalkavyas were composed of four parts: the
Vandana, the Reasoning, the Devakhanda, and the
Narakhanda.
Characteristics
Mangals are usually similar in form though variant in
length. They are written for the most part in the simple
payar meter, a couplet form with the rhyme scheme aa
bb, etc., which is considered an appropriate form for
oral literature.[4]
Usage
They are often recited at the festivals of the deities
mentioned in the kavya. The popular ones are sung to
entertain village audiences as Bhajans. Many variants
exist, since singers may change the verses. Most are
written in simple couplets, using earthy imagery drawn
from simple objects like: village, feld, and river.[5]
Efects
The spread of Mangalkavya increased throughout
Bengal around the late 18th century. It has been
documented in the city of Majilpur that the number of
Shiva mandirs increased tremendously after
Mangalkavya began being composed in the vicinity [6]
Notable Kavya
The main Mangalkavyas include Manasamangalkavya,
Chandimangalkavya, Dharmamangalkavya and
Annadamangalkavya, with Manasamangal being the
most famous. It is widely considered to be one of the
most important works ever of Bangla literature and
references to stories of Manasamangal abound in
literature even to this day because of their highly
symbolic value. There are also other minor
Mangalkavyas such as Raimangalkavya in the
Sundarban region.
See also[edit]
Chaitanya Bhagavata
Tulsidas
Bhakti
Bengali literature
References
1. Jump up ^ p.145, Bengali Literature, Annada Shankar
Ray and Lila Ray, Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi,
Kolkata
2. Jump up ^ Mangalkavya Banglapedia
3. Jump up ^ Bengali Language: A Brief Introduction
i3pep.org
4. Jump up ^ mangal-kavya - Encyclopdia Britannica
5. Jump up ^ Mangal-kavya - Answers.com
6. Jump up ^ 24 Parganas - Page 6 HinduBooks