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The Blazing Sapphire or Ujjvala-nilamani is the work of Rupa Gosvamin, a 16th century poet/theologian who was a direct disciple of Sri Krsna Caitanya of Bengal (1486-1534 CE). It is perhaps Rupa's final work, composed after a lifetime of poetic and dramatic study and practice; its 15 chapters contain 1451 stanzas (sloka). Some are didactic, but most are single-stanza poems designed to exemplify and evoke moods and feelings (bhakti-rasa) associated with the tradition's culture of love (preman) for Krsna--India's god of love. Rupa's text is designed to analyze and teach about sacred erotic rapture in the Caitanya tradition, and to provide poems through which it can be experienced.
This volume contains about a hundred poems from the first seven chapters, with annotations from major commentaries and introductory hints about who is speaking and why. Selections from the rest of the Sapphire will appear in subsequent volumes. We have focused mainly on example poems, though contextually important didactic verses appear in footnotes. We include Sanskrit originals plus romanized transliterations for readers interested in poetic sound.