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Marglin-Apffel, Frederique - Wives of the God-King (410p)

Marglin-Apffel, Frederique - Wives of the God-King (410p)

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Published by lanoo1956
Among the 1,500 devotees of the Hindu temple and cult of Jagannatha at Puri are a handful of women known as "devadasis" or, literally, "female servants of the deity," who are associated with both chastity and concubinage and prostitution. This book focuses on the tension between the purity and impurity of the devadasis, and examines ideas about kingship, power, sexual purity, the role and status of women, and other central concerns of Hindu religious and cultural life that are associated with such rituals.
Among the 1,500 devotees of the Hindu temple and cult of Jagannatha at Puri are a handful of women known as "devadasis" or, literally, "female servants of the deity," who are associated with both chastity and concubinage and prostitution. This book focuses on the tension between the purity and impurity of the devadasis, and examines ideas about kingship, power, sexual purity, the role and status of women, and other central concerns of Hindu religious and cultural life that are associated with such rituals.

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Published by: lanoo1956 on Jun 16, 2014
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The temple and cult of Jagannätha at Puri in Orissa represents one of the most important constituents of Hindu religion and culture. Close to 1500 people perform ritual duties at this temple, all of whom are males except for a small group of women known as devadasis (literally : female servants of the deity) or temple dancers. Within the altered social conditions of modern India their position has changed rapidly, and this study recaptures its past significance.The devadasis do not marry—their dedication to temple service being regarded as a form of marriage to the main deity, Jagannatha. The devadasis represent the auspiciousness of the married woman since they never become inauspicious widows. A study of their rituals and the myths recounted by them reveals the concept of auspicious ness to be a major category, distinct from that of purity. The devadasis, even though they are not chaste, do embody the auspiciousness of the married state and of sovereignty ; they are closely associated not only with temple rituals but also with palace rituals and with the king, who is the living incarnation of their divine husband.Dr Marglms work reveals a whole new axis of value in Hindu culture corresponding to the concepts of auspiciousness and tnauspicious- ness. These values do not speak of hierarchy or order but of a dynamic life force. This life power, she argues, ¡s non-hierarchical, female, and crucial to understanding the royal function.This study illuminates not only the meaning of the institution of the devadasis but also throws new light on Hindu women, kinship and kingship, as well as certain aspects of Bhakti and Tantra.Dr Marglin is Professor of Anthropology,Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.The illustration on the jacket depicts a sculpture of an
apsarat
 unfastening her skin. (From the heaven- bands of the Räjäränt temple, Bhubaneswar, Orissa. Early 12th century
A.D.)
Photo: SundJanah
 
WIVES OF THE GOD-KING
The Rituals of the Devadasis of Puri
Frédérique Apffe! Marglin
DELHI
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
OXFORD NEW YORK 1985

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