Seeking Mahadevi: Constructing the Identities of the Hindu Great Goddess

Front Cover
Tracy Pintchman
SUNY Press, Jun 14, 2001 - Religion - 254 pages
While Hindus recognize and revere a variety of different goddesses, they also tend to speak of one Great Goddess, Mahadevi, as a singular divine being who is the unity underlying all female deities. In this book, ten scholars reflect on both the diverse depictions of Mahadevi found in textual and devotional environments and the ways that the singularity and multiplicity of the divine Hindu feminine are negotiated. Seeking Mahadevicovers various geographical locations, from the Punjab and Bengal in North India to Kerala and Tamilnadu in the South, and makes use of evidence from ancient texts and contemporary interviews, male-authored documents and women's possession experiences, myth, ritual, and folklore. Arguing that Mahadevi has multiple, context-dependent identities that are constructed through human interpretive activity, this book highlights the great diversity of ways that those who worship Mahadevi conceive of and portray her.

Contributors include C. Mackenzie Brown, Sarah Caldwell, Thomas Coburn, Elaine Craddock, Kathleen M. Erndl, Jeffrey J. Kripal, Usha Menon, Tracy Pintchman, Andhra Pradesh, and Mark Edwin Rohe.

 

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Contents

The Tantric and Vedantic Identity of the Great Goddess in the Devi Glta of the DevlBhagavata Purana C Mackenzie Brown
19
Mahadevl as Mother The Oriya Hindu Vision of Reality Usha Menon
37
Ambiguous and Definitive The Greatness of Goddess Vaisno Devi Mark Edwin Rohe
55
The Goddess as Fount of the Universe Shared Visions and Negotiated Allegiances in Puranic Accounts of Cosmogenesis Tracy Pintchman
77
Waves of Beauty Rivers of Blood Constructing the Goddess in Kerala Sarah Caldwell
93
From Village to City Transforming Goddesses in Urban Andhra Pradesh Sree Padma
115
Reconstructing the Split Goddess as Sakti in a Tamil Village Elaine Craddock
145
Perfecting the Mothers Silence Dream Devotion and Family in the Deification of Sharada Devi Jeffrey J Kripal
171
Goddesses and the Goddess in Hinduism Constructing the Goddess through Religious Experience Kathleen M Erndl
199
What Is a Goddess and What Does It Mean to Construct One? Thomas B Coburn
213
Glossary
223
References
227
Contributors
243
Index
247
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About the author (2001)

Tracy Pintchman is Associate Professor of Hindu Studies at Loyola University Chicago. She is the author of The Rise of the Goddess in the Hindu Tradition, also published by SUNY Press.

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