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Victory to the Mother

The Hindu Goddess of Northwest India in Myth, Ritual, and Symbol

Kathleen M. Erndl

Publication Date - 11 February 1993

ISBN: 9780195070156

232 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches


The worship of Devi, the Goddess, is one of the most vigorous and visible religious phenomena in northwest India today. In this groundbreaking book, Kathleen Erndl uses interviews, participant observations, and her own acute observations to explore the nature of the Goddess and her devotees' experience of her. Beginning with an analysis of oral and written sources, Erndl then examines specific ritual practices--including pilgrimage, performance, and divine possession--and presents case studies of women devotees who became 'possessed' by the Goddess and are worshipped as her representatives. The effects of modernization and popular culture on Goddess worship are revealed in the influence of popular religious pamphlets and the recent absorption of the "new" goddess, Santoshi Ma, into the pantheon. A final chapter suggests a number of ways of understanding the continuing vitality of the goddess as a mythic presence in the lives of contemporary Hindus.

Table of Contents

    1. Divine Materialism: Myth and Theology of Goddess Worship
    2. Speaking of the Goddess: Stories of the Seven Sisters
    3. The Call of the Goddess: The Dynamics of Pilgrimage
    4. Waking the Goddess: The Jagrata a Ritual Performance
    5. The Play of the Goddess: Possession and Participation
    6. The Goddess and Popular Culture: Contemporary Perspectives
    7. The Goddess as an Enduring Presence

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