The Sacred Marriage of a Hindu Goddess

Front Cover
Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1992 - Religion - 232 pages
This book combines systematic textual study with descriptive fieldwork to explore the relationship between the human and the divine in Hindu life. For at least the past two hundred years, Hindus in southern India have celebrated the marriage of the goddess Mīnākshī to the Hindu god Śiva. This annual ten-day celebration is among the largest and most famous Hindu festivals, attracting hundreds of thousands of the faithful each year. This work examines this important ritual event from a variety of perspectives, including the history of religions, Sanskrit and Tamil textual traditions, and Hindu culture. Moving beyond traditional understandings of the category of 'sacred marriage' derived from studies of the ancient Near East, the author reveals that sacred marriage in India functions as a devotional metaphor for Hindu devotees, a way of understanding how deities act toward one another and toward those who worship them.
 

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Contents

The Sacred Marriage Metaphor in Religious Studies and in Hinduism
1
Sacred Marriage as a Category 1 Metaphors and Their Uses 4 Sacred
17
The Text as Revelation Theology and History 22 The Document in
39
The Birth and Reign of the GoddessQueen Minaksi 44 The Marriage
51
58 Motifs of the Madurai Marriage and the PanIndian Sanskrit Tradition
60
Initial Con
97
Marriage as an Antidote to Sacrifice 112 Women as GoddessesGoddesses
126
130 Marriage as Soteriological Act 134 The Order Marriage Brings
135
Kinship Terms in Personal Devotion
142
Devotion as Financial Contract 143 Devotion as Kinship Alliance 146 Sus
163
Selected Sanskrit Names and Terms and Their Tamil
197
BIBLIOGRAPHY
209
INDEX
227
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