Donors, Devotees, and Daughters of God: Temple Women in Medieval Tamilnadu
Through the use of epigraphical evidence, Leslie C. Orr brings into focus the activities and identities of the temple women (devadasis) of medieval South India. This book shows how temple women's initiative and economic autonomy involved them in medieval temple politics and allowed them to establish themselves in roles with particular social and religious meanings. This study suggests new ways of understanding the character of the temple woman and, more generally, of the roles of women in Indian religion and society.
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activities Andhra Pradesh associated atiyār Brahmans Chingleput Chola period inscriptions Chola period temple context dance dancers daughter described devadasi devotees Dharmaśāstras donations donors early Chola period evidence female festival flywhisk four study areas gifts goddess groups Heitzman Hindu hometown identified identities increasingly India indicate inscriptions refer inscriptions that refer involved Jain kaikkolar Kanchipuram kāni Karashima Karnataka Kersenboom 1987 king lamps land last subperiod later Chola period Lord male medieval Tamilnadu mentioned Nakkan names number of inscriptions paddy palace women paraiyar particular percent performed period temple women post-Chola period prostitutes record refer to temple relationships religious roles royal Saiva Sanskrit scriptions South Arcot South Arcot district South Indian Srinivasan Srivaisnavas status Subbarayalu talicceri pentukal taluk Tamil country Tamil inscriptions Tanjavur district temple deity temple servants temple service temple women term tevanār makal tevaratiyār texts third subperiod thirteenth century tion Tiruchirappalli district Tirunelveli Tirunelveli district Vaisnava woman worship
Page 4 - The introduction of dancing girls in temples tended to lower their moral and spiritual atmosphere. Some people began to visit shrines, not so much to pay their respects to deities as to carry on their love intrigues with the singing girls employed there.
Page 4 - Further, it is well-known that in ancient times women were dedicated to the service of the temples, like the Vestal virgins of Europe. They were held to be married to the god, and had no other duty but to dance before his shrine. Hence they were called the god's slaves (deva-dasi), and were generally patterns of piety and propriety. In the present day they are still called by the same name, but are rather slaves to the licentious passions of the profligate Brahmans of the temples to which they belong....
Page 3 - Deva-dasis (handmaidens of the gods) are dancing-girls attached to the Tamil temples, who subsist by dancing and music, and the practice of ' the oldest profession in the world.
Page 275 - Temples as Landed Magnates in Early Medieval South India (c. AD 700-1300), in RS Sharma & VN Jha (ed.), Indian Society : Historical Probings, New Delhi, 1974, p.
Page 3 - It is one of the many inconsistencies of the Hindu religion that, though their profession is repeatedly and vehemently condemned by the Shastras, it has always received the countenance of the church. The rise of the caste, and its euphemistic name, seem both of them to date from about the ninth and tenth centuries AD, during which much activity prevailed in Southern India in the matter of building temples, and elaborating the services held in them. The dancing-girls...
Page 270 - Yogadrstisamuccaya. in: Open Boundaries: Jain Communities and Cultures in Indian History, ed. John E Cort, Albany, SUNY Press, 98; India: The Land of Plentitude.
Page 4 - ... at least to European ears, of excruciating discord. All the temples also maintain troops of dancing girls. The Tanjore temple possesses fifteen, ten of whom danced before me in the court of the temple with far livelier movements than are customary among the Nach girls of Western and Northern India. There can be no doubt that dancing in the East was once exclusively connected with religious devotion, especially with homage paid to Siva in his character of lord of dancing (see p. 85). Further,...