rivers on the one hand and Śiva and mountains on the other is expressed in sexual
imagery. Śiva, his liṅga, and the mountain that is homologized to it and to him are
male; Gaṅgā and most other rivers are female. When the two are brought together,
as they are in the architecture, the story, and the rituals that have been examined here,
the pairing presents a powerful image of fertility. In the next chapters of this study,
I follow up on the implications of this pairing. I leave behind, however, the masculine potency of Śiva and his mountain liṅga, and concentrate on the femininity of
rivers and the fertility they promote.
Nadīceṃ mūḷ āṇi ṛṣīceṃ kūḷ pāhū [/śodhūṃ] naye.
Nāsik 1883: 7-8. What the gazetteer describes as the religiously significant
source of the Godāvarī is actually Gaṅgādvār, already well below the mountaintop pool that
is actually held to be the source of the river. Since there is no "flight of well built stone steps"
leading to the top of the mountain, the author of the gazetteer's description may well have
missed this higher place (as I did too on my first few visits to Tryambakegvar), which has
nevertheless been visited by numerous pilgrims each year for centuries. What the gazetteer
calls the Godāvarī's "real source" is a stream called the Kikri (Kikadḍī?), which joins the
Godāvarī "about five miles" northeast of Tryambakegvar, at "the village of Chakori" ( GBP, Nāsik 1883: 654, n. 1).
Mandlik 1870b: 252-53, 259; Udās 1891 [written in the 1870s]: 44, 54; and Phadke 1931: 225. See also Bhāṭte 1944, which is somewhat derivative from the works of Mandlik
and Udās; and B. Jośī 1923, which is more in the nature of a travelogue than a detailed description of the place.
In fact, either the Gāyatrī is not to be found at all after its initial emergence from the
niche in the Pañcagaṅgā temple (
Udds 1891: 44, 54), or it flows almost immediately into the
Bhāṭte 1944: 46). The local Māhātmya (see note 9) explains that Sāvitrī cursed Gāyatrī
to become a river that people would ignore (
Udās 1891: 52-53).
For the parallelism to Mount Meru, see p. 26.
Guravs are non-Brahman temple priests who conduct the official worship in major
Śiva temples and in some goddess temples in Maharashtra.
Rudraksas ( "Rudra's eyes") are the rough seeds of the Eleocarpus lanceolatus or
ganitrus tree, strung into necklaces that worshippers of Śiva use as prayer beads.
I have not been able to locate a copy of this text. Several verses are cited in
Udās 1891: 43-57, passim, and then again, derivatively, in
Bhāṭle 1944: 32-33.
Udās ( 1891: 44). This tradition particularly aroused the ire of
Mandlik ( 1870b: 259):
"The priests point out in the temple of Mahābaleśvara the source of the Krishna; but unfortunately for them, the source of the river is at a higher altitude than the Mahābaleśvara temple,
and their story must therefore be put down as a mathematically proved fable. Krishna, being
considered a sacred river, had to be referred to a sacred source, and the perversity of man
seems to have here set aside the noble works of God--the true source of the river--and assigned
a low symbol, invented by the wild tribes of the hills, for the origin of the sacred river."
BM 3.51; BŚM 2.40-57; and numerous oral versions, including one related by Lele
( 1885: 130) and one related by Likhite ( 1919: 160).
Another, even larger tank at the foot of the mountain, above the village of Tryam
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Water and Womanhood:Religious Meanings of Rivers in Maharashtra.
Contributors: Anne Feldhaus - Author.
Publisher: Oxford University Press.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1995.
Page number: 36.
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