Water and Womanhood: Religious Meanings of Rivers in Maharashtra

By Anne Feldhaus | Go to book overview

same mixture of fear and relief that the worshippers of these other divinities experience.

Although in many ways the cults of Kṛṣṇābāī and other modern river goddesses celebrate the joys of living in a comfortable Brahman community, they may not be, after all, so very far removed from the religious ideas, images, and concerns of the general population.


NOTES
1.
The Gaṇgāpurī Kṛṣṇābāī festival committee holds a bank account with an endowment. The interest is used to run the festival. For any special programs, donations are solicited by subscription (vargaṇī).
2.
The Peśvās were the Brahman prime ministers who ruled the Marāṭhā empire from Pune, 1660-1818.
3.
Kīrtans and pravacans are two kinds of sermon performances. The Mrtan includes singing as well as speaking, whereas the pravacan is not usually musical.
4.
The house would be full, and the members of the family all busy and happy, with everyone in a festive mood, the way people are at the time of the Divāḷī festival.
5.
Rāṅgoḷī is a design drawn on the ground with white or colored powder.
6.
The year begins with the month of Caitra (March-April); Guḍhī Pāḍvā, the first day of the bright half of Caitra, generally falls sometime in the second half of March.
7.
Rām Navamī is the ninth day (tithī) of the bright half of the month of Caitra (March- April), the birthday of the god Rāma.
8.
Nivaḍalele--that is, sorted through to get out the small stones, odd grains, and other dirt.
9.
A pāylī is a unit of measure equal to four seers, about four kilograms.
10.
Bhajans are devotional songs that are usually sung by groups of people.
11.
In Wāī, the Rāmḍoh Āḷī palanquin is the only one, I was told, that goes on its round during the day. It sets out at ten o'clock in the morning, whereas all the others set out in the late afternoon or early evening.
12.
On the various types of images of Kṛṣṇābāī, see Chapter 2 and Appendix B.
13.
A śahnaāī is a wind instrument that resembles an oboe.
14.
Literally, "Victory to . . ."
15.
That is, the men sing a song in unison, clapping rhythmically, while one of them waves before the image and the water vessel, in a circular motion, a tray that holds one or more small oil lamps.
16.
Phaḍke ( 1931: 201-2) noted this arrangement in the first part of the twentieth century: "Because the town [of Wāī] is very ancient, the town is arranged strictly according to caste [varṇavyavasthepramāeṃc]. . . . The original Brahman neighborhood [vastī] is on the bank of the Kṛṣṇā. Beyond that is the bazaar, and beyond that other neighborhoods. . . . Because the Muslims polluted this place [tyāṃnīṃ bāṭavilyāmuḷeṃ] during the period of their rule, there is also a Muslim neighborhood."
17.
See Laine 1994.
18.
Members of the Gardener caste.
19.
According to Molesworth ( 1857: s.v.), Hapśīs are Ethiopians.
20.
To take jalasamādhi.
21.
A type of weapon consisting of long metal claws worn over the fingers.
22.
A modern-day descendant of that Śeṇḍe identified Kṛṣṇābāī with Śivājī's patron

-169-

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Water and Womanhood: Religious Meanings of Rivers in Maharashtra
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • A Note on Translation and Transliteration xi
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Introduction 3
  • Notes 17
  • 1 - Mountains, Rivers, and Śiva 20
  • Notes 36
  • 2 - The Femininity of Rivers 40
  • Notes 60
  • 3 - Abundance 65
  • 4 - Untamed Natural Wealth 91
  • Fish 109
  • 5 - Sons and Sorrow 118
  • Notes 142
  • 6 - Modern River Goddess Festivals 146
  • Notes 169
  • 7 - Combating Evil 173
  • Notes 186
  • Appendix A. Water to the Gods 193
  • Appendix B. Images of Modern River Goddesses 198
  • Appendix C. Modern River Goddess Festivals 201
  • Bibliography 203
  • Index 227
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