Victory to the Mother: The Hindu Goddess of Northwest India in Myth, Ritual, and Symbol

Victory to the Mother: The Hindu Goddess of Northwest India in Myth, Ritual, and Symbol

Victory to the Mother: The Hindu Goddess of Northwest India in Myth, Ritual, and Symbol

Victory to the Mother: The Hindu Goddess of Northwest India in Myth, Ritual, and Symbol

Synopsis

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 herrepresentatives. 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 continuingvitality of the goddess as a mythic presence in the lives of contemporary Hindus.

Excerpt

O Goddess, remover of affliction, be gracious, be gracious, O Mother of the entire world. Be gracious, O Queen of the universe, protect the universe. You, O Goddess, are the Queen of all that moves and does not move.

You alone are the support of the world, because you exist in the form of the earth. By you who exist in the form of the waters, the whole world is filled, O inviolable warrior.

O you who dwell in the form of intelligence in the hearts of all beings, O giver of heaven and liberation, O Goddess, O Nārāyaī, praise be to you.

O power of creation, preservation, and destruction, O eternal one, O basis of all qualities of matter, O one who is filled with qualities of matter, O Nārāyaī, praise be to you.

O one whose hands and feet are everywhere, whose eyes, head, and mouth are everywhere, O one whose ears and nose are everywhere, O Nārāyaī, praise be to you.

O one whose form is everything, O Queen of all, O one endowed with all powers . . .

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