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Siva's Demon Devotee
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An exploration and translation of the work of Hindu poet-saint, Karaikkal Ammaiyar. The Hindu poet-saint Karaikkal Ammaiyar describes herself as a demon, accompanying the god Siva as he dances in the cremation grounds. She is believed to be the first to write devotional poetry to Siva in the Tamil language and is considered the first of the 63 Tamil poet-saints. Written in the 6th or 7th century, her beautiful poetry presents the path of love and service that brings liberation. In Siva’s Demon Devotee, Elaine Craddock provides a historical, literary, and ethnographic exploration of Karaikkal Ammaiyar and her work. An annotated translation of the poet-saint’s 143 verses is included along with an introduction to the Tamil literary tradition. Craddock’s analysis of this poetry in its ancient context and of the narrative tradition that developed around the life of the Karaikkal Ammaiyar centuries later reveals cultural tensions concerning women’s roles and the devotional path. A consideration of the two temples that celebrate this poet-saint in contemporary India illuminate both ancient traditions and contemporary transformations.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Siva’s Demon Devotee
  2. pp. -
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. -
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  1. Illustrations
  2. pp. ix-
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xii
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-6
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  1. 1. The Place of Kāraikkāl Ammaiyār in South Indian History
  2. pp. 7-3
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  1. 2. Kāraikkāl Ammaiyār Through Her Poetry
  2. pp. 35-72
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  1. 3. Kāraikkāl Ammaiyār Through Her Stories
  2. pp. 73-89
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  1. 4. The Temples and Their Festivals
  2. pp. 91-113
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  1. 5. The Poems
  2. pp. 115-144
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 145-174
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 175-186
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 187- 193
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