Female Ascetics in Hinduism
Publication Year: 2004
Published by: State University of New York Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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Lynn Shirley Teskey Denton was born on January 7 1949 in Vernon, British Columbia, and grew up in Ontario on a farm in Prince Edward County, the eldest of seven children. She completed a BA in Religious Studies (1972) and an MA in Anthropology (1973) at McMaster University. At the Institute of Social Anthropology ...
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In Hinduism asceticism is believed to be both morally and ritually efficacious; it is a value that permeates the ideology, affecting the spiritual status and daily religious activities of all members of society. Practices such as fasting and celibacy are required elements of a wide range of religious rituals, from the ancient ...
1. The Religious Life of Woman-as-householder
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Traditional textual sources that specifically forbid asceticism to women are few.1 They occur in the religious lawbooks and focus on only one type, orthodox Brahmanical fourth-stage-of-life renunciation (sannyāsa). Often where the textual tradition does not directly prohibit, it nonetheless discourages, and conventional sentiment ...
2. The Woman Who Is Not a Householder: Widowhood, Unmarriageability, and Female Asceticism
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Having considered the religious life of the ideal woman as properly married householder, I turn to those women who, through no choice of their own, are not householders, those who are involuntarily women-without-husbands. This category consists of three types: widows, girls and women who for various reasons are unmarriageable, ...
3. Unity and Diversity I: Basic Terminology
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The first two chapters looked at how textual and popular ideas of women’s appropriate duties and inherent nature serve either to discourage or to facilitate asceticism for them. This chapter and the next focus directly on the ideological and social universe of asceticism itself. What one notices first about this alternate world is its variety. ...
4. Unity and Diversity II: Sectarian Affiliation, Spiritual Path, and Ascetic Mode
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Asceticism presents us with a profusion of beliefs and practices, many kinds of visual discrimination—bodily markings, ritual paraphernalia, sartorial styles, and the like—and great disparities in the socioeconomic and ritual status of its practitioners. This diversity might not be immediately apparent to the scholar who conducts ...
5. Socioreligious Aspects of Female Asceticism in Varanasi
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Varanasi is the eternal city of Lord Shiva, who as Yogeshwar is the greatest ascetic of all. Writing in the seventh century CE the Buddhist pilgrim, Hiuen-Tsiang, described Varanasi, with its ten thousand Śaiva ascetics, as the ascetic center of India (Beal 1969 II, 44–45), and recent studies attest to its current primacy.1 ...
6. Sainthood, Society, and Transcendence: Legends and Poetry of Women Saints
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The Hindu tradition abounds in spiritual heroines. Popular characters such as Sītā, Savitrī, and Santoṣi Mā, who serve as models for appropriate behavior in the world, have received the attention of scholars. But those whose lives are lived in struggle with the world of normal social relations and, quite often, with themselves, ...
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Glossary of Hinduand Sanskrit Terms
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Page Count: 228
Illustrations: 7 tables
Publication Year: 2004
Series Title: SUNY series in Hindu Studies
Series Editor Byline: Wendy Doniger