Water and Womanhood: Religious Meanings of Rivers in Maharashtra

Paperback | March 1, 1989

byAnne Feldhaus

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Rivers in India are commonly associated with certain worldly religious values: wealth, beauty, long life, good health, food, love, and the birth of children. However, these "domestic" values have been relatively neglected by Indologists, who have tended to view India and Hinduism through theprism of poverty, misery, asceticism, and themes of purity or pollution. Following recent scholarship by arguing that the earthly pursuits are equally vital to an understanding of popular Hinduism, Feldhaus examines the role of these ideals in the religious meanings of rivers in Maharashtra, a largeregion of western India. Drawing both on written religious texts and on a wide range of oral, iconographic, and ritual materials gathered in the course of field work in India, she shows that these values, which are usually associated with women or represented by goddesses, are an important motif inpopular religious practices and oral traditions associated with the rivers of Maharashtra, and she presents the many different ways in which rivers are imagined, enshrined, worshipped, and feared.

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Rivers in India are commonly associated with certain worldly religious values: wealth, beauty, long life, good health, food, love, and the birth of children. However, these "domestic" values have been relatively neglected by Indologists, who have tended to view India and Hinduism through theprism of poverty, misery, asceticism, and the...

Anne Feldhaus is at Arizona State University.

other books by Anne Feldhaus

Constructing and Dismantling Hierarchies: Caste and the Subaltern Question in India
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Hardcover|Jun 15 2008

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9.17 × 6.06 × 0.71 inPublished:March 1, 1989Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019509283X

ISBN - 13:9780195092837

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Table of Contents

Note on Translation and TransliterationAbbreviationsIntroductionSource Materials1. Mountains, Rivers, and Siva2. The Femininity of Rivers3. Abundance4. Untamed Natural Wealth5. Sons and Sorrow6. Modern River Goddess Festivals7. Combating EvilMapsAppendix A. Water to the GodsAppendix B. Images of Modern River GoddessesAppendix C. Modern River Goddess FestivalsBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Feldhaus's scholarship is very impressive....I recommend publication. The work is very readable and nothing like it exists. It is rich, engrossing and meaningful."--Ann Grodzins Gold, Cornell University