When a Goddess Dies: Worshipping Ma Anandamayi after Her Death

Paperback | June 18, 2014

byOrianne Aymard

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Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982) is generally regarded as the most important Hindu woman saint of the twentieth century. Venerated alternately as a guru and as an incarnation of God on earth, Ma had hundreds of thousands of devotees. Through the creation of a religious movement and a vast network ofashrams - unprecedented for a woman - Ma presented herself as an authority figure in a society where female gurus were not often recognized. Because of her widespread influence, Ma is one of the rare Hindu saints whose cult has outlived her. Today, her tomb is a place of veneration, and she isvenerated by those who knew her and by those too young to have known her. Orianne Aymard has performed extensive fieldwork among Ma's current devotees. In this book, she examines what happens to a cult after the death of its leader. Does it decline, stagnate, or grow? Or is it rather transformed into something else entirely? Aymard's work sheds new light not only on Hindusainthood - and particularly female Hindu sainthood - but on the nature of charismatic religious leadership and devotion.

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Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982) is generally regarded as the most important Hindu woman saint of the twentieth century. Venerated alternately as a guru and as an incarnation of God on earth, Ma had hundreds of thousands of devotees. Through the creation of a religious movement and a vast network ofashrams - unprecedented for a woman - Ma pre...

Orianne Aymard is Visiting Scholar at South Asia Institute, Columbia University, Research Associate at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard University, and Research Affiliate at Centre d'etudes et de recherche sur l'Inde at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:June 18, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199368627

ISBN - 13:9780199368624

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Aspects of the Postmortem Cult of the Guru2. The Cult of Relics in Hinduism3. Death of the Guru4. Presence of the Guru5. Sustainability of the Postmortem CultConclusionAppendixNotesGlossaryBibliographyIndex