This book is a study of the shifts in historical context of ritual observances from Vedic to Puranic traditions. It looks into the representations of women in early textual traditions to explore how women's identities are not only established in ritual spaces but are also constantly reworked and negotiated. It is in this context that this book attempts to're-read' the Matsyamahapura?a and through the study of vratas and myths, reconstruct the anxieties that theological traditions have with regard to women and women's responses to these anxieties. Patriarchal traditions have never remained frozen, they constantly reinvent themselves to deal with the negotiations and contestations that women make. It is these very traditions then, which, when read carefully, tell us about women and the challenges that they constantly put to theological traditions. The book will revise our understanding of later Vedic and Puranic texts as well as provide a deeper understanding of the gender roles that evolved during this time period.
Jaya Tyagi teaches in the Department of History in Sri Venkateswara College in the University of Delhi.
Foreword ; Preface ; Note on transliteration ; Abbreviations ; Introduction: Representations, Re-presentations, and Retrieval ; 1. The Puranas as Repositaries of Ritual Observances ; 2. Redefining Domesticity through Ritual Observances ; 3. Contestation and Negotiation in Myths and Rituals in Myths ; 4. Channelizing Feminine Energy through Representations of Goddess(es) ; Conclusion:The Social Consequences of 'Sacralizing' Women's Familial Roles ; Appendices ; Glossary ; Bibliography ; Index ; About the Author