Real Sadhus Sing to God: Gender, Asceticism, and Vernacular Religion in Rajasthan (AAR Religion, Culture and History)

Real Sadhus Sing to God: Gender, Asceticism, and Vernacular Religion in Rajasthan (AAR Religion, Culture and History)

By: Antoinette Elizabeth DeNapoli (author)Paperback

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Drawing on ethnographic research spanning ten years, Antoinette Elizabeth DeNapoli offers a new perspective on the practice of asceticism in India today. Her work brings to light the little known and often marginalized lives of female Hindu ascetics (sadhus) in the North Indian state of Rajasthan. Examining the everyday religious worlds and practices of the mostly unlettered female sadhus, who come from a number of castes, Real Sadhus Sing to God illustrates that these women experience asceticism in relational and celebratory ways. They construct their lives as paths of singing to God, which, the author suggests, serves as the female way of being an ascetic. Examining the relationship between asceticism (sannyas) and devotion (bhakti) in contemporary contexts, the book brings together two disparate fields of studyyoga/asceticism and bhaktiusing the singing of bhajans (devotional songs) as an orienting metaphor. This is the first book-length study to explore the ways in which female sadhus perform and thus create gendered views of asceticism through their singing, storytelling, and sacred text practices, which DeNapoli characterizes as their "rhetoric of renunciation".

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About Author

Antoinette Elizabeth DeNapoli is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Wyoming.


Acknowledgements ; A Note on Transliteration and Translation ; Introduction: Orienting Metaphors: Singing Bhajans as Devotional Asceticism ; Chapter 1: Performing Asceticism and Redefining Definitional Boundaries ; Chapter 2: "By the Sweetness of the Tongue": Performing Female Agency in Personal Narrative ; Chapter 3: "Forget Happiness! Give me Suffering Instead.": Negotiating Gender and Asceticism in Religious Narrative ; Chapter 4: "On the Battlefield of Bhakti": Gender and Caste in Vernacular Asceticism ; Chapter 5: "I myself am Shabari!": A Tribal Sadhu's Journey of Singing Bhajans ; Chapter 6: "Even the Black Cuckoo Sings Beautifully": Challenge and Reconfiguration in the Practices of a Khatik Sadhu ; Chapter 7: "Write the Text in Your Heart": Non-literacy, Authority, and Female Sadhus' Performances of Asceticism through Sacred Texts ; Chapter 8: "Real Sadhus Sing to God": Performing Sant Asceticism in Vernacular Singing ; Conclusion: "Meeting and Parting in the Mela of Life": Vernacular Asceticism in Rajasthan ; Notes ; Bibliography ; Index

Product Details

  • publication date: 29/05/2014
  • ISBN13: 9780199940035
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 384
  • ID: 9780199940035
  • weight: 558
  • ISBN10: 0199940037

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