By Laurie Patton
The essays during this assortment tackle the matter of Hindu women's courting to authority, either inside of and with out the textual traditions of Sanskrit, Tamil, Hindi, and English. The authors undertake a mode of shut textual and ethnographic analyzing, which leads to a few unusually new and sophisticated methods of reading older, extra "classical" discourses, comparable to Veda and Mimamsa, in addition to more moderen discourses, resembling the RSS use of the Devimahatmya.
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Additional resources for Jewels of Authority: Women and Textual Tradition in Hindu India
Because the brahmacdrin goes to the household door under two different circumstances, once during the actual Upanayana and then again as part of his daily practice of studenthood, there are theoretically two different sets of donors to be identified. The Grhya Sutras, for the most part, however, identify only the Upanayana donors. Thus, after the student is led around the fire by his teacher, with the right side facing in, he goes into the village to petition food. 26 Although the Grhya Sutras do not, as a matter of course, prescribe the donors for the student to seek out during his daily alms rounds, we are not to assume necessarily that they are the same as for the Upanayana; in fact, other texts list these donors in the reverse order of the initiation.
The formalized relationship of bhiksd, then, heightens his awareness both of caste boundaries and of the need for a solemn, purity-maintaining etiquette. It also, importantly, underscores the role women have in representing the household within the framework of that etiquette. " Although the celebration of Agni as the guest (atithi) of humans at the sacrifice is an important feature of Rgvedic religiosity, and although it is the brahmin officiant who is considered the "guest par excellence" at the ritual,33 it is the guest reception (Atithya) of Soma, the king of the herbs, the food of the gods, the highest of oblations,34 that provides ritual confirmation that the sacrificer's wife has a preeminent role when the household honors a guest.
A passage in the Satapatha Brdhmana describes this same event and the same centrality of the housemistress, the sacrificer's wife, in receiving Soma at the place of the ritual. What becomes even more evident here, however, is that whenever a worthy guest comes to the household, it is all household members who are involved in his honoring, and in this way it is the whole household unit that is implicated in the reception of the guest: Vedic and Buddhist Perspectives I7 eva etan mithunena anvarabhete; yatra va arhann agacchati sarvagrhya iva vai tatra cestanti.
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