Sree Padma

Oct 15, 2020

Vicissitudes of the Goddess

Reconstructions of the Gramadevata in India's Religious Traditions

Oxford University Press 2013

In Vicissitudes of the Goddess: Reconstructions of the Gramadevata in India's Religious Traditions (Oxford UP, 2013), Padma (Bowdoin College) focuses on two types of Gramadevatas or goddesses: deified women and those associated with disease and fertility. Setting these figures in the context of their Brahmanic transformation into popular goddesses and noting the interconnectedness of seemingly disparate categories of goddess, the author argues for a continuation of certain goddesses from the Indus period to the contemporary one. She demonstrates two significant aspects of the study of goddesses. First, against the backdrop of the rural versus the urban context, she articulates a history of local goddesses of Andhra Pradesh, clearly linking them to the Indus context as well as the present day. Second, she explains why and how these local goddesses were adopted and adapted to other traditions or systems of thought, namely Brahmanic, Buddhist, and Jain.

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