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Title: Female voices in the Vārkarī sampradāya : gender constructions in a bhakti tradition
Author: Daukes, Jacqueline
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 7333
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis explores the ways the attribution of women's authorship is used in the construction and development of the Varkari bhakti tradition in order to ask what function the high visibility of female poet-sants (santakaviyatris) in the tradition might have played in the sampradaya's self-understanding and presentation. The thesis investigates why there are so many women associated with the Varkari sampradaya, while the santakaviyatris and the compositions attributed to them are largely absent from contemporary devotional practices. I consider how gender attribution within the sacred biographies (caritra) and the compositions attributed to the santakaviyatris relates to the basic tension within the Varkari sampradaya, and within bhakti more generally, between complete devotion to God to the exclusion of all others and the worldly duties of a householder; the tension between sannyasa and g.hastha. Consequently, the thesis considers the elements that mark the Varkari sampradaya out as a householder tradition, as well as the importance of the sants and their attributed compositions to the devotional practices and the discursive formation of the sampradaya. The thesis contends that the presence of compositions attributed to women and caritras about women within the Varkari literary corpus is indicative of an argument for, and indeed exemplification of, the viability of the householder path by those who were involved in constructing the traditions of the sampradaya.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral