Singing to the Jinas

Singing to the Jinas : Jain Laywomen, Mandal Singing, and the Negotiations of Jain Devotion

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While Western Jain scholarship has focused on those texts and practices favoring male participation, the Jain community itself relies heavily on lay women's participation for religious education, the performance of key rituals, and the locus of religious knowledge. In this fieldwork-based study, Whitney Kelting attempts to reconcile these women's understanding of Jainism with the religion as presented in the existing scholarship. Jain women, she shows, both accept and rewrite the idealized roles received from religious texts, practices, and social expectation, according to which female religiosity is a symbol of Jain perfection. Jain women's worship shows us a Jainism focused more on devotion than on philosophy. With rituals structured around singing hymns, Jain women negotiate hybrid theologies that sometimes conflict with normative Jainism. Singing to the Jinas describes these women's interpretations of their religion, not as folklore or popular religion, but as a theology that recreates Jainism in a form which honors their own more

Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 149.9 x 228.6 x 25.4mm | 567g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0195140117
  • 9780195140118
  • 1,190,271

Review quote

This is a groundbreaking work on the genre of stavan and an important addition to recently published studies of Jain lay practices. It is an engaging, sensitive, and personal account of Svetambara Murtipujak laywomen's expressions of religiosity that is grounded thoroughly in Western academic theory. It should be read by everyone interested in the study of religion in South Asia, women and religion, ritual, devotional literature and devotional movements, performance theory, and musicology. * The Journal of Asian Studies * The most significant book-length study of Jain women to date ... Singing to the Jinas should also be of interest to any scholar who works at the intersection of religion and art. * History of Religions * ... remarkably original and informative. * Journal of the American Academy of Religion * Singing to the Jinas is a further significant landmark in Jain ethnography ... This fine book should appeal to a wide scholarly constituency: Those interested in ritual and the relationship between women and religion in South Asia in particular will find much to engage them. But, above all, it should be read as a salutary corrective by anybody tempted to think of Jainism as a religion lacking an overt devotional dimension and a poor relation amid India's rich culture of bhakti. * Journal of the American Academy of Religion *show more

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