The Changing Faces of Temple Worship

Corinne G. Dempsey

in The Goddess Lives in Upstate New York

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780195187298
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199784547 | DOI:
 The Changing Faces of Temple Worship

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This chapter explores the effects of Aiya’s maverick approach on various types of temple participants: the youth, women, and everyone else. It begins by describing the Rush temple youth’s enthusiasm for full participation within their religious tradition, in contrast to many second-generation South Asians in North America who tend to be lukewarm about the religious practices of their parents. It also explores how women of all ages, typically marginalized within traditional religious settings, less so at diaspora temples, glean a sense of religious purpose and value at the Rush temple through their ability to participate publicly as Śrīvidyā initiates and temple priests. The fact that the Rush temple encourages initiation and priestly performance to all who are interested regardless of caste, gender, or ethnicity does not come without its challenges, however. Aiya’s creation of a community of priests who claim an equal stake in temple ownership, opening access to authority and divinity in ways otherwise unavailable, also leaves the door open for uncertainty and dispute.

Keywords: women; youth; second generation; dispute; Śrīvidyā; diaspora; caste; priest

Chapter.  11123 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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