Chapter

Bodies That Signify: The <i>Madhumālatī</i>, Part 1

Aditya Behl

in Love's Subtle Magic

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780195146707
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199978878 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195146707.003.0007
Bodies That Signify: The Madhumālatī, Part 1

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This chapter presents a detailed reading of the allegorical centerpiece of the Madhumālatī, the head-to-foot description of the heroine's body as it unfolds in front of the enraptured gaze of the seeker. The aim is to understand the poetics of embodiment and erotic union in the context of Shattari cosmology, politics, and spiritual practice, which is reconstructed from rare manuscript materials. The chapter links the lush eroticism of the allegorical set piece to the ascetic culture that produced it, the regimen of the author's group of Sufis, the Shattari silsilah.

Keywords: Hindavī Sufi romances; heroine; poetics; embodiment; erotic union; Shattari cosmology; spiritual practice

Chapter.  18870 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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