Chapter

 The Cat in the Courtyard: The Performance of Sanskrit and the Religious Experience of Women

Laurie L. Patton

in Women's Lives, Women's Rituals in the Hindu Tradition

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780195177060
Published online May 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199785438 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195177060.003.0002
 							 The Cat in the Courtyard: The Performance of Sanskrit and the Religious Experience of Women

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This chapter demonstrates how contemporary female Sanskritists in Maharashtra reconfigure Sanskrit, the “father language” of Brahminical Hinduism, as a “grandmother language” and how women engage in new ways to imbue the practices and activities of everyday life with religious meaning. Female Sanskritists unite their stridharma, or ritual duties as women, with the use of Sanskrit in everyday life, importing Sanskrit into everyday events and practices like childbirth, food preparation, and the feeding of family. In so doing, these women reconstitute Sanskrit as a domestic language of interpersonal care and personal transformation; they also reconfigure the “profane” moments of everyday life, imbuing them with religious meaning by sacralizing them with powerful religious mantras.

Keywords: Sanskrit; Hinduism; Maharastra; grandmother language; women

Chapter.  7083 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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