Dialoguing the Varkari Tradition

In Brian Black & Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad (eds.), In Dialogue with Classical Indian Traditions. London, Vereinigtes Königreich: pp. 145-159 (2019)

Authors
Monika Kirloskar-Steinbach
VU University Amsterdam
Abstract
My paper seeks to set up a relation between two types of dialogue: The first type comes into play between female sants of the Maharashtrian Vārkarī tradition and their god Viṭṭalā, who though being physically absent was said to be moved through the devotion of his devotee to intervene in her life. Characteristic of this dialogue seems to be the deep bonding between such a sant and her god such that he even understood, and was moved by, her role-based concerns as a female. The second type of dialogue to be examined is between such sants and contemporary scholarship on Indian feminism. In setting up both these dialogues in relation with each other, the paper seeks to explore two questions: Can such an exchange offer a meaningful exploration of the nature of dialogue itself? Furthermore, does the exchange offer the possibility of a change, which could be instructive in dealing with the concerns of Indians today?
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