Ascetics, Piety and Power: Saiva Siddhanta Monastic Art in The Woodlands of Central India
R N Misra
  • ISBN : 9788173056055
  • year : 2018
  • language : English
  • binding : Hardbound
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The book attempts to recapture the material milieu, spiritual anchorage and power and authority of Saiva Siddhanta ascetics in the Vindhyan woodlands of central India during the early medieval times. In doing so, it also highlights contradictions that coupled renunciation with acquisitive monasticism, piety with power, and militancy with asceticism. The details tend to betray territorial ambition of the renounces who carved out a vast network of prosperous mathas the spectacular structures generally ignored in our studies so far- as their strongholds amidst the raw and hazardous woodlands (atavis) lived by indomitable autochthons (atavikas). The book highlights the renouncer-woodlander coalition institutionalized under the monasteries, temples and sculpture. Sculptures among these, in particular, portray queer female deities, fierce goblins, banshees and ascetics too, all integrated with conventional divinities, which composed the Saiddhantika monastic art and architecture.