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The Cult of Draupadi, Volume 1

Mythologies: From Gingee to Kuruksetra

This is the first volume of a projected three-volume work on the little-known South Indian folk cult of the goddess Draupadi and on the classical epic, the Mahabharata, that the cult brings to life in mythic, ritual, and dramatic forms. Draupadi, the chief heroine of the Sanskrit Mahabharata, takes on many unexpected guises in her Tamil cult, but her dimensions as a folk goddess remain rooted in a rich interpretive vision of the great epic. By examining the ways that the cult of Draupadi commingles traditions about the goddess and the epic, Alf Hiltebeitel shows the cult to be singularly representative of the inner tensions and working dynamics of popular devotional Hinduism.

516 pages | 34 halftones | 6.00 x 9.00 | © 1988

Asian Studies: South Asia

Religion: Comparative Studies and History of Religion, South and East Asian Religions

Table of Contents

List of Maps
List of Plates
List of Tables
Part I: From Gingee
1. Introduction: Invocatory Songs to Draupadi, "The Lady Who Resides in Gingee"
2. The Draupadi Cult: Its Historical and Regional Settings
A. The History of Gingee
B. The Core Area
3. Social Background, Diffusion, Variation, and Change
A. Vanniyars, Konars, and Velalar Mutaliyars
B. Parameters of Diffusion
C. The Case of Dindigul
4. The Sources of the Gingee Kingdom: The Living River and the Tree of Gold
A. The Living River
B. The Gold Tree of Gingee
5. Myths of the Melacceri Draupadi Temple
A. The Forest at the Northern Boundary
B. Draupadi, King Cunitan, and the Coming of Pottu Raja
C. The Stone Amman with Hair
6. Muttal Ravuttan: Draupadi’s Muslim Devotee
A. Muttal Ravuttan at Gingee: The Sacrifice of the Pregnant Sister
B. Muttal Ravuttan’s Conquests and Subjugation
C. Muttal Ravuttan’s Icons
Part II: The Kuruksetra
7. The Draupadi Cult’s Mahabharata: An Introduction
A. Three Levels of Performance: Piracankam, Kuttu, and Ritual Enactment
B. The Terukkuttu in Historical Perspective
C. Folk Drama Literature and the Festival’s Terukkuttu Performance Repertoire
8. The Death of Baka: Prelude to the Drama Cycle
9. For Openers: Beginning the Terukkuttu Cycle
A. Kannan Jalakkiritai, "Krsna’s Water Sports"
B. Turonaccari Yakacalai, "Dronacarya’s Sacrificial Hall"
C. Arccunan Vil Valaippu and Turopatai Malaiyitu, "Arjuna’s Bending of the Bow" and "The Garlanding of Draupadi"
10. Additional Marriages
A. Bhima and Hidimba
B. Arjuna’s "Pilgrimage"
11. The Two Sabhas: "The Rajasuya Sacrifice" and "Dice Match and Disrobing"
A. Irajacuya Yakam, "The Rajasuya Sacrifice"
B. Cutu-Tukilurital, "Dice Match and Disrobing"
C. Revilement, Possession, Devotion: The Drama and the Cult
12. Arjuna’s Tapas
13. Draupadi’s Forest Exile and the Period in Disguise: Virapancali, Puvalicci, and Kuravanci
A. Virapanncali
B. Puvalicci: Draupadi the "Flower Stringer" in the Kingdom of Virata
C. Draupadi Kuravanci"
14. Krsna the Messenger
15. Aravan’s Sacrifice
A. The Head Offering to the Goddess in Pallava and Chola Sculptures
B. Aravan’s Battlefield Sacrifice
16. Pormannan’s Fight: Pottu Raja at Kuruksetra
A. "Pormannan’s Fight"
B. Tamil and Telugu Variations in the Myths of Sister Goddesses
17. Pormannan’s Fight: The War King’s Weapons and Their Mythical Sources
A. Human Heads and Buffalo Tales
B. The Services of the War King
18. Kuruksetra: The Mahabharata War
A. The First Seventeen Days’ War
B. "Eighteenth-Day War"
19. When Draupadi Walked on Fire
Appendix 1. The Lunar Dynasty from Its Origins to Draupadi’s Second Advent at Gingee
Appendix 2. An Outline History of Gingee

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