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Kali worship and its implications for the study of Bengali women 1979

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) KALI WORSHIP AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE STUDY OF BENGALI WOMEN by Carolyn Helen F i l t e a u B.A., U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1976 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Anthropology and Sociology) We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA July, 1979 © Carolyn. le'Iem F i l t e a u , W1B In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department o r by his representatives. It is understood that copying o r publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of Anthropology The University of British Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 D a t e August 17, 1979 i i ABSTRACT The subject of t h i s thesis i s the d e s c r i p t i o n of the l o g i c of power r e l a t i o n s between men and women as they correspond with images held of K a l i , a Hindu goddess. K a l i i s described i n the r e l i g i o u s l i t e r a t u r e as both a benevolent mother goddess and a demonic shrew. K a l i i s seen here, i n my ana l y s i s , as a symbolic manifestation as well as a model for male-female i n t e r a c t i o n i n the t r a d i t i o n a l Indian society. The thesis serves as a prelude and j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r intended research i n Bengal. I t i s meant to challenge the notion that the s o c i a l worlds of men arid women can be reduced to two spheres (domestic and public) with power l i m i t e d to males i n a so - c a l l e d public arena. Power i s defined as that aspect of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s what has the e f f e c t of constraining or d i r e c t i n g the behavior of another (Belshaw 1967). Two features of K a l i are considered e s p e c i a l l y important; K a l i ' s dual-nature and the fact that i n India, women are seen as goddesses and goddesses as women. Mostly the analysis considers women as wives and mothers,however one chapter looks at the Indian courtesan. The courtesan represents an i n t e r e s t i n g j u x t a - p o s i t i o n of r e l a t i o n s with the wife. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would l i k e to express my appreciation to a l l those who contributed to the production and f i n a l completion of t h i s piece of work. Special thanks to Dr. Michael Ames, Dr. Brenda Beck and Dr.: Ken Burridge who i n d i v i d u a l l y i n s t i l l e d i n me a desire to do anthropology. In addition, I would l i k e to acknowledge a debt of gratitude to the Shastri Indo-Canadian I n s t i t u t e f or two excellent ethnographic experiences i n India. i v TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction 1 Chapter I - Who i s K a l i 12 A. H i s t o r i c a l Origins 12 (1) Pre or Non-Aryan Associations 13 (2) E a r l y Hindu Associations 14 (3) Tantra-Sakta Associations 17 (4) Bengal Associations 20 B. Who i s K a l i - What Constitutes the Whole 23 Chapter II - Toward a General Hypothesis concerning the Nature of Feminine Power i n the Indian Society...33 A. The Logic Behind the Hypothesis 34 B. Woman's Power and Authority as i t Corresponds to the P u b l i c and Private Spheres .35 C. The Achievement of Power through Dharmic and Adharmic Means ..38 D. In the Nature of Women 42 (i) Submissive/Terrifying 43 ( i i ) Honoring and Shaming 44 ( i i i ) P u r i f y i n g and P o l l u t i n g 45 (iv) Chaste and Unchaste 45 Chapter III - K a l i as Indian Woman, or, Indian Woman as Kali..48 1. The General Importance of Indian Marriage and the Role of Sakti 49 2. K a l i ' s Relationship to Indian Women i n the Religious T r a d i t i o n 50 3. The Ideal Indian Woman 55 A) Introduction 55 B) The Model Woman (the good or dharmic side) 57 C) The Other, or Adharmic Side 60 Chapter IV - K a l i and the Kama Sutra 69 A. Introduction 70 B. The Virtuous Woman and the Kama Sutra 71 C. The Courtesan and the Kama Sutra 72 D. Comparison between Ideal of Wife and Courtesan 75 E. Conclusion 80 V Chapter V - Conclusion 81 A. Harper's Theory 81 (i) Status and Power: Harper 81 (i) Status and Power: My argument 82 ( i i ) Dangerous or Malevolent Beings: Harper 83 ( i i ) Dangerous or Malevolent Beings: My argument 86 ( i i i ) R e a l i s t i c : Harper 86 ( i i i ) R e a l i s t i c : My argument 87 B. Where do We Go From Here 88 Footnotes 98 Bibliography 103 Appendix A 106 1. INTRODUCTION The purpose of a l l that i s to follow i s the exploration of the bases for conducting future research among the Bengali people (with a s p e c i f i c reference to women) with a view to ascertaining what r e l a t i o n s h i p e x i s t s noWi or has existed i n the past, between t h e i r s o c i a l behavior and the Goddess Durga-Kali. K a l i i s the t h e i s t i c manifestation of the r e l i g i o u s p r i n c i p l e of Sakti, or Power, or the p r o t o - t y p i c a l image of the worship of Feminine Power. As the Goddess (Devi) she i s regarded as both Mother of Timelessness and L i f e and Ar b i t r e s s of Time and Death."*" The only clue of an empirical nature that I have that there i s , i n f a c t , an e x i s t i n g association between the Goddess.and Bengali people themselves i s t h e i r own claim that "Every woman i s , i n some sense, a Mother K a l i . " The i n i t i a l i n s p i r a t i o n to do research among Indian women came over two years ago, during the course of an academic study among the East Indian Hindu community i n Vancouver. The o r i g i n a l purpose of the study was to attempt to discover to what extent t h i s immigrant group used f o l k l o r e i n the acc u l t u r a t i o n process. What struck me as most s i g n i f i c a n t , however, during the course of these interviews, was the women themselves: t h e i r a r t i c u l a t e n e s s , t h e i r assertiveness and t h e i r strength of purpose. Not only did women's own behavior influence me but also the a t t i t u d e of the men towards the women, which was d e f e r e n t i a l and r e s p e c t f u l . Having been 'brought up' i n the feminist t r a d i t i o n of the 60's and 70's - a t r a d i t i o n used i n an attempt by women to gain equal p o l i t i c a l and economic power - I was somehow unprepared (and I admit t h i s with 2. some embarrassment) for my rude awakening. Such t r a d i t i o n s not only taught one how to think and behave as a woman i n th i s society, but..they also taught one (unconsciously) how to believe other women, from other s o c i a l systems, were. Armed with notions of Indian women as 'meek, submissive beings' and myself well indoctrinated i n the t r a d i t i o n s of individualism, feminism and materialism, I was very quickly confronted by the f a l l a c y of my own bia s . The next important phase i n t h i s 'process of diminishing ignorance' came about one year l a t e r i n Bengal during a language study grant. The purpose behind t h i s study grant ( u n o f f i c i a l l y ) was to achieve some sort of understanding of the family network of r e l a t i o n s and more p a r t i c u l a r l y of the women i n i t . By t h i s time there was a greater abundance of back- ground material on Indian women i n my head - material r e l a t i n g to women's status i n society and t h e i r p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the family as daughters, as wives and as mothers. Many of my encounters took place with women who had no knowledge of English. To my surp r i s e , looking at the s i t u a t i o n from the outside and without the aid of a verbal dialogue, and hopefully achieving a more o b j e c t i v i s t or behavioral perspective, many of the more common North American stereotypes f i t . Women appeared to be dedicated, smiling, complacent and subservient to t h e i r menfolk. At the same time, subjecting myself to what I would c a l l some sort of 'psychological closeness' with them (and I am convinced that t h i s i s possible because there are unive r s a l forms of communication - for example, 3 . empathy - which, i f pursued with conviction, can be achieved) I became aware of the presence of what one might define as a strength of purpose 2 and a w i l l or sense of s e l f . The major problem at t h i s point became, of course, the problem of those anthropologists who attempt to convey i n i n t e l l e c t u a l terms an idea of selfhood. I t i s perhaps as d i f f i c u l t , i f not perhaps as impossible, as attempting to tr a n s l a t e the mystical, supra- i n t e l l e c t u a l , supra-sensory experience into words. And, even further, to convince the aet h i s t and s c i e n t i s t that God, i n f a c t , does e x i s t . The task was l a i d out for me. The challenge, then, was to move from some 'general mood which I presumably captured i n my s p i r i t u a l v e r s a t i l i t y ' to a 'set of r e a d i l y observable symbolic forms' and what might be l a b e l l e d a r a t i o n a l com- 3 prehension. Not t o t a l l y ignorant of these problems before leaving for India, I had given some thought to possible methods of i n v e s t i g a t i o n of 'women's selves.' Certain avenues of exploration were apparent. For example, t r a d i t i o n a l and contemporary novels written by and about women, various symbol systems, r e l i g i o u s l i t e r a t u r e and pr a c t i c e s , mythology and, of course, l a s t but not l e a s t , actual fieldwork which included an inves- t i g a t i o n of relevant s o c i a l ambiences. Actual fieldwork, of course, for the time being, was out of the question. Therefore, only the others remained v i a b l e . With the perspective i n mind that r e l i g i o u s symbols can be con- sidered, i n some r e a l sense, to act as a mirror of the s o c i o - p o l i t i c a l 4. structures of human r e l a t i o n s and further, perhaps to reveal some of the deeper structures of the human mind, I began randomly to c o l l e c t samples of female goddesses. Before long, the popular image of K a l i standing upon the prostrate body of Siva (Appendix A), a most out- standing representation of a male and female r e l a t i o n s h i p , e s p e c i a l l y i f one i s to believe that Bengali women are indeed submissive and sub- servient to t h e i r husbands, came to l i g h t . Further evidence, both from the r e l i g i o u s l i t e r a t u r e and from the people themselves . concerning the c e n t r a l i t y of K a l i to Bengal society indicated that there was merit i n attempting to discover the meaning of th i s image. It has become evident since that time that I am not alone i n my purs u i t s . There i s a f a i r l y s u b s t a n t i a l anthropological and psychological t r a d i t i o n that has attempted to explain the importance of the Mother Goddess f i g u r e i n ancient society. Most of these studies have included a search f o r an appropriate framework f or the c r o s s - c u l t u r a l analysis of women's status roles and a c t i v i t i e s . These explanations are based on c e r t a i n anthropological or psychological premises inv o l v i n g the use of concepts such as power/powerlessness, deference/privilege, sexual standards, p u r i t y / p o l l u t i o n , submission/dominance, status/lack of status and involve functional and s t r u c t u r a l - f u n c t i o n a l evolutionary theories of women's sit u a t i o n s i n society. Explanations for the source or cause of women's power (or lack of i t ) and the s i g n i f i c a n c e of a mother goddess fig u r e to the society or s o c i e t i e s involved mainly r e f e r to s o c i a l phenomena such as the d i v i s i o n of labor (more s p e c i f i c a l l y the nature of female l a b o r ) , women i n groups, m a t r i l i n e a l i t y and/or m a t r i l o c a l i t y , p a t r i - 5. l i n e a l i t y and/or p a t r i l o c a l i t y , r o l e d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n , property r i g h t s and r i g h t s of inheritance, polygyny versus polyandry and public versus the domestic or private sphere. These accounts, while not dealt with i n any great d e t a i l i n the the s i s , have been taken i n t o consideration as h i s t o r i c a l background i n the development of my own hypothesis. The hypothesis which I am presenting i s that K a l i i s a complex symbol which represents c e r t a i n Hindu s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s . As wife of Siva, as Mother, and as ultimately a female of dual aspects, She i s a manifestation of as we l l as a model for the i n t e r a c t i o n of men and women i n the Indian society. A more det a i l e d explanation of t h i s hypothesis w i l l be provided i n the second chapter. In s p i t e of the d i v e r s i t y of norms i n India, my studies i n d i c a t e that there i s s u f f i c i e n t i n t e g r a t i o n of c u l t u r a l premises and d e f i n i t i o n s to t a l k about patterns of c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and action i n the Indian family. Similar to the work of Inden and Nicholas (1977) on Bengal, I have attempted throughout to see the r e l a t i o n s between men and women i n India 4 through the more general categories and assumptions of that culture. While the thesis concentrates on the woman i n the Indian context, i t makes reference to other cultures as we l l . This comparative data i s included because i n so much of the l i t e r a t u r e I have come across the same c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of women and the same problems i n explaining women's behavior recur f o r the analyst. I t would, i n my opinion, be unnecessarily narrow and perhaps even be misleading to avoid reference to these studies. K a l i seems to be representative of the way many women are seen, are, and perhaps i n the f i n a l a n a l y s i s , see themselves. K a l i i s ambi- guous, as the Mother, the Cr e a t r i x j she i s good, protecting, benevolent and gentle; as Death and the Destroyer, she i s t e r r i f y i n g and dangerous. There i s much l i t e r a t u r e to refute the idea that women are dangerous or powerful; which claims that there have been only degrees of oppression of women over the centuries. Perhaps I am merely playing the d e v i l ' s advocate by arguing otherwise. However, simply on an e t h i c a l and l o g i c a l basis, the presumptuousness of western writers who attempt to class m i l l i o n s of women over centuries into one subservient and mindless lump i s motivation enough. This presumptuousness, to me, i n terms of arrogance, p a r a l l e l s that of the 19th C. B r i t i s h E v o l u t i o n i s t s and t h e i r view of p r i m i t i v e s as an i n f e r i o r species. The hypothesis which follows r e l a t e s to the l o g i c of power r e l a t i o n s and suggests that men i n positi o n s of public and p o l i t i c a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y are influenced by persons (in t h i s case wives and mothers) without tem- poral power who are 'free' from such r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . In t h i s a n alysis, the concepts of power and deference are d i f f e r e n t i a t e d as i n the t r a d i t i o n of Stephens (1963).^ Stephens admits that power i s more than a r i t u a l expression or a c u l t u r a l expectation, as deference can be seen to be, and that i t i s more fundamental: power i s the 'rea l thing'. He argues furthermore that power i s more d i f f i c u l t for the ethnographer to observe and record because i t i s less public and less open to scrutiny. 7. By the term power, as i t i s used i n th i s instance i n r e l a t i o n to women, i s meant "that aspect of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s which has the e f f e c t of constraining or d i r e c t i n g the behavior of another."' 7 This d e f i n i t i o n of power i s , I believe, broad enough to incorporate such variables as authority, persuasion and influence. I t also suggests that power has some correspondence with s o c i a l roles rather than answering the question of whether i t has a locus i n i n d i v i d u a l s . Regardless of the source, i t i s something which c e r t a i n i n d i v i d u a l s (that i s , wives and mothers i n ce r t a i n s o c i e t i e s ) have access to and may learn to use e f f e c t i v e l y . Recent l i t e r a t u r e indicates a trend away from general studies which presume the dominance of the masculine sex toward the d e f i n i t i o n and i n v e s t i g a t i o n of more p a r t i c u l a r aspects of women's p o s i t i o n , leading to more refined studies of the various domains i n women's l i v e s and a c t i v i t i e s . Some analyses of power concentrate upon i n d i v i d u a l goals and strategies pursued i n the competition for power; Matthiasson (1975), Colleen (1974), Chinas (1973); Nelson (1974); Riegelhaupt (1967). I t i s my contention that women, as wives and mothers dependent on men as providers and as those responsible f or t h e i r economic well-being among other things tend, at the same time to be i n f l u e n t i a l upon that very p o s i t i o n of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y that man holds i n the society. Wives may threaten, enhance or, at the very l e a s t , help sustain t h e i r husband's status and his honor i n the community by t h e i r own behavior. Thus, i t i s a woman's p o s i t i o n of non-re s p o n s i b i l i t y i n th i s public sphere that can very well be used to wield power over her spouse. Men, by ei t h e r 8. accepting or being coerced into the r o l e of husband, become vulnerable to women's actions. According to Schneider, there i s an inseparable r e l a t i o n s h i p between g moral codes for conduct and i n h e r i t e d natural substance i n Bengal. Schneider's analysis concludes that some of the most important things used as symbols i n Bengali culture are; "a person's body ( s a r i r a ) , h i s house (grha), food (anna), semen (sukra) or seed ( b i j a ) , the womb (dharma), love (prema) and purity (sauca) and i t s opposite, impurity (asauca)". Women, i t appears, use these very symbols, consciously or unconsciously, to t h e i r own advantage. Through such s o c i a l and psychological mechanisms as the fear of p o l l u t i o n , public and. p r i v a t e anger, lack of respect or deference, domestic r i g h t s and sexual misbehavior, women can, and do, endanger men's s o c i a l status - as men and as honored persons i n the public sphere. The thesis constitutes a c r i t i q u e of Harper's "Fear and the Status of Women", which claims that 'groups of adults who lack power and prestige, who generally do the bidding of others, and who have minimal c o n t r o l over t h e i r own s o c i a l environment are l i k e l y to be portrayed as dangerous or 9 malevolent beings i n that society's b e l i e f system." Harper concludes, however, that there may be, i n f a c t , l i t t l e r e a l i s t i c basis for such fear. My own thesis presumes that the fear i s r e a l , that women are i n some sense dangerous to men and that there i s a s t r u c t u r a l basis to that fear. Further, the presence of t h i s fear i s manifested i n the behavior of men and women and i n t h e i r symbol systems. 9. The second portion of t h i s thesis concerns K a l i ' s dual nature and women's p o s i t i o n of 'no public r e s p o n s i b i l i t y ' but c a r r i e s i t one step further. The c o r o l l a r y i s that woman's p o s i t i o n of no pub l i c respon- s i b i l i t y places them i n a recurring state of l i m i n a l i t y or p e r i p h e r a l i t y . The way i n which the s i g n i f i c a n c e of such a l i m i n a l p o s i t i o n i s explained i s through the r e l i g i o u s p r i n c i p l e s of dharma and adharma, order and disorder. While perhaps for men there tend to be c u l t u r a l l y i n s t i t u t e d opportunities for l i m i n a l i t y , such as the ro l e of the Sanyasi, wars, i n i t i a t i o n ceremonies, pilgrimages among others, - these i n s t i t u t i o n s are l e s s frequently a v a i l a b l e to women. However, descriptions of women as ambiguous characters seem to support a notion that women constantly v a c i l l a t e between order and disorder i n t h e i r behavior. Yet the woman does not move from one s o c i a l p o s i t i o n to another, but con- s t a n t l y moves back and f o r t h between dharma and adharma. Such movement i s exhibited i n the two extreme aspects of her seen character, from a possible madness and uncontrolled behavior to loving and pure wife and mother. Another aspect of philosophies associated with women which i s explored i s that regarding acts of f a i t h and devotion. One of the statements made by a Bengali woman which most impressed me was an avowal of her b e l i e f that i f any woman continued to love her husband and to be devoted to him he would i n e v i t a b l y come to love her. In spi t e of any e f f o r t s made by me to argue t h i s p o s i t i o n , she was unshakeable. My skepticism and em p i r i c i s t bias came through: why would anyone surrender himself-herself to any other human being: I soon recognized the absence of t h i s sort of ' f a i t h ' i n much of contemporary thinking. In my opinion, i t i s the influence of the 10. p h i l o s o p h y o f the i n d i v i d u a l i s t and the p o s i t i v i s t which c r e a t e s d i f f i c u l t y f o r the s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t i n - h i s o r h e r attempts to comprehend the b e h a v i o r o f I n d i a n women. I t f u r t h e r l e a d s t o e f f o r t s to ' e x p l a i n away' c e r t a i n k i n d s o f phenomena (such as the f e a r o f women) as opposed to e f f o r t s to e x p l a i n them as t h i n g s of o n t o l o g i c a l r e a l i t y . S t a t e s of s u b m i s s i o n and d e d i c a t i o n such as the woman e x p e r i e n c e s i n her t o t a l l o v e and d e v o t i o n to her husband/God do not n e c e s s a r i l y t e r m i n a t e t h e r e . The woman can, i f she adheres to I n d i a n p h i l o s o p h i c a l and r e l i g i o u s p r i n c i p l e s , t r a n s c e n d h e r own r o l e , w h i l e a t the same time i d e n t i f y i n g w i t h i t , and g a i n a degree o f detachment. Such detachment i s a form o f power as i t e n a b l e s the i n d i v i d u a l t o c o n t r o l o r i n f l u e n c e h i s o r her own a c t i o n s , as w e l l as those of o t h e r s . D e v o t i o n becomes a form of tapas (or s t r e n g t h ) and can be used by women to e n s l a v e , ensnare o r c o n t r o l t h e i r husband's a c t i o n s . D e v o t i o n i s a l s o a form o f s e l f - d i s c i p l i n e , s i m i l a r t o t h e s e l f - d i s c i p l i n e p r a c t i c e d by the i n i t i a t e which enab l e s t h e i n d i v i d u a l t o u l t i m a t e l y g a i n a s p i r i t u a l power and to a c c e p t t h e i r s o c i a l r o l e . T h i s i m p l i e s , of c o u r s e , t h a t I n d i a n women a r e not w i t h o u t w i l l i n t h e i r d e v o t i o n nor w i t h o u t c o n s c i o u s n e s s of the power e n t a i l e d i n t h e i r d e v o t i o n . H o p e f u l l y , t h i s t h e s i s demonstrates t h a t t h i s i s e n t i r e l y l i k e l y . I t i s meant t o i l l u s t r a t e t h a t such a mechanism f o r a c h i e v i n g power i s b u i l t - i n t o the system o f w i f e l y d u t i e s and to c o u n t e r a c t assumptions t h a t d e d i c a t i o n and d e v e s t a t i o n a r e synonymous. T h e r e f o r e , i t seems t h a t the woman a c h i e v e s power through b o t h adharmic b e h a v i o r and through dharmic b e h a v i o r . Both a r e e s s e n t i a l t o her being. The nature of the r e a l i t y of the r o l e of wife and mother i s an ambiguous or ambivalent one. The female's access to power and her achievement of i t can only be accomplished because of her p o t e n t i a l to behave ambivalently; i n other words, she exerts power over men i n both the domestic and p u b l i c sphere because of her u n p r e d i c t a b i l i t y . In an attempt to demonstrate l o g i c a l l y the substance of the above hypothesis, I f i r s t provide a d e t a i l e d d e s c r i p t i o n of K a l i ' s charac- t e r i s t i c s , i ncluding her r e l a t i o n s h i p to her husband i n the r e l i g i o u s system, and then move on to .the s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h i s as i t r e l a t e s to l i t e r a t u r e regarding Indian women (including Indian courtesans as well as wives and mothers). In the concluding chapter, I suggest problems for f i e l d analysis of the female s e l f and her i n t e r a c t i o n with others. 12. CHAPTER I WHO IS KALI? A. H i s t o r i c a l Origins In s p i t e of some controversy among scholars, K a l i ' s o r i g i n s i n India have been frequently traced back to pre-aryan times and the female 1 2 i d o l s of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa some 3,000 years B.C. and associated with matriarchal society i n many h i s t o r i c a l , r e l i g i o u s and iconographic studies. According to these fi n d i n g s , she does not remain there. She has moved i n h i s t o r y through Indian r e l i g i o u s t r a d i t i o n s to take up a prominent place i n the Hindu pantheon and to e s t a b l i s h h e r s e l f i n the Tantric and Sakta r e l i g i o u s p r a c t i c e s as well as i n the Bengali devo- t i o n a l l i t e r a t u r e . While often associated with the Great Mother or Earth Goddess 3 complex of Non-Vedic times (giving her a peripheral character), many authors have indicated that she i s , i n f a c t , a legitimate part of l a t e r Hinduism. Many of the myths, r i t e s and f e s t i v i t i e s i n homage to the Goddess are p a r t i c u l a r l y associated with Bengal. This chapter provides an h i s t o r i c a l perspective to the question of K a l i ' s i d e n t i t y as i t has been written by those scholars concerned with placing K a l i i n her appropriate r e l i g i o / h i s t o r i c a l context. A. (1) Pre or Non-Aryan Associations Religious and iconographic studies have i l l u s t r a t e d the p r i m i t i v e , a b o r i g i n a l and archaic aspects of K a l i , or Durga-Kali as we l l as the features which are c a r r i e d on into l a t e r phases of Indian r e l i g i o n s . Neumann writes of the goddess of the dead who, he claims, i s one of the 4 e a r l i e s t forms of the contemporary Indian Goddess worshipped as Durga. Figures of the T e r r i b l e Mother have been found i n the very beginnings of Indian c u l t u r a l h i s t o r y - i n the temple s i t e s of the Zhob River Valley of Northern Baluchistan.^ Stone quotes Brown, claiming that the 'Great Mother i s not Aryan i n o r i g i n ' and i s , i n f a c t , quite d i f f e r e n t from the female d e i t i e s of the RgVeda, although she was l a t e r incorporated i n t o Brahmanic l i t e r a - 6 ture. "...Durga-Kali r i g h t l y belongs to a more expansive sphere of cu l t u r o - r e l i g i o u s a c t i v i t y which i n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y finds i t s e a r l i e s t manifestations i n the Upper P a l e o l i t h i c and Neo- l i t h i c periods of human evolution. As a 'feminine cipher' her ori g i n s are thus p r e - h i s t o r i c a l . The beginnings of her c u l t u r a l linkage and representational geneology carry us back towards ^ the contemplation and the immemorial f i g u r e of the Terra Mater." E. Washburn Hopkins says that " a l l these forms of Uma (-Amma, the Great Mother Goddess) go back to the p r i m i t i v e and univer s a l c u l t 8 of the Mother Goddess (cf. A d i t i ) . The name Uma i s of non-Sanskritic o r i g i n and has usually been associated with Ma or Amma (dravidian) 9 denoting Mother. These terms are connected with the Mother Goddess. Kinsley reminds us of the assumption that K a l i has an e s s e n t i a l l y indigenous non-Aryan character and i s often associated with t r i b a l groups l i v i n g on the periphery of Indian society. He stresses the f a c t , however, that at some point K a l i ceases to be an indigenous Goddess and gains a s i g n i f i c a n t prominence i n the Hindu pantheon, transcending her o r i g i n s . " ^ K a l i , ( o r Goddesses very much l i k e her) according to Kinsley, was recognized i n various parts of t r i b a l India and was not i d e n t i f i e d s p e c i f i c a l l y with any one indigenous group. She was known throughout the Vindhya Mountains, Tamilnad, Bengal, Assam, Orissa and Rajasthan and 'was seen p r i m a r i l y as a demonic shrew, worshipped by thieves or by c u l t s and peoples outside, or on the periphery of Hindu society. Durga-Kali has frequently been associated with blood s a c r i f i c i a l c u l t s i n India. It i s often assumed that the e a r l i e s t manifestations of these c u l t s were among the t r i b a l peoples.''""'" This ferocious, blood- t h i r s t y aspect of K a l i was to survive and carry on into the l a t e r t r a d i - t i o n s , as w i l l be seen when we look at her r o l e i n Hinduism. (2) Early Hindu Associations It appears as though Mother Goddess fi g u r e s , such as K a l i , took some time before being accepted into mainstream Hindu thought but, nevertheless, were to eventually receive acknowledgement. According to Battacharya, "We do not f i n d i n the early stratum of the Vedic l i t e r a t u r e ' the names of such Puranic Goddesses as Durga, Kali',T2 Ambika, Uma and others. It i s only i n the l a t e r Vedic l i t e r a t u r e that we f i n d stray mention of these d e i t i e s . As there i s no reference to these goddesses i n the RgVeda, we may presume that they were o r i g i n a l l y non-Vedic d e i t i e s l a t e r adopted by the Vedic Aryans. The d i f f e r e n t names of the Mother Goddess appear to have o r i g i n a l l y i ndicated d i f f e r e n t t r i b a l d e i t i e s , who were afterwards i d e n t i f i e d with the wife, or Siva Pasupati, the pre-Aryan god, known to have been worshipped by the Mohenjodero peoples."13 Marriott i d e n t i f i e s the intermixture of the L i t t l e and Great 14 T r a d i t i o n s ' d e i t i e s , demonstrating a reasonable uniformity i n t h e i r worship. According to Marriott, there i s a f a i r l y widespread (Mother) Goddess complex i n Indian religion,"'""' s p e c i f i c a l l y Hinduism, which v i r t u a l l y bridges the two t r a d i t i o n s . In Beane's view, c e r t a i n factors i l l u s t r a t e a structural-symbolic continuity to the Mother Goddess fi g u r e . These include a conception of a Mother i n the deity, transcendent 16 c r e a t i v i t y , protectiveness and a c c e s s i b i l i t y . P r y z l u s k i traces K a l i back, through A d i t i , to the Great Goddess of A s i a Minor. A d i t i , he says, i s an exception to the r u l e of the Vedas of male ascendancy over female goddesses."^ A d i t i ' s sovereignty i s unlimited, rendering her superior to the Gods. He then goes on to suggest that Kala i s an avatar of the Great Goddess. K a l i , i n t h i s 18 conception, i s the feminine form of Kala. Kinsley places K a l i ' s appearance i n the t r a d i t i o n as a goddess having a cycle of myths and a consistent d e s c r i p t i o n i n the epic and Puranic periods ( c i r c a 200 B.C. to A.D. 300) and states that possible prototypes of K a l i i n early l i t e r a t u r e are R a t r i devi (the Goddess 19 Night) and the demoness N i r r t i . In the process of pinpointing her o r i g i n s , he adopts a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t perspective from some of the other researchers. He states with c e r t a i n t y that K a l i i s a Hindu deity and a very popular one at that, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n Bengal. This popularity, he suggests, supports the notion that K a l i i s not an abberation of the t r a d i t i o n but i s a manifestation of c e r t a i n fundamental truths of the Hindu r e l i g i o u s and philosophic t r a d i t i o n s . I t i s K a l i ' s a s s o c i a t i o n with blood s a c r i f i c e , and her p o s i t i o n as a patron goddess of the infamous Thugs, Kinsley claims, that have won for her a 21 reputation simply as a manifestation of a Great Goddess or a dark 22 frig h t e n i n g abberation born of a crazed a b o r i g i n a l mind. Kinsley objects to the view of K a l i as maintaining e s s e n t i a l l y an indigenous, non-Aryan character and argues that she i s more than t h i s . One has to recognize, he says, that " K a l i has become a Hindu goddess, expressing the Hindu v i s i o n of things i n her own way. The point i s that K a l i ' s o r i g i n s do not and cannot adequately explain her subsequent h i s t o r y . She eventualy transcends her origins."23 In other words, while Kinsley does not deny K a l i ' s h i s t o r y as being to some extent a process of making her name an epithet of other goddesses, he claims She has an i d e n t i t y of her own and contributes something to the Great Tra d i t i o n s . In an attempt to explain the divine evolution, Battacharya claims that the only Gods that survive i n the h i s t o r y of r e l i g i o n are those 24 that absorb q u a l i t i e s of others and become composite characters. This i s true, he says, of many of the Earth Mothers and ultimately of the Goddess Durga, who was p r i m a r i l y a goddess of vegetation and f e r t i l i t y but also had associations with i n a c c e s s i b l e mountain regions. She was also depicted as equipped with arms and as a destroyer of enemies, a feature which i s said to be absent i n the conception of Parvati-Uma - one of the benign group. K a l i , Candika and others are associated with the group of destroyers while Durga i s a composite character said to unite the two independent streams. 17. Battacharya offers another possible reason for the s u r v i v a l of the Mother Goddess i n sectarian r e l i g i o n such as Vaisnavism and Saivism - supposedly the concept of a Mother Goddess was so deeply rooted i n the Indian mind that i t had to find a place of significance and a r a t i o n a l i - 25 zation to accompany i t s acceptance. While the preceding arguments concerning the origins of K a l i indicate the existence of some controversy, a l l those referred to agree on one central point. K a l i has associations with pre- or non-Aryan traditions which involve the r e i f i c a t i o n of a Mother or Earth Goddess and has been only l a t e r accepted into the Hindu pantheon. Allowing t h i s , then, j u s t what part does K a l i play i n the Greater Hindu Traditions? (3) Tantra-Sakta Associations I t seems that while the goddess as a r e l i g i o u s symbol achieved recognition i n Hinduism long before the r i s e of the Great Tantric r e l i g i o u s and philosophical movement, i t i s only with the emergence of the goddess worship sect (that i s , the Saktas) that She gains f u l l recognition. Kinsley reminds us that while goddesses were known and worshipped pr i o r to Tantrism, i t was from the 7th C. onward that they assumed an increased popularity far greater than anything of the past. In the Tantric l i t e r a t u r e , K a l i i s affirmed as a great deity, and i n fact i s often the supreme<deity, equivalent to the Brahman. This i s confirmed by Zimmer, who states that "Brahman and Sakti are i d e n t i c a l , i f you accept 26 the one you must accept the other." The notion of play ( l i l a ) of the Goddess i s a fundamental aspect of the Tantric philosophy and i t i s believed that the Primordial Power i s 18. always at play - She creates, preserves and destroys while at play. This Power i s c a l l e d Kali/Brahman. When i t i s i n a c t i v e , i t i s Brahman; when i t i s engaged i n the a c t i v i t i e s of creation, preservation and destruction, i t i s c a l l e d K a l i or Sakti. Ramakrishna said "The r e a l i t y i s one and the 27 same; the differ e n c e i s i n name and form." Another p h i l o s o p h i c a l aspect of the K a l i r e l i g i o u s t r a d i t i o n i s that She represents, i n some sense, Maya, or contingent r e a l i t y , as opposed to r e a l i t y or true seeing. The s p i r i t u a l adventurer must remove the v e i l of maya before he i s able to confront h i s true s e l f and the divin e . K a l i ' s association with death and fear presumably presents a challenge to the Tantra hero. The forbidden i s not to be 'propitiated, feared, ignored or avoided' but rather i s to be confronted, overcome and transformed into 28 a v e h i c l e of salvation. Marshall implies that the Saktism which arose i n India might have developed out of the ancient Mother Goddess c u l t and that t h i s p r i m i t i v e goddess might have been transformed i n t o a p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of feminine energy (Sakti) and that what followed was "a conception of the eternal productive p r i n c i p l e (prakrti) united with the eternal male p r i n c i p l e (purusa)." Although the association between Tantrism and Saktism i s 29 not always made c l e a r , N.N. Vasu informs us that Tantrism " r e a l l y means the worship of Sakti, or female energy. The female energy i s worshipped i n conjunction with male energy. The union of male and female i s the essence of Tantra."30 The supreme Sakta i s worshipped by many names and i n many forms - some gentle, some formidable - and she may be referred to as Devi (Goddess), Uma, P a r v a t i , Ambika, K a l i , Durga, S a t i , Padmi, Candi, S i t a l a and others." A l l i s the Mother and She i s r e a l i t y i t s e l f . "Saham (She I am), the 19. Sakta says, and a l l that he senses Is She i n the form i n which he 31 perceives her.' However, the r e a l i t y of the manifestations i s not fixed or permanent, and only the causal Power endures. Therefore, Shakti, i n theShakta t r a d i t i o n , i s the a c t i v e aspect of the immanent God. " p h i l o s o p h i c a l l y speaking, Shiva i s the unchanging Consciousness, and Sakti i s i t s changing Power appearing as mind and matter. Siva-Sakti i s therefore Consciousness and i t s Power."32 In some Hindu teachings, the male and female p r i n c i p l e s are regarded as complementary aspects of the same monism; among the Shaktas, however, the Great Goddess i s the p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of a primordial energy and the source of a l l cosmic and d i v i n e evolution. She i s the supreme being 33 and the source as well as the c o n t r o l l e r of nature. Dasgupta, i n w r i t i n g on the primordial goddess, claims that the general view among r e l i g i o u s philosophers i s that P r a k r t i (female p r i n c i p l e ) existed alone, before creation, unmanifested. Through the Purusa (male power) the creation began. A deeper analysis of P r a k r t i p r i n c i p l e reveals the three powers or q u a l i t i e s - the gunas (sattva, rajas and tamas) - of which P r a k r t i i s constituted. Sattva ref e r s to the " i d e a l state of being; goodness, 34 p e r f e c t i o n , c r y s t a l p u r i t y , immaculate c l a r i t y and utter quiet." Rajas, on the other hand, means impurity or passion and i n reference to the female body means menstruation or dust. Tamas translates as 'dark- ness, black, dark-blue and i s the "basis of a l l lack of f e e l i n g , dullness, 35 ruthlessness, i n s e n s i b i l i t y and i n e r t i a . " Tamas serves to hold the universe together by counterbalancing the explosive aspect of r a j a s . 20. There i s , i n my opinion, no d i f f i c u l t y i n drawing p a r a l l e l s between the three gunas and K a l i i n her many aspects - sattva, the i d e a l or good Mother; r a j a s , female impurity, blood and passion, representing the dan- gerous or destructive side of K a l i and the force responsible for her explosions, and tamas, which r e l a t e s to her i n d i f f e r e n c e and black or blue color. This r e l a t i o n s h i p between Purusa and P r a k r t i i s c l e a r l y i l l u s t r a t e d i n the following statement made by Parvati to Siva i n the Siva Puranas. Parvati's claim i s intended to remind Siva of his dependence upon her power: "That energy i s P r a k r t i , the cause of a l l a c t i v i t i e s . . . A l l these (the universe, etc.) are bound by P a r k r t i continuously...What you hear, what you eat, what you see and what you do - a l l these are e s s e n t i a l l y the a c t i v i t i e s of P r a k r t i . . . I am P r a k r t i and you are Purusa...With my blessing you become q u a l i t a t i v e and embodied. Without me, you are a t t r i b u t e l e s s and incompetent to perform any a c t i v i t y . Being always subservient to P r a k r t i , you perform a l l a c t i v i t i e s . . . Y o u are worthy of the worship, respect and meditation of a l l l i v i n g beings for ever, thanks to P r a k r t i . " (S.P. 520-521). (4) Bengal Associations As a f i n a l aspect of t h i s b r i e f overview of K a l i ' s r e l i g i o u s h i s t o r y , the following i s concerned with i d e n t i f y i n g elements of Her influence upon and r e l a t i o n s h i p to Bengal. One of the most important 36 influences derives from the works of the Bengali bhakti d e v o t i o n a l i s t s . The philosophy behind t h i s bhakti worship i s that one approaches God through a human r e l a t i o n s h i p . The whole world i s L i l a , the God's play. One can either f i g h t the joke or become an a c t i v e part of i t . I d e n t i - f i c a t i o n with the God comes through love, (earthly l o v e ) , transformed 21. i n t o love for God. Some followers can most e a s i l y adopt or spontaneously f e e l the love of a c h i l d , the love of a lover, the love of a f r i e n d , etc. Bhakti demands devotion, f a i t h , t r u s t and love as opposed to mental processes or meditation. F i n a l absorption i n the L i l a i s s a l v a t i o n . Such devotion was that of S r i Ramakrishna and Ramprasad Sen, two well-known Bengali Shakta devotees, for the Goddess K a l i . Kinsley claims that i t i s d i f f i c u l t to exaggerate the importance of Ramprasad i n the h i s t o r y of K a l i ' s worship i n Bengal. Before him, her worship was f a i r l y esoteric,. performed i n p r i v a t e by Tantric i n d i v i d u a l s . With Ramprasad, 37 K a l i worship became public and appropriate to the masses. Ramakrishna (1836-86) also doted upon Mother K a l i f or most of h i s l i f e "The world i s created by K a l i i n play and for her amusement. The world - l i f e and p a r t i c u l a r l y i n d i v i d u a l biographies - delights her. Man, as her plaything, her toy, her puppet, finds f u l f i l l - ment i n j o i n i n g K a l i ' s play, i n clapping h i s hands i n d e l i g h t , i n giving himself up i n self-surrender to her mad escapade. He i s redeemed when he l e t s go of adult pretensions and y i e l d s to the Mother's game."38 K a l i ' s popularity i n Bengal i s manifested i n several ways - i n the form of images as well as a c t i v e worship and r i t u a l f e s t i v i t i e s . For example, representations are found i n thousands of Temples throughout 39 the area , including a large cremation ground i n South Calcutta where a very large image i s located. Funeral processions are massive and often accompanied by animal s a c r i f i c e . 40 Even i n present times, the Temple of K a l i (Kalighat) i n Calcutta i s famous f o r i t s blood o f f e r i n g s and, according to Lederer, i s probably the bloodiest sanctum on earth. " i n the temple, which serves as slaughterhouse a l l year round, animals are decapitated and t h e i r heads, l i k e trophies, p i l e d up i n high mounds before the Goddess. The f a i t h f u l carry the carcassed home, for a f e s t i v e family meal; but the spurting blood - the l i f e blood - belongs to the goddess from whom i t came, as a return of the g i f t of l i f e she bestowed."41 The r i t u a l s a c r i f i c e i s presided over by Brahman p r i e s t s who are not prohibited from s a c r i f i c i n g the animals themselves. Both the p r i e s t s and devotees (and pil g r i m s , I have heard) partake of the s a c r i f i c e as 42 Prasad a f t e r the symbolic eating by K a l i . In the autumn, pilgrims t r a v e l to the annual f e s t i v a l , the K a l i puja, where, according to 43 some, some 800 goats are slaughtered i n three days. The Kumari Puja (that i s , the adoration of a maiden) began t r a d i t i o n a l l y at the new moon and lasted f i f t e e n nights. I t involves the r i t u a l worship of sixteen maidens or v i r g i n s who must be aged from 44 one to sixteen. I have been t o l d that t h i s p r a c t i c e i s s t i l l c a r r i e d on i n some parts of Bengal today. Such a varied number of appearances and established practices i n honor of the Goddess substantiate the r e a l i t y of her presence i n th i s area. It may sa f e l y be concluded, I believe, non-facetiously, that K a l i i s a l i v e and well and l i v i n g i n Bengal. B. WHO IS KALI - WHAT CONSTITUTES THE WHOLE? Up to t h i s point we have attempted to e s t a b l i s h K a l i ' s i d e n t i t y by tra c i n g her h i s t o r i c a l presence as researched mostly by western 45 authors. What I have described so f a r provides a p i c t u r e of K a l i as maintaining s t r u c t u r a l continuity as an important pre or Non- Aryan as w e l l as Hindu deity. In other words, She i s a part of the Indian past as w e l l as an i n f l u e n t i a l presence i n the Indian present. The primary task of t h i s work i s not s o l e l y to e s t a b l i s h what s i g n i f i c a n c e K a l i has i n r e l i g i o u s or l i t e r a r y terms, however, but also i n terms of the people involved with K a l i worship and t h e i r s o c i a l and psychological networks. Before preceding further with t h i s pro- posed task, l e t us conclude the iconographic, h i s t o r i c a l and r e l i g i o u s i n v e s t i g a t i o n of 'Who K a l i i s ' by looking at Her image as an a c t i v e l y worshipped deity - a dual-natured Goddess figure. 24. I t i s not uncommon i n the Hindu t r a d i t i o n to symbolize aspects of an opposing nature by two d e i t i e s (Siva-Sakti, Ram-Sita, Visnu-Parvati) or by one deity e x h i b i t i n g both natures. In the case of the Goddess K a l i , i n each perspective to be considered (Theosophist, S a n s k r i t i c , epic, Bengali) the same image i s repeated: an image of a Goddess with d u a l i s t i c q u a l i t i e s . The following i s a statement e l i c i t e d from a Bengali Sanskrit scholar i n answer to the question 'Who i s Kali'? I t stands, at the moment, as one of the few examples a v a i l a b l e to me of the Bengali contemporary concept of K a l i . Hereafter the d e s c r i p t i o n again must r e l y upon i n f o r - mation extracted from r e l i g i o u s texts and/or Western or Indian scholars' i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of those texts. "Sree Sree K a l i : D erivative meaning: - One who devours, that i s , destroys (this i s who i s the author of ultimate destruction of the creation) i s Mahakal and who devours and destroys even Him (that i s engulfs Him or makes him powerless) i s K a l i . K a l i i s the cause of a l l causes, the t o t a l i t y of ultimate powers from whom the whole of creation has come out - or emanated, and the e n t i r e Universe as well as a l l power and energy are but manifesta- tions of that Great Power. This power has been named by the Hindus as K a l i . This power has also been named d i f f e r e n t l y as Durga, Jagadhatri, Annapurna, Lakshmi and Sarasvati and others as they represent the d i f f e r e n t aspects of manifestations, and wield d i f f e r e n t powers for diverse purposes. K a l i has been eulogised and worshipped i n pra y e r f u l hymns giving her e n t h r a l l i n g features by the devotees. One such hymn reads as follows: Her body bears the hue and l u s t r e of newly formed clouds, so enchanting and b e a u t i f u l . She i s always beaming with laughter, her eyes are as bright as li g h t e n i n g . The earth tremors under her heavy footsteps. I bow at her benign feet , she i s l i k e the creeper which f u l f i l s a l l our desires. She has found hands, one holding a human head, one a sword, one showering blessings and other giving solace and assurance to the a f f l i c t e d from e v i l s and fears. On her waist dangles the hands of demons and d e v i l s (whom she has destroyed) and her look i s fi x e d on Siva (whose power she i s and has come out of him) and who i s l y i n g prostrate at her feet (being without any power). I bow at her benign feet, she i s l i k e the creeper which f u l f i l s a l l our desires. She revels i n war dance (against e v i l s and wickedness), her feet are worshipped by Brahma, (hero of creation), Vishnu (hero of protection) and Siva (hero of destruction). I bow at her benign feet, she i s l i k e the creeper which f u l f i l s a l l our desires. She wears a garland of human heads (of the wicked she has k i l l e d ) , her long hairs reach her feet. She i s the Mother of the whole world and she dispels a f f l i c t i o n s from the world. I bow at her benign feet, she i s l i k e the creeper which f u l f i l s a l l our desires." The dual aspects of K a l i ' s nature i s c l e a r l y revealed i n both the general d e s c r i p t i o n and i n the devotional hymn dedicated to her which preceded. K a l i destroys creation and at the same time i s the cause of a l l causes; she i s enchanting and b e a u t i f u l , beaming with laughter and at the same time wears a garland of severed human heads and dangles demons and d e v i l s ; she destroys wickedness and at the same time gives solace and assurance to the a f f l i c t e d from e v i l s and fears; and f i n a l l y , she i s described as both emanating from and as Shiva's power and 26. frequently appears with Shiva l y i n g prostrate at her feet i n a state of presumed powerlessness. Zimmer quotes S r i Ramakrishna, the Bengali Shakta devotee: "Smasana-Kali i s the embodiment of the power of destruction. She resides i n the cremation ground, surrounded by corpses, j a c k e l s , and t e r r i b l e female s p i r i t s . From her mouth flows a stream of blood, from her neck hangs a garland of human heads and around her waist i s a g i r d l e made of human hands."46 But as the reader w i l l r e c a l l from e a r l i e r accounts of Ramakrishna's devotion to the Mother, her dishevelled appearance i s of no consequence. She i s w i l d and ferocious, but she i s the Mother and the object of h i s love and devotion. In his account of K a l i he follows up h i s statement concerning her alleged destruction of the universe with a claim that the "Divine Mother garners the seeds f o r the next creation. According to Neumann, there are three commonly occurring ' t e r r i b l e ' images of K a l i : one with "many!arms, hideously squatting amid a halo of flames, devouring the e n t r a i l s that form a deathly u m b i l i c a l cord between the corpse's open b e l l y and her own g u l l e t . " A second h o r r i b l e representation i s a K a l i " c l a d i n the nocturnal black of the earth goddesses and adorned with the hacked-off hands and heads of her vi c t i m s . " I t i s thi s representation i n which She i s usually pictured standing atop the corpse of Shiva. The t h i r d image has two hands; one extended, the other 48 stroking the heads of cobras. " Nathan and Seely introduce t h e i r t r a n s l a t i o n s of Ramprasad's poetry by questioning the nature of what they perceive to be contradictions appearing i n his devotional songs to K a l i . They state that "Some epithets for Her denote a lov i n g mother or lovable c h i l d , while others i n d i c a t e an overwhelmingly destructive force. Some point to a transcendent deity, others to the disreputable spouse of the supreme deity, Shiva, forbidding denizen of mountaintops and graveyards." They emphasize, as others have, that while she i s addressed as the mother of the three worlds, she i s also known as " K a l i , the Dark One, of t e r r i b l e and menacing aspect." K a l i ' s both f i e r c e and p r o t e c t i v e nature, her associations with good and e v i l , her benevolence and her cru e l t y , her power over l i f e and death, her dedication and her i n d i f f e r e n c e can a l l be seen through the eyes of the devotee's poetry: I Remember, you're the cord connecting Every good and e v i l and I's a t o o l t i e d to i l l u s i o n . Your name can b l o t out the fear Of Death — Shiva said, But T e r r i b l e One, You forget a l l that, Absorbed i n Shiva, Death and Time. Prasad says: Your games, Mother, are mysteries. You make and break. You've broken me i n t h i s l i f e . 4 9 Here we are reminded of K a l i ' s 'Rajas-aspect', and the importance of L i l a and Maya i n the understanding of her character. II When a c h i l d i s bad, h i s parents correct him, But you can watch Death come at me With murder i n His heart and turn away yawning. Ramprasad asks: Who taught you to be so cold? If you want to be l i k e your Father — Stone — don't c a l l Yourself the Mother.5.0 The second piece could be said to c a l l note to K a l i ' s 'Tamas-like' q u a l i t y - her cold i n d i f f e r e n c e to her own son. 28. I l l Mother, incomparably arrayed, Hair f l y i n g , stripped down, You battle-dance on Shiva's heart, A garland of heads that bounce o f f Your heavy hips,chopped-off hands For a b e l t , the bodies of infants For earrings, and the l i p s , the teeth l i k e jasmine, the face A lotus blossomed, the laugh, And the dark body b o i l i n g up and out Like a storm cloud, and those feet Whose beauty i s only deepened by blood. So Prasad c r i e s : My mind i s dancing Can I take much more? Can I bear An impossible beauty? 51 And f i n a l l y , i n this l a s t poem, K a l i ' s c o n t r a r i e t y i s clear - She i s blood and passion (rajas) and she i s simultaneously b e a u t i f u l and i d e a l (Sattvas). In summary, K a l i i s mad (insane), she i s Mother, she destroys, she gives b i r t h and loves, she devours, and she creates. She obviously ex i s t s as a power i n the universe to be feared, respected and loved with utmost devotion. Nathan and Seely, as w i l l be noted from the above reference to t h e i r work, have referred to the major aspects of K a l i ' s or Durga's nature as contradictory. The j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r the use of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r term seems to s l i p away, however, as t h e i r analysis of the Goddess worship proceeds. I n i t i a l l y , they inform us that Ramprasad responds to the Goddesses' various aspects and names. According to them, some of the Goddesses' forms and t i t l e s f l a t l y contradict others and there i s no clear d e f i n i t i o n of her character.^2 This, they go on to say, however, i s only r e a l l y a problem i f She i s seen as human..."Seen as a p r i n c i p l e , 53 She deserves her many names." She i s a v i t a l p r i n c i p l e of the universe, 29. which has many faces, ranging from gracious to i n d i f f e r e n t to c r u e l and destructive. To K a l i ' s devotees, they say, "There i s no simple way of perceiving the mystery of r e a l i t y , at l e a s t not i n human terms . ' \ 5 4 One could conclude from t h i s that K a l i ' s aspects are only contradictory i f her c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s are regarded as human. If they are seen as a Hindu p r i n c i p l e , there i s no contradiction. Why, then, do they add confusion at t h i s point by making the statement that "The sum of a l l her representations, however, points to an overwhelming paradox commanding awed worship beyond conventional usage, j u s t as K a l i and her husband stand outside the s o c i a l order i n t h e i r behavior and habitat." 5 5 F i r s t , l e t me draw the reader's attention to the l a s t part of t h i s statement which refers to K a l i ' s and her husband's extraordinary behavior. They are said to 'stand outside the s o c i a l order.' The s i g n i f i c a n c e of this p a r t i c u l a r statement w i l l be discussed i n Chapter I I . A second point of consideration and one which i s relevant to the immediate issue, i s th e i r reference to an overwhelming paradox i n K a l i ' s representations. We are back to the a l l u s i o n s toward contradiction. The problem, and the confusion as I see i t , l i e s within the nature of the Hindu philosophy i t s e l f . To deny that the Hindu r e l i g i o u s philosophy admits to contra- d i c t i o n (or something s i m i l a r to th i s ) i s perhaps to deny the true nature of the system of b e l i e f s i t s e l f . In my evaluation of the nature of K a l i ' s aspects, I have tended to avoid the usage of the term contradictory because t h i s term i s often construed as meaning the existence of a l o g i c a l i n c o m p a t i b i l i t y . However, i f taken to r e f e r s o l e l y to the opposition of f a c t s , forces, tendencies, 30. q u a l i t i e s or events then the term i s c e r t a i n l y appropriate here. Des- c r i p t i v e terms which w i l l more often be used include ambiguous, inconstant, ambivalent and unpredictable. The meaning or j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r these terms i s c l a r i f i e d below. K a l i ' s destructive aspect, as opposed to her benevolent, creative or mothering aspect, from a great majority of accounts i s w i l f u l and d i s - r e s p e c t f u l of ordinary human values. K a l i not only destroys demons and d e v i l s , but she i s known to destroy c h i l d r e n and infants as we l l . Poem No. I l l states e x p l i c i t l y that K a l i sports 'the bodies of infants f o r earrings' and other images describe her as wearing a g i r d l e of children's heads. This indicates that K a l i k i l l s not only to protect her o f f s p r i n g but for other motivations as we l l . K a l i may also be characterized as ambiguous. Ambiguity, as I employ the term, does not mean looseness or vagueness. Rather, ambiguity i s applied only when i t can be shown that there e x i s t s the opposition or contraposition of two or more meanings inherent i n one word or symbol or i n a consistent set of metaphoric or symbolic words. Further, i t i s used when i t can be shown that some thing or some being i s capable of being c l a s s i f i e d i n two or more categories. K a l i , as a Hindu goddess, i s capable of being c l a s s i f i e d i n two categories. The name K a l i r e f e r s to two things at the same time and symbolizes i n one character, as has been shown^, the opposition or contraposition of two or more meanings. K a l i may also be described as inconsistent; an inconsistency r e s u l t - ing from her v a c i l l a t i o n between two opposing types of action or behavior. 31. This constant manifestation of ambivalence on K a l i ' s part, the o s c i l l a - t i o n expressed i n her behavior by a l t e r n a t i n g obedience and r e b e l l i o n , followed by self-reproach i s depicted s e n s i t i v e l y i n the following devotional poem: "Victory of Gauri, who stands her lower robe blood-spattered from the demon buffalo her spear has s l a i n shamefaced, as i f menstrous before the laughing eyes of Hara."57 But contrariety, or opposition, or contradiction i s not exclusive to K a l i , of course. The Hindu r e l i g i o n , rather than denying oppositions and contradictions, at one l e v e l revels i n them. Siva, too, manifests the same c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of contra r i e t y or contradiction. For example, i n the following poem regarding Siva's character, the term contradiction i s f r e e l y employed when the poet speaks of the Master: " I f he i s naked what need then has he of the bow? If armed with bow then why the holy ashes? If smeared with ashes what needs he with a woman? Or i f with her, then how can he hate Love?" Poor Bhrngin, seeing these h i s master's contradictions, has worried h i s body t i l l there's nothing l e f t but the hard bones -g knotted with tough sinew. (Yogesvara? Hanumannataka) ' That oppositions e x i s t i s an acknowledged fac t of the Hindu r e l i g i o n ; that t h i s i s not a problem of a l o g i c a l nature i s also a f a c t of Hindu relxgion. In acknowledging the oppositional nature of Hindu philosophy, however, i t should be pointed out that the author i s aware of a t h e o r e t i c a l question which underlies the hypothesis which she presents. I f not only goddesses such as K a l i express ambivalence and ambiguity, but gods l i k e Siva as w e l l , then how might t h i s f a c t a f f e c t the hypothesis, that goddesses represent or mirror female behavior. If male gods are characterized by two aspects; 32. might men then, following the o r i g i n a l hypothesis to i t s l o g i c a l con- c l u s i o n , gain power and control over women through inconsistent or unpredictable behavior. In other words, could i t be determined that the nature of the r e a l i t y of the l o g i c of power r e l a t i o n s as exercised by both males and females i s t r u l y a d i a l e c t i c a l p r i n c i p l e (based on contra- dic t i o n s ) as opposed to being l i n e a r or d i r e c t . This i s , i n f a c t , one p o s s i b i l i t y . There i s another, however. There i s reason to believe that the t r a i t s of destructiveness and creativeness i n male r e l i g i o u s figures may be expressed i n d i f f e r e n t ways than those of female f i g u r e s . Both the statement and the above problem concerning male and female repre- sentations would lead to a much more ambitious i n v e s t i g a t i o n of both gods and goddesses, and men and women, than the present thesis a n t i c i p a t e s . These, and other questions l i k e these, ave>fieldwork considerations and although not discussed extensively within, are touched upon throughout the work and are e s p e c i a l l y dealt with i n the concluding chapter. 33. CHAPTER II TOWARD A GENERAL HYPOTHESIS CONCERNING THE NATURE OF FEMININE POWER IN THE INDIAN SOCIETY This chapter sets out the t h e o r e t i c a l foundations of the analysis of Indian women (and men) v i s - a - v i s the Goddess K a l i . The foundation i s based upon the premise that there i s s u f f i c i e n t written material to support the suggested hypothesis that K a l i , as wife of Siva, as Mother and as a goddess characterized by contrasting aspects, r e f l e c t s female power r e l a t i o n s in-the Indian society. The res t of the essay i s an attempt to lay the groundwork for f i e l d research by demonstrating that there i s s u f f i c i e n t reason to carry on: the reason being that there i s l o g i c a l evidence, gleaned from secondary sources of various types, to support the notion that the image of the Goddess K a l i , standing a s t r i d e the prostrate body of Siva (Appendix A) bears a p a r t i c u l a r r e l a t i o n s h i p to the s o c i a l behavior of men and women i n Bengal. The determination of any discrepancy between K a l i ' s r e a l s i g n i f i c a n c e v i s - a - v i s Indian women and the hypothetical one which I now present can be determined only by such a prolonged period of fieldwork i n that area."*" Two important features of my own hypothesis w i l l be considered i n thi s chapter; f i r s t l y , the use (by myself and others) of c e r t a i n terms such as pub l i c and priv a t e (domestic) spheres and secondly, the ambiguity observed i n female action (in many s o c i e t i e s ) . While at the same time as the hypothesis acknowledges the existence of two separate spheres, i t attempts to emphasize the interdependence of the two spheres, rather than assuming a h i e r a r c h i c a l or e g a l i t a r i a n r e l a t i o n s h i p between men and women i n them. 34. Another important aspect of the analysis of Indian women i s my own b e l i e f that many s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s , looking at women i n t r a d i t i o n a l s o c i e t i e s , have tended to adopt c e r t a i n misconceptions about t h e i r s i t u a t i o n . These misconceptions appear to be a manifestation of the ' h i e r a r c h i c a l thinking' which occurs i n state s o c i e t i e s . One such assumption, for example, i s that decisions made by the female side of the population have l i t t l e or no influence on the male side and thus - . . . 2 on a very wide range of i n s t i t u t i o n s . Some authors, i n an e f f o r t to search f o r a more balanced d i s t r i b u - t i o n of power between the sexes, have come to the conclusion that androgyny 3 i s the only possible form of sexual e q u a l i t y . Most of these misconceptions and assumptions, i n my view, can be avoided by looking more c l o s e l y into structures of power r e l a t i o n s and analyzing what I believe to be an extremely important feature; that i s , the ambiguous nature of female actions. A. The Logic Behind the Hypothesis As the de s c r i p t i o n i n Chapter I has shown, K a l i can be described as an ambiguous female being. She i s wild, ferocious, untamed and destructive on the one hand, but she i s also c r e a t i v e , loving and bene- volent on the other. Again, s e t t i n g aside ambiguity as a word r e f e r - r i n g to vagueness or looseness, how are we s p e c i f i c a l l y using i t i n t h i s context. K a l i can be interpreted as ambiguous, by the outside observer, because of her behavior. She need not appear vague to the observer i n order to be c a l l e d ambiguous; she need only exhibit contrasting behaviors 3 5 . or q u a l i t i e s according to her w i l l or whim. And, as I have attempted to demonstrate i n Chapter I, she does exactly t h i s . To determine exactly how K a l i i s seen by the Indian observer i s an important task of fieldwork. Whether the actual word ambiguous would be used i n describing K a l i i s debatable, but that descriptions of her c o n f l i c t i n g or contrasting aspects e x i s t , as w e l l as accounts of her unpredictable behavior i n Indian mythology has been established. I t c e r t a i n l y seems that there i s a recognition of K a l i ' s inconsistency, at l e a s t . The f i n e r d e t a i l s of t h i s experience can be acquired only i n the context of Bengal. What must be explained i s how these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s represent women as they are seen i n Bengal or e l s e - where i n India. B. Woman's Power and Authority as i t Corresponds to the Public and P r i v a t e Spheres: As mentioned i n the beginning of this chapter, a commonly held assump- ti o n i n the anthropological l i t e r a t u r e i s that decisions made by the female side of the population have l i t t l e or no influence on a very wide range of a c t i v i t i e s . A fundamental feature of t h i s assumption i s that s o c i e t i e s are divided into two spheres or worlds corresponding to the two sexes. These two worlds are generally categorized as p r i v a t e or domestic (female) and p u b l i c (male). The c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of narrow and r e s t r i c t e d are a t t r i b u t e d to the p r i v a t e sphere while to the public sphere are a t t r i b u t e d the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of p o l i t i c a l , broad and expansive. A b e l i e f i n the segregation of the authority and power structures also e x i s t s , with the idea that the major portion of both i s contained within, and asserted from, the public sphere. 36. "The home i s regarded as the woman's for i n t e r n a l purposes. Her authority i n domestic a f f a i r s i s an established f a c t . For i n t e r n a l purposes, the home i s the man's, the assumption being that whatever a r t i c u l a t e s the household to the p u b l i c sphere i s by d e f i n i t i o n p o l i t i c a l and thereby a male concern. And the inference drawn from t h i s assumption i s that women are f a r more interested i n man's a f f a i r s than v i c e versa."4 In my opinion, i t i s not necessary to c o r r e l a t e the adoption of d i f f e r e n t r o l e s by men and women with the t o t a l dominance of one sex over the other. In other words, men and women's roles or spheres can be segregated or d i f f e r e n t i a t e d and s t i l l be complementary. I am i n f u l l sympathy with Cynthia Nelson's desire to "challenge the notion that the s o c i a l worlds of men and women, despite the element of segregation, are reducible to spheres of p r i v a t e and public with power l i m i t e d to males i n a so-called public arena."5 Authors l i k e Stephens w r i t i n g i n 1963 frequently claimed that men usually monopolize positions of authority and are more involved with formal p o l i t i c a l i n s t i t u t i o n s than women are.^ This often led to the conclusion that men are dominant and women powerless. Others, l i k e Rogers, argue that concentration upon formal forms of power i s misleading. She goes on to say that t h i s has resulted i n models which do not allow for the p o s s i b i l i t y of informal forms of power. The s o l u t i o n to t h i s problem, i n my view, i s not to allow ourselves to be t o t a l l y misled by such things as observed displays of public deference by the female members of the society. In my perspective, authority and power can be as much associated with those le s s commonly recognized and perhaps more subtle variables mentioned throughout t h i s thesis as they are with the more generally accepted ones such as ownership of land, the provision of h o s p i t a l i t y , 37. e x p l i c i t threats of violence, public p o l i t i c a l negotiations and so on. To determine to what extent the two spheres might be of a more com- plementary nature to one another than the l i t e r a t u r e would imply, I suggest we inves t i g a t e i n what ways women's cap a c i t i e s for i n f l u e n c i n g the behavior, (action) of others i s exhibited. I f I am correct, we could discover the existence of r e c i p r o c a l a c t i v i t i e s between men and women which involve the constant transference of power. As mentioned e a r l i e r , however, t h i s essay does not explore i n depth the nature of male forms of power. The recognition of the fact that men do exert power and con t r o l over women i s , of course, i m p l i c i t i n the argument i t s e l f . Women act defensively as we l l as o f f e n s i v e l y , which i s part of the r e c i p r o c i t y of power r e l a t i o n s between the two sexes. In order to aid i n determining the nature of t h i s power r e c i p r o c i t y , as a f i r s t step we must f i r s t allow for the p o s s i b i l i t y that "Women, l i k e other people, have goals and desires which go beyond t h e i r immediate s i t u a t i o n s - they might seek p o l i t i c a l power, co n t r o l over other persons, f i n a n c i a l s e c u r i t y , love, whatever. Feminine behavior, then, must be interpreted i n r e l a t i o n to the goals women are moving toward - to an extent, t h e i r actions are bound to be s t r a t e g i c a l l y chosen."7 This can be accomplished by looking at ways i n which women influence men by t h e i r own actions and how cont r o l may be exercised. As mentioned i n the introduction, greater attention to c e r t a i n symbols such as body, house, food, semen, seed, womb, love, p u r i t y and impurity would allow for a d i f f e r e n t perspective on the s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n of men and women. To 38. carry on t h i s a nalysis, I have categorized these symbols under a broader framework of chaste and unchaste, honoring and shaming, submissive and t e r r i f y i n g and p u r i f y i n g and p o l l u t i n g . By using these categories, i t becomes easier to perceive a super-structure of power and influence as i t a f f e c t s both men and women. How these categories are important should become clear as we proceed. C. The Achievement of Power through Dharmic and Adharmic Means The next portion of the argument i s based on three major conditions: 1) that Indian society, and generally other t r a d i t i o n a l s o c i e t i e s , have two d i s t i n c t spheres divided according to sex 2) that these spheres may be equal i n terms of the assessment of power and/or authority and 3) that there i s aniiriterdependence between the two worlds of men and women. Let us attempt to describe how t h i s interdependency may function. The best route to the e x p l i c a t i o n of female power as i t a f f e c t s men, as I determine i t , i s by analogy and through the understanding of the p r i n c i p l e s of order and disorder (dharma and adharma). In the Hindu r e l i g i o n , the world order i s Dharma, which i s that p r i n c i p l e by which the universe i s upheld. Without t h i s p r i n c i p l e , the world would f a l l to pieces and dissol v e into nothingness. Disorder (adharma) also e x i s t s , ,however, at the same time, and i n p a r t i c u l a r portions of the world. Order, i t i s believed, w i l l ultimately assert i t s e l f as i t i s i n the nature of things to do so. 39. According to t h i s r e l i g i o u s doctrine, the r e l i g i o u s man (or woman, as i t i s a c t u a l l y more relevant i n t h i s case) f e e l s he i s bound to a l l being. The i r r e l i g i o u s person, on the other hand, e g o t i s t i c a l l y considers everything from the viewpoint of himself and his (or her) own i n t e r e s t s , without concern for others. It i s assumed that i f such an a t t i t u d e were adopted by a l l , i t would lead to the negation of Cosmos; that i s , Chaos. This type of self-centeredness i s considered to be the root of a l l s i n or g disorder (adharma), while morality i s said to be the true nature of man. Men, I have said , i n many of the t r a d i t i o n a l s o c i e t i e s I have looked at, are usually given the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of the public sector - i t i s t h e i r o b l i g a t i o n to c o n t r o l the s o c i a l order. One of the c e n t r a l ways i n which they may achieve t h i s i s by maintaining t h e i r own status and prestige. In order to do so they must, at the same time, maintain order i n t h e i r family; that i s , they must con t r o l t h e i r wives. Women, however, i t seems are unpredictable and not always subject to these i d e a l s . Women then, as wives, as mothers, as p r o s t i t u t e s , and so on, have the p o t e n t i a l to threaten the dharma of society and thus to endanger men's prestige and p o s i t i o n . This i s a function of the interdependence of the two sexes and women's lack of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i n the public sphere, giving her constant access to adharmic forms of power. In attempting to make t h i s process c l e a r e r , I became aware that there were c e r t a i n s i m i l a r i t i e s and differences between my own d e s c r i p t i o n of the way i n which t h i s power i s achieved by women and other theories of s o c i a l action. Without weighing down t h i s chapter with . complex t h e o r e t i c a l comparisons, I w i l l b r i e f l y acknowledge them here to c l a r i f y for the reader my own p a r t i c u l a r d i r e c t i o n . 4 0 . The f i r s t example i s that of Turner's d e s c r i p t i o n of the achievement of power through the i n i t i a t i o n r i t u a l . The s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h i s compari- son, as I see i t , l i e s i n the t h e o r e t i c a l perspectives regarding the a c q u i s i t i o n or display of power. The i n i t i a t e , i n Turner's theory, disappears into the forest by himself, gains s p i r i t u a l power and returns 9 to society i n a state of madness where he i s overcome and eventually tamed. There are two events which ensue: 1) the i n i t i a t e i s reinstated into society, but moving up int o a new r o l e 2) he contributes some of his supernatural powers to the society i t s e l f . The woman's achievement of power does require the departure of the i n d i v i d u a l from the everyday i d e a l of s o c i a l behavior (dharmic behavior) and her adoption of a state of 'madness' (adharmic behavior)."^ L i m i n a l i t y , however, involves the obtainment of power by the i n d i v i d u a l through c e r t a i n i n t e n t i o n a l actions on his or her part. In the case of the woman, power i s gained or obtained through her own action though i t i s not determined i n t h i s thesis whether that action i s i n t e n t i o n a l or unintentional. Also, while there are s o c i a l consequences of obtaining or of the exercising of thi s power by the woman, she does not assume a new r o l e i n the society. Rather, she continues with the ol d one i n much the same manner as before. There are also c e r t a i n s i m i l a r i t i e s and differences between my analysis and Parson's theory of s o c i a l deviance. The s i g n i f i c a n c e of thi s comparison l i e s i n the t h e o r e t i c a l perspectives regarding i d e a l s , norms and deviations. I f one thinks about some of the representations of women as they appear i n the broad sampling of f o l k l o r e and l i t e r a t u r e written on or about women..of India, one becomes immediately aware of the the dangerous side of t h e i r behavior. Women are dangerous i n that they 41. seem to occasionally go out of c o n t r o l - at odds with order or dharma. Again l e t me state that i t i s not determined i n this thesis whether women a c t u a l l y do go out of co n t r o l , whether they merely assume a c e r t a i n type of behavior, or whether i t should even be properly c a l l e d going out of c o n t r o l . What i s determined i s that: 1) they are seen by others to be out of co n t r o l and that they do present an image which i s at odds with dharmic or ordered behavior, and 2) that they are, at l e a s t temporarily, beyond men's influence. Without belaboring t h i s comparison, i t seems at f i r s t glance that women i n India do deviate from the i d e a l or the normal expected behavior. According to Parson's theory, and others l i k e i t , the average person of any p a r t i c u l a r society conforms to the i d e a l . Anyone who deviates from that norm i s considered to be abnormal."'"''' In my understanding of the Indian context, there i s a high expectation on the part of the members of that society that women can at any time and do, with the required provocation, act i n an adharmic way. This has a p a r t i c u l a r a f f e c t on men. This s i t u a t i o n may be assessed by the s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t as a deviation from the i d e a l but i t i s not nec e s s a r i l y i n the Indian's experience a deviation from the norm. The emic expectation i s part of the r e a l i t y . Men continually a n t i c i p a t e the p o s s i b i l i t y of women's departure from the i d e a l . I t i s because of t h i s that women are seen through men's eyes as ambiguous (unpredictable) beings and consequently as beings who wield power over them. The nature of men's r e a l i t y i s that women behave ambiguously and not that they behave i n an i d e a l manner and occasionally 42. deviate from i t . And t h i s , i n my own estimation, i s i n the nature of the system i t s e l f . One of the major d i s t i n c t i o n s between my own hypothesis concerning the essence of feminine power and Parson's on deviance as I in t e r p r e t i t i s that deviance i s at t r i b u t e d to i n d i v i d u a l s . In the case of Indian women ambiguous behavior i s an a t t r i b u t e ascribed to women - not to in d i v i d u a l s . Ambiguity i s more than i n d i v i d u a l women deviating from a norm and then being characterized as bad or abnormal but i t i s considered to be i n the nature of women to behave ambiguously. In the concept of womanhood, there i s a notion of a being subject to c l a s s i f i c a t i o n i n two or more categories. The word woman refer s to two characterizations at the same time and symbolizes the contraposition of two meanings. This, i n my opinion, i s the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the statement "Every woman i s i n some sense a Maha K a l i . " D. In the Nature of Women The next portion of t h i s chapter i s included to i l l u s t r a t e more c l e a r l y what I mean by the dual nature of women are they are seen sim- ultaneously as p o l l u t i n g and p u r i f y i n g , submissive and dangerous, and so on. The descriptions presented are not confined s o l e l y to Indian women and show that descriptions of women, i n a broad range of l i t e r a t u r e , depict them as dual-natured and as powerful persons. The b r i e f examples which w i l l be offered under the dual-natured categories l i s t e d below i l l u s t r a t e both aspects of female behavior. 43. As an opening example, the hypothesis concerning woman's influence over the man's world, which a r i s e s as a r e s u l t of man's dependence upon women for h i s s o c i a l p o s i t i o n , i s i l l u s t r a t e d i n the German expression "Man without woman i s head without body, woman without man i s body without head." 12 The b e l i e f i n her access to such power i s described i n an even more poignant way by the French: "Women can do everything ^ because they r u l e those who command everything." ~(i) Submissive/Terrifying f Andrea Dworkin, i n her analysis of sexism, concludes that our childhood models, and t h e i r f e a r f u l , dreadful content, t e r r o r i z e s us into submission - i f we do not become good, then e v i l w i l l destroy us; i f we do not achieve the happy ending, then we w i l l drown i n the chaos. Grown men are t e r r i f i e d of the wicked witch, i n t e r n a l i z e d i n the deepest parts of memory. Women are no le s s t e r r i f i e d , for we know that not to be passive, innocent, and helpless i s to be a c t i v e l y evil.""'"''4 She argues that i n the function of motherhood, because i t i s a c t i v e , the image of woman i s one of "malice, devouring greed, and uncontainable avarice. She i s ruthless, b r u t a l , ambitious, a danger to c h i l d r e n and other l i v i n g things. Whether c a l l e d mother, queen, stepmother or wicked witch, she i s the wicked witch, the content of nightmare, the source of terror.""'""' According to her view, women that are powerful are bad, women that are good are i n e r t ; women 16 therefore s t r i v e for p a s s i v i t y because they want to be good. What Dworkin i s unconsciously r e f e r r i n g to i s the potency of women's 44. adharmic b e h a v i o r i n a f f e c t i n g the s o c i a l o r d e r ; i t throws the w o r l d of men and the s o c i e t y a t l a r g e i n t o chaos. Whether we c a l l i t the a c t i v e s i d e o f women, the o t h e r s i d e , o r t h e t e r r i f y i n g s i d e as I have r e f e r r e d to i t , i t e x i s t s as an ongoing p o t e n t i a l i t y and t h r e a t to men's p o s i t i o n . Some o f the images of women, as e x t r a c t e d from l e g e n d a r y and t r a d i t i o n a l t a l e s , f o l k rhymes, p r o v e r b i a l s a y i n g s , s u p e r s t i t i o n s , e t c . r e v e a l t h a t woman i s r e g a r d e d as b o t h a complex c r e a t u r e and a m i r a c l e of D i v i n e C o n t r a d i c t i o n s . ^ As L o r d Byron wrote, "What a s t r a n g e t h i n g i s man. And what a s t r a n g e r Is woman. What a w h i r l w i n d i s h e r head And what a w h i r l p o o l , f u l l o f depth and danger I s a l l the r e s t about h e r . "18 Women f r e q u e n t l y , i n Susan Rogers' words, w i e l d power which i s r e l a t e d 19 to the s u p e r n a t u r a l . She quotes P i t t - R i v e r s ' c l a i m t h a t a l l women a r e 20 b e l i e v e d to be p o t e n t i a l l y a b l e to evoke m a l e v o l e n t magic. Women t h r e a t e n men through the power of dangerous r e p r i s a l s . I n Chaouia s o c i e t y , women a r e s a i d to e x e r t t h e i r i n f l u e n c e o v e r the men through s o r c e r y . A s o r c e r e s s i s s a i d to have more power over a man than a s a i n t because of 2 h e r a b i l i t y t o d i v i n e the f u t u r e , enhance l o v e , d e t e r e v i l and h e a l i l l n e s s . ( i i ) H o noring and Shaming A d e s c r i p t i o n of woman's a b i l i t y t o p u b l i c l y shame men i s e x p r e s s e d i n t h e E a s t e r n adage "A v i r t u o u s w i f e causes h e r husband to be honored, a 22 bad one b r i n g s him t o shame." Cunnison sug g e s t s t h a t among the Baggara Arabs women have a p r o f o u n d i n f l u e n c e on p o l i t i c s by a c t i n g as a r b i t e r s of man's conduct. They have, he s a y s , the power to make or b r e a k a man's p o l i t i c a l c a r e e r . They do t h i s , he s a y s , by " s i n g i n g songs of p r a i s e or a l t e r n a t i v e l y o f mockery.... The 45. songs sweep the country, and the reputations are made and broken by them."23 Wolf also states that women bring to bear an important influence upon men's honor through informal group pressure. They also manage to a f f e c t a f f a i r s presumed to concern only men: "This i s p r e c i s e l y where women wield t h e i r power. When a man behaves i n a way they consider wrong, they t a l k about him - not only among themselves, but to t h e i r sons and husbands... i t becomes abundantly c l e a r that he i s lo s i n g face and by con- tinui n g i n t h i s manner may bring shame to the family of h i s ancestors and descendants. Few men w i l l r i s k that." 24 ( i i i ) P u r i f y i n g and P o l l u t i n g In many t r a d i t i o n a l s o c i e t i e s there i s often a p r o h i b i t i o n against the male members asso c i a t i o n with women before engaging i n important public enterprises such as going to war, to hunt, to f i s h or to conduct business. The fear of p o l l u t i o n has also led to the exclusion of women 25 from many r e l i g i o u s ceremonies. According to the authors of 'The Curse', even greater than h i s fear of death, dishonor or dismemberment, has been p r i m i t i v e man's respect for menstrual blood." The authors explain that the taboos of menstruation are designed to a i d others i n avoiding the 26 woman's dangerous influence and her deadly power. \...--Reich and Freud both agree that the o r i g i n of the menstrual taboo l i e s i n the 'ambivalent' attitudes towards women. (iv) Chaste and Unchaste The sexual misbehavior of women i s one of the most powerful weapons women have, i t seems, to threaten man's self-esteem and public image. Among Mzabite women, for example, there i s a b e l i e f that God's anger b e f a l l s the whole community as a r e s u l t of any sexual misconduct on the 46. part of women.> In Mundurucu society most men and women have occasional adulterous r e l a t i o n s . While men enter into them for v a r i e t y , adventure and p l a i n sex, the motivations of women are often mixed with some antipathy for a 28 husband and a wish to p u b l i c l y abase him. In c l o s i n g t h i s chapter, I submit the following statement. Women i n not only t r a d i t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n s but elsewhere as we l l are notoriously depicted as dangerous to man's comfortable existence i n the s o c i a l world. By f a i l i n g to conform with the prescribed behavior of submissiveness and s e l f - c o n t r o l , women become beings who threaten the order of men's world. I have used t h i s material to supplement what I f e e l i s s t i l l at th i s point somewhat sketchy data from the Indian s i t u a t i o n . The comparative accounts, however, not only support and help i l l u s t r a t e my own argument concerning the nature of Indian women as i t i s seen by the members of the Indian society, but introduces c e r t a i n constant anthropological problems regarding the value of emic or e t i c analyses. I t also advances the issue of universalism versus p a r t i c u l a r i s m . To elaborate: f i r s t l y , i f Indian woman are seen by others i n that society to be ambiguous, can the observer extrapolate from that to conclude that ambiguity i s i n the nature of r e a l i t y i t s e l f ? More p a r t i c u l a r l y , does the l o g i c of power r e l a t i o n s among the sexes i n Indian society operate on a d i a l e c t i c a l p r i n c i p l e of oppositions? I hypothesize that t h i s i s an appropriate d e s c r i p t i o n of the substance of those r e l a t i o n s . Secondly, 47. i f t h i s hypothesis can be extended to other s o c i e t i e s , does t h i s reveal more about the nature of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s or about the inherent nature of the sexes? Are we discovering more about the human b i o l o g i c a l system than about the nature and d i s t r i b u t i o n of power? However, having acknowledged the problem, l e t us return to the hypothesis at hand. The t h i r d and fourth chapters provide an in-depth analysis of Indian women and demonstrate how the l i t e r a t u r e does, i n f a c t , reveal them to be both submissive and dedicated as well as dangerous, p o l l u t i n g and threatening to Indian men. The main purpose of the next two chapters i s to determine what features are common to K a l i , the Hindu Goddess, and Indian women. 48. CHAPTER I I I KALI AS INDIAN WOMAN, OR, INDIAN WOMAN AS KALI What I have attempted to i l l u s t r a t e i n the second chapter i s that the notion that women play an ambivalent role i n the family appears to be common to many societies. As the dominant female figure i n the family, women have a certain degree of recognized or authorized control over the domestic realm of a c t i v i t y . At the same time, however, they have ind i r e c t influence over men and their world of public a c t i v i t y . While they are expected to act as wives and mothers and to exhibit certain acceptable t r a i t s or cha r a c t e r i s t i c s , they are known to frequently act i n contradictory ways. This chapter investigates the Indian woman i n marriage and explores the various ways i n which she exhibits signs of control and influence. More s p e c i f i c a l l y , I s h a l l look to see i n what way Indian women may be seen to exemplify the ambiguous aspects of the Goddess K a l i . By presenting images drawn from various types of l i t e r a t u r e , including re l i g i o u s l i t e r a t u r e , some f i c t i o n , mythology, and s o c i a l science analyses of the status of women i n India, i t i s expected that a general picture of the Indian woman should emerge. Correlated with t h i s , of course, i s the broader question, "In what way do Indian women threaten or maintain the dharma of society?" Through looking at religious writings which describe K a l i ' s relationship with Siva (along with the significance of marriage i t s e l f ) , I hope to be able to demonstrate c l e a r l y the Hindu i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of the Goddess with human behavior. In India, women are Goddesses, and Goddesses are women. What this says i s that Goddesses, while revered, 49. respected and worshipped as d e i t i e s , also have human c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . They are dual-natured and subject to human f r a i l t y . I t i s i n t h i s respect that Goddesses reveal the ambiguity of human female behavior. Brenda Beck, i n evaluating a Tamil Folk Epic, discovered that the epic "makes l i t t l e d i s t i n c t i o n between human and divine women at any point." For men, she claims, "the contrast, though not ever v i v i d , i s much c l e a r e r , " and goes on to say "But i f women are goddesses, so too are goddesses t y p i c a l women. Both are by t h e i r very c o n s t i t u t i o n female, or a l l that i s good and a l l that i s t e r r i f y i n g wrapped up i n one."l This i n t e r c h a n g e a b i l i t y i s an e s s e n t i a l key to understanding the importance of K a l i ' s ambivalent behavior. I f K a l i i s c r u e l , t e r r i f y i n g and destructive, and also benevolent, kind and creative ( e x h i b i t i n g some sort of remorse l a t e r ) : then can we f i n d these t r a i t s manifested i n descriptions of Indian women? 1. The General Importance of Indian Marriage and the Role of Sakti Marriage was an extremely important i n s t i t u t i o n . The union of the man and woman i n marriage was conceived of as the creation of a new androgynous being, with the wife taking up h a l f the body of her husband. Regarding Parvati's marriage, the following statement was made to her father Himavat "After p r o p i t i a t i n g Lord Siva, the Lord of a l l by the power of her penance, your daughter w i l l take away h a l f the body of Siva."2 The r e l a t i o n s h i p of Siva and Sakti i s held up as an i d e a l for a l l husbands 50. and wives. This i d e a l i s expressed i n the following passage: " S a t i and Siva are united together l i k e words and t h e i r meaning. Only i f they wish, can the separation be even imagined."3 "Just as the sun does not e x i s t without the l i g h t nor does the l i g h t thereof e x i s t without the sun, so also there i s mutual dependence between Sakti and Saktiman (Siva). There i s no Sakti without Siva and no Siva without Sakti.4 This i d e a l i s believed to be achieved through the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of. a l l with Sakti. " A l l men are i d e n t i c a l with Siva. A l l women are i d e n t i c a l with Mahesvari ( S a k t i ) . Hence a l l women have then exalted power".~* As Daniels h e r s e l f has discovered, t h i s reference to the con- tainment of Siva's and Sakti's superhuman power i n the ordinary man and woman i n the family means that the r o l e of the Goddess as the Sakti (power) of the universe i s recreated i n the woman i n the microcosm of the family. The r e a l Indian husband, l i k e the God Siva, "depends upon the s a k t i of a woman for h i s very existence and f o r the sustaining force of his l i f e . " 6 "Without you (goddess), even the Lord i s not competent to bestow the benefits of his duty".7 2. K a l i ' s Relationship to Indian Women i n the Religious T r a d i t i o n In Chapter One I introduced one image of K a l i expressed i n Ramprasad's poetry which I f e e l demonstrates i n a dramatic way her feminine charac- t e r i s t i c s and suggests both her destructive powers and her (perhaps deliberate) concealment of such powers. In i t s own way, i n my opinion, i t encapsulates the de s c r i p t i o n of Indian women which i s to follow. I repeat i t once more: 51. "Victory of Gauri, who stands her lower robe blood-spattered from the demon buffalo her spear has s l a i n shamefaced, as i f menstrous before the laughing eyes of Hara." This devotional poem presents an almost schizophrenic c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of K a l i . I t f i r s t commences with Gauri, which seduces the reader i n t o a passive imagery and then suddenly twists the image by placing her i n a pool of blood - blood brought about by her own murderous hand. The poem reverts back, almost immediately, however, to a d o c i l e f i g u r e appearing to be shamed by her own impurity. (Blood here, of course, symbolizes both K a l i ' s destructive forces and her creative forces and her c reative p o t e n t i a l ) . This poem, and the d e s c r i p t i o n of Gauri's reaction to being observed by Hara, very c l o s e l y resembles the story which usually accompanies the image of K a l i represented i n t h i s paper. (See Appendix A). The context of the t a l e i s the Ramayana and may be summarized as follows: The story commences with Rama's return from Lanka at which time Rama brags to S i t a about h i s conquest of the ten-headed Ravana. S i t a , however, merely responds with a smile and a question. She inquires as to what he thinks he would do i f confronted by a thousand-headed Ravana and he responds with the claim that he would slay such a Ravana. Taunted by S i t a , Rama sets out to f i n d the Ravana. F i n a l l y Rama does confront i t but i s soon defeated. Disheartened, Rama begins to weep. S i t a , regarding her husband's predicament, smiles and assumes the form of K a l i . She attacks and k i l l s the demon and tosses h i s head and limbs about, gulping h i s blood i n her frenzy. She then begins an earth-shattering dance which alarms the Gods and causes them to seek Siva's intervention. He throws himself down on the ground, beneath K a l i ' s feet and among the corpses where She i s carrying out her mad dance. Brahma c a l l s to her and points out that Siva i s l y i n g below her. As soon as she recognizes Siva, she i s astonished and embarrassed and stops her dance. She then resumes her appearance as S i t a and accompanies the humiliated Rama to t h e i r home. The action of the story i s described by Kinsley i n the following way: "Here She(Kali) dominates the action. Siva i s summoned to remedy the s i t u a t i o n , to be sure, but he can do so only by l y i n g beneath her feet. He subdues her, c e r t a i n l y but only by humiliating himself."9 The s i g n i f i c a n c e of the poem and the t a l e i s cl e a r . The Goddess, (a dual p e r s o n a l i t y ) , i f viewed as woman as w e l l , represents a being who i s capable of switching back and f o r t h from passive to ac t i v e form, from submissive to t e r r i f y i n g , with almost unbelievable r a p i d i t y . E a r l i e r i n t h i s thesis I suggested that t h i s poem was an example of K a l i ' s ambivalent behavior; ambivalence characterized by o s c i l l a t i n g behaviors of obedience and r e b e l l i o n followed by self-reproach. 'To add to t h i s , I have exercised some i n t e l l e c t u a l freedom, however, i n using the term ambivalence i n t h i s a n a l y sis. To be absolutely f a i t h f u l to the dicti o n a r y d e f i n i t i o n , one should be able to prove that K a l i does indeed reproach h e r s e l f . This, i n my opinion, i s a debatable point. That someone appears 'shamefaced' or with tongue l o l l i n g (as i n the above poem-or the image of Appendix A) does not prove that one i n fact reproaches oneself for their own actions. Nevertheless, there i s s u f f i c i e n t expression of signs which can be interpreted as s e l f - reproach to merit the use of th i s word. From the small piece of Indian mythology above which describes K a l i ' s a c t i v i t i e s i t can be seen that her r e l a t i o n s h i p to her husband represents at least three of the four categories which I have adopted as corresponding to the p r i n c i p l e of l i m i n a l i t y , that i s She i s sub- missive and t e r r i f y i n g , honoring and shaming, p u r i f y i n g and p o l l u t i n g . She displays her power over her husband, over l i f e and death, and at the same time exhibits her capacity to submit and to be con t r o l l e d . By t h i s e x h i b i t i o n of mad dancing, K a l i portrays an: excellent example of r e b e l l i o n and woman's a b i l i t y to shame her husband by her adharmic behavior. "^ If we return to the p r i n c i p l e of l i m i n a l i t y which I have used to describe the ambiguous nature of women's actions, I believe K a l i can be better understood. We can see that, at least i n r e l i g i o u s terms, K a l i i s , i n f a c t , a p a r t i c u l a r l y appropriate image for conveying t h i s idea of l i m i n a l i t y . K a l i ' s madness i s an extremely important issue i n any attempt one might make to analyze the meaning of her actions. I f women are seen by men to be out of c o n t r o l at times, or do, i n f a c t , go out of control (whichever i s the case); K a l i , according to Kinsley, i s d e f i n i t e l y out of con t r o l . For K a l i i s said to be mad."'""'" In Kinsley's own words: "In her mad dancing, disheveled h a i r , and eerie howl there i s made present the hint of a world r e e l i n g , careening out of cont r o l . In so far as K a l i r e f l e c t s the phenomenal world, or 54. i s i d e n t i f i e d with the phenomenal world, she presents a pi c t u r e of that world that underlines i t s ephemeral, unpredictable, spontaneous nature.12 As w i l l be r e c o l l e c t e d , K a l i ' s madness i s also a consistent theme i n Ramprasad Sen's writings. Her r a j a s - l i k e q u a l i t y i s symbolized i n the following poem (previously quoted i n the f i r s t chapter and which I again quote, i n part, for ready reference). "Mother, incomparably arrayed, Hair f l y i n g , stripped down, You battle-dance on Shiva's heart, A garland of heads that bounce o f f Your heavy hips, chopped-off hands For a b e l t , the bodies of infants For earrings and the l i p s , . the teeth l i k e jasmine, the face A lotus blossomed, the laugh, And the dark body b o i l i n g up and out Like a storm cloud, and those feet ^ Whose beauty i s only deepened by blood." Here K a l i i s the destroyer, f u l l of blood and fury and posing a threat to those around her. To lend further support to the importance of K a l i ' s madness i n r e l a t i o n to the p r i n c i p l e of l i m i n a l i t y , l e t us consider the r o l e of the p r i n c i p l e of Maya. K a l i ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p to Maya i s one i n which the voluptuous and smiling K a l i i s merely an i l l u s i o n , to be stripped away i n order to reveal the frightening and p a i n f u l world of Maya. This i l l u s i o n / r e a l i t y paradox could be sa i d to p a r a l l e l a s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n i n which the r o l e that women play, as submissive and i d e a l wives and mothers i s a f a l s e or s u p e r f i c i a l image. In terms of s o c i a l science strategy, a deeper, more r e a l understanding of women can only be gained by tearing the ' v e i l of maya' away. As Kinsley himself says, • 55. "Meditation upon K a l i c a l l s i n t o question the s t a b i l i t y , order and destiny of the phenomenal world ... There i s a chaotic dimension to the world, an unpredictable, frightening 'other' dimension to th i s world that undercuts attachments to it."14 In conclusion, the above describes the way i n which K a l i represents the nature of l i m i n a l behavior. Let us go on, however, to look at descriptions or representations of Indian women i n order to determine to what extent these descriptions r e i t e r a t e those of K a l i . By doing so, we can e s t a b l i s h the ramifications of these descriptions for the hypothesis of l i m i n a l i t y . F i r s t l y , l e t us consider the i d e a l representation of and for Indian women and, secondly, consider some representations which contradict t h i s i d e a l . By giving equal importance to both types of descriptions of the Indian female within the family, we should achieve a more balanced and truer p i c t u r e of the nature of her ro l e i n society. 3. The Ideal Indian Woman A) Introduction: In describing the i d e a l Indian woman, the importance of the symbols of body, house, womb, etc. became apparent and the analysis w i l l again bring attention to them under the broader categories of chaste, unchaste, p u r i f y i n g , p o l l u t i n g and so on. By f i r s t looking at the i d e a l side of women, that i s the submissive, chaste, honoring and p u r i f y i n g side of her r o l e as wife and mother and then looking at contrasting or contra- dic t o r y images of her as they are presented i n various types of writings, I hope to come close to representing her as she r e a l l y i s as we l l as how she i s r e a l l y seen by others. In other words, the method of analysis should conclude with a K a l i - l i k e representation of Indian women and should 56. v a c i l l a t e between a dharmic p i c t u r e of feminine action and an equally adharmic one. It should be remembered that the main function of th i s essay i s to study women i n t h e i r r e l a t i o n to men and not to look at them as i n d i v i d u a l atoms. Therefore, when we speak of the i d e a l Indian woman, we are inclu d i n g a number of roles which women are taught to play i n Indian society, a l l of which can be regarded as having some s t r u c t u r a l p o s i t i o n v i s - a - v i s the male members of the society. The roles which can be i d e n t i f i e d for women are those of 1. daughter, s i s t e r , f r i e n d 2. s i s t e r - i n - l a w 3. wife, mother, mother-in-law 4. widow 5. p r o s t i t u t e Because the roles of wife and mother bear the most immediate r e l a t i o n to K a l i and also are those which e n t a i l most d i r e c t l y a s o c i a l l y recognized bonding between men and women, I am concentrating upon them for the time being. (The fourth chapter, however, does consider the re l a t i o n s between female courtesans and Indian men). While the subject of motherhood cannot be properly separated from marriage and wifehood, i t i s such an important aspect that i t requires s p e c i a l mention. "Throughout India, the concept of Motherhood i s revered. The words Mata and Ma (mother) connote warmth, protection and l i f e - g i v i n g power. Ideall y a c h i l d should always honor h i s mother."15 K a l i i s of s p e c i a l s i g n i f i c a n c e as a symbol of motherhood. Barren women, for example, go to the temple to worship K a l i . S r i Ramakrishna, mentioned e a r l i e r , worshipped K a l i as h i s own Mother. "And the p r i e s t was associated with a l l the intimate acts of the day. He dressed and undressed Her, he offered Her flowers and food. He was one of the attendants when the queen arose and went to bed. How could h i s hands, his eyes, h i s heart be otherwise than gradually impregnated with Her f l e s h ... Passion for the Goddess consumed Him. To touch her, to embrace Her, to win one sign l i f e from Her, one look, one sign, one smile, became the sole object of h i s existence."16 In taking a further look into the r e l i g i o u s l i t e r a t u r e , we begin to fi n d a model for the correct behavior of the Indian woman. This model represents the i d e a l - the benevolent being who may be likened to K a l i ' s ' s a t t v a - l i k e ' nature. As w i l l be r e c a l l e d , sattva r e f e r s to the i d e a l state of being; goodness, p e r f e c t i o n , c r y s t a l p u r i t y , immaculate c h a s t i t y and utter quiet. K a l i ' s sattva aspect i s predominantly manifested i n the Divine Loving Mother. K a l i ' s (or Shakti's) benevolent aspects, manifested i n the form of Pa r v a t i (Siva's wife), can be seen i n the following passage spoken by the Goddess: "Even a moment appears to be a Yuga i f I do not see you, since I look at you as my own c h i l d r e n for whom I am ready even to lay down my l i f e ... No worry or anxious thought need be entertained by you endowed with devotion as long as I stand by you destroying your distress."17 The tenderness of t h i s motherly protection i s acknowledged by her c h i l d r e n . There i s no deity so compassionate as Sataksi, the great goddess who c r i e d for nine days on seeing her people scorched and distressed."18 B) The Model Woman: (the good or dharmic side) The i d e a l s of ch a s t i t y and p u r i t y , unselfishness and modesty, s e l f - e f f a c i n g love and compassion constitute p e r f e c t i o n i n a wife and mother. These values, wrapped up i n one model - S i t a - have long been sought a f t e r by the Hindu woman seeking acceptance. Such names as Damayanti and S a v i t r i were also regarded as heroines of conjugal b l i s s and in s p i r e d many epic poets. According to the Mahabharata, i t i s not the b u i l d i n g that makes the home but i t i s the wife, the mother, the woman who has 19 found peace i n her heart that constitutes the home. Brenda Beck suggests that there i s a general stereotype held by outsiders of women i n India as meek, submissive beings; - the,family custodians of good conduct, who are expected to display unflinching 20 l o y a l t y to t h e i r male r e l a t i v e s at a l l times. Wives were expected i d e a l l y to s u f f e r i n s i l e n c e and men frequently recognized t h i s a b i l i t y by claiming that "I have a wife who has against me neither anger nor a hard word. She i s as good to my friends as to me, her husband."21 The i d e a l wife i s also expected to run an economical household and not to cause her husband s t r a i n . 'She i s taught to be forebearing, patient and self-abnegating. She i s taught to deny h e r s e l f to such an extent that she w i l l never transgress her husband. ' "She by v i r t u e of nature's g i f t i s intended to be s o f t , tender- hearted, sympathetic to mother and chi l d r e n . She i s the embodi- ment of s a c r i f i c e and s u f f e r i n g . As a mother, she i s most d e l i g h t f u l . The duty of motherhood, which woman w i l l always undertake, requires such q u a l i t i e s that men need not possess. She i s passive, he i s ac t i v e , She i s the mistress of the house and without her care the race must become extinct."23 According to Margaret Cormack, "the t r a d i t i o n a l and strongly maintained emphasis on harmony, compromise, duty and monogamy a l l r e s u l t i n family i n t e g r a t i o n . Indian women are concerned with duties, not with r i g h t s . They are concerned with being wives and mothers - members of a group - not with being selves or i n d i v i d u a l s . Chastity for the i d e a l Indian woman i s of the utmost importance. According to Wadley, chaste womanhood i s powerful and worth of adulation. The p r i n c i p l e of ch a s t i t y demands the control over sexual desire. The chaste wife i s one who i s always sexually responsive and who renunciates personal i n t e r e s t s . She i s expected to be of complete psychological and phy s i c a l service to her husband. This husband i s a god to the i d e a l l y chaste wife, and she serves him with utter devotion. The Purana r e f e r s to four l e v e l s of c h a s t i t y : - "the most chaste wife i s one whose mind i s not aware of any one else and who i s conscious of her husband even i n her dreams. She who sees another man as father, brother or son with a cl e a r conscience i s the middling among chaste l a d i e s . She who ponders over her duty mentally and d e s i s t s from going astray i s i n f e r i o r among the chaste. Of course she i s pure i n conduct. She who remains chaste for fear of her husband or the family i s very i n f e r i o r among the chaste ladies."26 There was a strong taboo i n existence against any woman acting, 27 even i n her own dwelling place, according to her mere pleasure. A woman must never govern h e r s e l f as she l i k e s . The Laws of Manu are s t i l l quoted on the proper r o l e of woman "She should do nothing independently, even i n her own house. In childhood subject to her father, i n youth to her husband And when her husband i s dead, to her sons, she should never enjoy independence... Though he be uncouth and prone to pleasure though he have no good points at a l l the virtuous wife should ever worship her lo r d as a god.28 In Magahi f o l k l o r e , f o r example, according to Sharma, a l l wives i are chaste. Their love i s meant only for t h e i r husbands. Not only 60. are they chaste, he says, but "the character of thesewives are so good that a l l e f f o r t s to deter them from the path of righteousness f a i l . " 2 9 In Tamilnad, Sharma states, the most appreciated v i r t u e i n a woman i s her chasti t y . "A virtuous woman i s elevated to the highest place i n 30 society, she i s even accorded a superior p o s i t i o n to that of a s a i n t . " In s p i t e of th i s i d e a l , however, of the Indian woman as passive, s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g , devoted to her husband and ch i l d r e n , chaste, pure and almost divine, much of the l i t e r a t u r e recognized the u n p r e d i c t a b i l i t y of her actions. C) The Other, or Adharmic Side To return to the notion of the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n between goddess and women, Brenda Beck, i n commenting on t h i s phenomenon i n her South Indian epic, says s u c c i n c t l y "But i f women are goddesses, so too are goddesses t y p i c a l women. Both are by t h e i r very c o n s t i t u t i o n female, or a l l that i s good and a l l that i s t e r r i f y i n g wrapped up i n one."31 The feminine power p r i n c i p l e of Shakti " i s a combination of many q u a l i t i e s : patience, self-abnegation, s e n s i t i v e i n t e l l i g e n c e , grace i n thought, words and behavior, the r e t i c e n t impression of rhythmic 32 l i f e , the tenderness and te r r i b l e n e s s of love at i t s core." In the Siva Puranas, Daniel has observed both a p o s i t i v e and negative side to women. On the p o s i t i v e side, i n t h e i r complementary r o l e women rejuvenate the soul for a new l i f e . The negative side, however, involves the woman's independence and her conscious manipulation of power. This power gives r i s e to a sense of helplessness and despair on the part of the male. Further, i n terms of body symbols, att i t u d e s expressed toward the womb are highly complex. In the p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e toward women, Daniel t e l l s us that the woman i s believed to transfer to her baby the s a k t i of l i f e . However, i n the negative view, the woman's womb i s regarded as a 'f i e r y machine, b o i l i n g and crushing the baby, fo r c i n g him into a world 33 he loathes to enter, i n a body he considers a burden." Women are said to use the womb as a weapon i n b a t t l e and th i s fear i s i l l u s t r a t e d , Daniel argues, i n the s t o r i e s about fear of the son born of the wombs of powerful women such as D i t i and Pa r v a t i . An important point which Daniel makes i s that the ambivalence she notes toward the woman's r o l e i n reproduction i s not matched by an equal ambivalence towards men's 34 reproductive a c t i v i t y . The greater ambivalence towards women as a 35 whole then towards men extends i t s e l f throughout the Puranas. Daniel says that the Puranas swings from one extreme to the other, creating ivory tower ideals of chaste wives and then expressing the equally extreme view that a l l women are e v i l and immoral. The woman i s cast e i t h e r i n the r o l e of the ruthless temptress out to break the psychological and ph y s i c a l power of the husband through seduction, or as the chaste and obedient wife. However, the ultimate r e a l i t y , mani- fested by the goddess, i s that these two extremes reside i n every woman. '''A woman i s a mixture of good and e v i l , and i s capable of loving and 3 6 threatening her lover." According to Baig, there are fr i n g e benefits to the prac t i c e s of 62. p i e t y and p u r i t y . These practices are considered to be conducive to the development of extraordinary powers which are believed to be of considerable help to a husband and h i s family. A woman's unchaste behavior threatened the man's very existence i n the society. "For he, Manu says, who preserves h i s wife from v i c e , preserves his o f f s p r i n g from suspicion of bastardy, h i s ancient usages from neglect, his family from disgrace, himself from anguish, and h i s duty from v i o l a t i o n . " 3 7 In Magahi f o l k l o r e , for example, according to Sharma, there are folksongs i n which a wife apparently takes i t upon h e r s e l f to teach a very good lesson to the younger brother or elder brother or a f a t h e r - i n - law i f they attempt to lead her away from the path of c h a s t i t y . Daniel claims that i t i s through her c h a s t i t y (rather than tapas, as i n the case of the male) that woman gains power. According to her view, i t i s c l e a r that c h a s t i t y and devotion can become a form of coercion to which the husband must submit, as the deity must submit to coercion by a devotee. "Greater power" she says, "accrues to those who p r a c t i c e both p h y s i c a l and mental con t r o l , best exemplified i n the highest class of chaste women". However, a l l classes of chaste women command a considerable amount of power. This power, i n f a c t , i s believed to be greater than the power generated by 38 male yogas at the height of t h e i r tapas." In the Siva Puranas, P a r v a t i , rather than remaining passive and allowing her husband to b a t t l e with her problem son, asserts her power and defends the s a n c t i t y of her own c h a s t i t y . Daniel describes t h i s i n the following manner: "Emerging from her r o l e as a frightened and protected female, she becomes a t e r r i f y i n g and awesome f i g u r e , e x h i b i t i n g her strength i n the face of her husband's weakness and i n defiance 63. of her son's importunity. To Andhaka and his troops, as i s apparent i n the passage quoted above, fear and bewilderment i s the response. He sees i n the woman he desires not a d e l i c a t e female, but a deadly rival."39 Daniel notes that devotion and submission are also forms of power and i s one of the weapons used by women i n marriage. In the Siva Puranas, the goddess t e l l s Brahman that "j u s t as ordinary mortals on earth are sub- servient to th e i r women f o l k , so also Siva s h a l l be subservient to a woman due to my ardent devotion. The Laws of Manu state that where women are treated with honor, the Gods are p r o p i t i a t e d . Where women are not adored, a l l acts become f r u i t - l e s s . " I f the women of a family, on account of the treatment they receive, indulge i n g r i e f and tears, that family soon becomes e x t i n c t . " ^ Baig t e l l s us that while a father's influence was outside the home, the Mother's influence was the true i n t e g r a t i n g force within i t . He informs us that there are many examples of great men who a t t r i b u t e t h e i r values, t h e i r 42 character, purpose and drive to the influence of t h e i r mothers. Bader notes what appears to be a strange contradiction i n Manu. He states that while Manu presents woman as the source of a l l good, for the adoration of man, he suddenly throws her of f the pedestal upon which he has placed 43 her and sees i n her instead the genius of e v i l . " He r e f e r s to the Goddess Durga as a symbol of a mother's anger, and mentions the influence t h i s has over the en t i r e household. The story of D i t i demonstrates the powerful influence which woman may have on others. D i t i captivates the supernatural power of her husband by using the charms of her grace i n a cunning fashion. The sacred author remarks that there i s 64. nothing t e r r i b l y s u r p r i s i n g i n th i s sort of success when i t comes to women for "creation's Lord formed woman, that being who ste a l s man's 44 reason, which i s hal f of h i s own per s o n a l i t y . " He claims that no man has ever understood the conduct of women. Women are capable, i t seems to him, of great power - good or e v i l . "No one, i n f a c t " he says " i s an object of love to women, who are e n t i r e l y devoted to the object of t h e i r desires; they k i l l or cause to be k i l l e d , f o r t h e i r i n t e r e s t a husband, 45 a son, or a brother." Baig advises that the l i t e r a t u r e of the Vedic and l a t e r periods i n India contain a d i s t r u s t of women and t h e i r p o t e n t i a l f o r e v i l . He quotes passages from the Mahabharata which i l l u s t r a t e a fundamental mistrust of women. One such passage reads as follows: "A man with a hundred tongues would not be able to describe com- p l e t e l y the vices and defects of woman." and another, "Women, even when they are of good family, b e a u t i f u l and married, do not hesitate to transgress morals ... and at the f i r s t opportunity they leave t h e i r wealthy and handsome husbands to share adulterous beds with other men."46 Lannoy comments on the ambivalence and du a l i t y of the r o l e of women i n Manu, and claims that the ambivalent r o l e i s an important feature of Indian s o c i e t y . "As a wife she seduces her husband away from his work 4 7 and his s p i r i t u a l duties, but as a Mother she i s revered. He refer s to what he considers to be a deep-seated maternal attachment i n the Indian culture which i s manifested i n intense mother-goddess worship and worship of womanhood i n the abstract. However, he says, 65. "The woman i s characterised by her ambivalent s t r i v i n g s to become, on the one hand, an overprotective mother and, on the other hand, ^g a demanding and p r o h i b i t i n g one - w i s h f u l f i l l i n g and v i n d i c t i v e . . . " There e x i s t s , because of t h i s , a contempt, uncertainty and d i s t r u s t of women. While she i s looked upon with i d e a l i z a t i o n , she i s also looked upon with alarm; while she i s subservient to men, she dominates a ce r t a i n segment of his l i f e i n her ro l e as mother. She i s raised to the l e v e l of Goddess i n the home, he says, and i s regarded as both a S i t a (the s e l f l e s s and devoted wife) and the t e r r i b l e K a l i whom he describes as a "witch-like Goddess who punishes and deprives her c h i l d r e n of pleasure. Jacobson also informs us that the Brahmanical t r a d i t i o n views women as "shameless temptresses l a c k i n g i n s e l f - c o n t r o l and l i k e l y to go astray unless c o n t r o l l e d by th e i r menfolk." A woman i s capable of bringing shame to her family by promiscuous behavior and a menstruating woman i s believed to have the power to use her p o l l u t i o n to harm others. Wadley also recognizes the du a l i t y i n the Hindu concept of the woman and states e x p l i c i t l y "on the one hand, the woman i s f e r t i l e , benevolent - the bestower; on the other, she i s aggressive, malevolent - the destroyer."51 The d u a l i s t i c nature, she further claims, i s true f o r both goddesses and 52 women. She states that the dual character of the Hindu female emerges throughout both c l a s s i c a l texts as well as f o l k t r a d i t i o n s . In both these t r a d i t i o n s the mother i s given extreme importance. While the wife i s generally depicted as under man's con t r o l , the mother i s depicted as being i n control of he r s e l f and her chi l d r e n . This i s an extension of the 66. perspective of goddesses as w e l l . "Mothers and the mother goddesses are i n cont r o l of th e i r sexuality; wives are not."52 In general, Wadley's argument i s that women who control t h e i r own sexuality are considered to be both malevolent and benevolent; while those whose sexuality i s co n t r o l l e d by a man are portrayed as co n s i s t e n t l y benevolent. When women control t h e i r own sexuality, then they become 53 K a l i ; those regarded to be under the control of men are Lakshmi." Women must be co n t r o l l e d by men, i t i s thought, because of t h e i r n a t u r a l l y e v i l i n c l i n a t i o n . The i d e a l woman, on the other hand, i s one who does not s t r i v e to break the bonds of co n t r o l . Chemeen, the major figure i n a well-known South Indian novel, i s a clear example of a woman whose unchaste behavior leads to the destruction of her husband at sea. Her reputation as a 'bad woman' i n i t i a l l y begins to a f f e c t her husband's status i n the community as a fisherman. In one exchange between the two, the husband proclaims "You are a bad woman, he said, so they have decided that I am not f i t to go to sea."54 His f i n a l destruction comes about when f i n a l l y he does go o f f to sea. His death i s a t t r i b u t e d i n the f i n a l analysis to his wife's f a i l u r e to perform her wi f e l y devotion. "At the time, l i k e the f i r s t fisherwoman of them a l l , she should be praying f or him. Instead she was thinking of Pareekutti."55 This story i s an extreme example representing the power that i t i s believed a woman may have over the fate- of her own husband. 67. 4. Conclusion In concluding this chapter, I think i t i s important to consider Kinsley's use of the word 'humiliating' and my own use of the term 'shaming'. I have indicated that women have the power to humiliate and shame men but I think i t must be se r i o u s l y considered as to whether they a c t u a l l y do so. The evidence i s that the threat of pub l i c denouncement i s there, that men f e e l that t h e i r p o s i t i o n i n the society i s i n jeopardy i f they cannot con- t r o l t h e i r wives, but there i s no proof that women on many occasions a c t u a l l y do rob men of th e i r status permanently. There are signs, however, that women do dishonor, disgrace and humiliate men at l e a s t i n the short term by t h e i r actions. I t i s not, and I stress t h i s point, women's submissive behavior which threatens men, i t i s t h e i r ambiguous behavior which causes them concern. This appears to be the case i n the t a l e above. No thing-,-appears to have been permanently l o s t f o r Siva and hi s status as a man i n the society. However, he i s now very much aware of his wife's a b i l i t y to act indepen- dently and w i l f u l l y and to exert c o n t r o l over him when the occasion so merits i t . I t i s th i s a b i l i t y to influence which I have l a b e l l e d power. Because a great deal has been written which argues that women are constantly under the influence of men, ce r t a i n misleading perspectives of the Indian s o c i a l system are i n existence. In my view, t h i s type of t h e o r e t i c a l perspective treats s o c i e t i e s , e s p e c i a l l y the Indian society, as lacking i n a degree of dynamic i n t e r a c t i o n between men and women i n the public and domestic spheres. I disagree with t h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the 68. l o g i c of female power r e l a t i o n s . The reader should be cl e a r that t h i s thesis i s not an attempt to demonstrate that women control men, or that men c o n t r o l women, but that there i s a complementarity that e x i s t s between the domestic sphere and the pub l i c sphere. I have attempted to show, by concentrating on the woman's behavior, that there i s evidence that the system of i n t e r a c t i o n i s a dynamic one and that there are mechanisms av a i l a b l e to women to keep i t moving. This chapter provides a d e s c r i p t i o n of how those mechanisms work. CHAPTER IV KALI AND THE KAMA SUTRA In the t h i r d chapter we described the r o l e of the wife and mother i n the Indian society as i t has been protrayed i n c e r t a i n texts and ce r t a i n anthropological studies. These roles were represented both as they have been prescribed for women and as they are seen by others to have been c a r r i e d out by women. I t was also stressed that these roles cannot be analysed i n such a way as -to treat them as independent from men's roles i n eit h e r of the spheres frequently referred to as private and public. This chapter b r i e f l y takes a look at the Indian courtesan and analyzes her r e l a t i o n s h i p to the male i n Indian society, as we l l as o f f e r i n g a b r i e f discussion of the correspondence or lack of corres- pondence which ex i s t s between the i d e a l of wife and mother and that of female p r o s t i t u t e . The major text which w i l l be used i s the Kama Sutra written i n approximately the 4th C. B.C. by Vatsyayana. 70. A. Introduction The following constitutes a r a t i o n a l e for the i n c l u s i o n of an analysis of the Kama Sutra i n th i s t h e s i s : 1) i n general, the text provides an i n s i g h t into the h i s t o r y , p o l i t i c s , secular l i f e and s o c i a l customs of ancient India;"*" 2) more p a r t i c u l a r l y , while the Kama Sutra includes much on the actual art of love-making, i t also includes subject matter which i s of p a r t i c u l a r importance to the argument presented i n t h i s t h e s i s . This argument i s , of course, that Indian women, v i s - a - v i s men i n the public sphere, behave ambiguously and that women gain power and control over men (consciously or unconsciously) through t h e i r access to c e r t a i n s o c i a l mechanisms and th e i r unpredictable use of a l l of them on c e r t a i n occasions. These s o c i a l mechanisms include honoring, shaming, submission, frigh t e n i n g , p u r i f y i n g , p o l l u t i n g , c h a s t i t y and non-chastity. When the woman complies with the dharmic norms, men f e e l r e l a t i v e l y safe; when she f a i l s to comply with t h i s norm and behaves i n an adharmic way, the man's p o s i t i o n and his sense of security within h i s own r o l e , are threatened. The d e t a i l which I have chosen as relevant from the Kama Sutra addresses such issues as the manner of l i v i n g proper to a virtuous woman as well as the i d e a l behavior for courtesans. The content of t h i s book, then, i t should be c l e a r , i s not s o l e l y addressed toward courtesans but i s also directed to those engaged or about to be engaged i n the p o s i t i o n of wife - i t s d i r e c t i v e s going much beyond the pure art of sensual 2 pleasure (Kama). 71. Before i t can be determined exactly what the correspondence or lack of correspondence i s between these two r o l e s , i t i s f i r s t necessary to understand that, i n terms of the i d e a l s , there i s a fundamental d i s t i n c t i o n between the two. In the case of the i d e a l behavior prescribed for the courtesan, as i t i s spe l l e d out i n the Kama Sutra, we are pre- sented with an opposing system of values from which the i d e a l wife i s expected to model h e r s e l f . The courtesan's primary stated reason for serving a man i s to acquire money while the wife's stated reason i s love, duty or devotion. (The reader w i l l remember from Chapter 3 the i d e a l of a wholly devotional type of love of the woman toward her husband, a devotion so intense that the wife i s expected to renounce a l l requirements for personal comfort and a l l s e l f i s h needs). The courtesan represents i n a fundamental way everything the i d e a l of wife i s not; and serves as an example for the Indian woman, supposedly attempting to l i v e out on a day-to-day basis the i d e a l , to compare and contrast h e r s e l f with. By having.this s o c i a l model to evaluate h e r s e l f against, she i s provided with one more opportunity to increase the power and control inherent i n her own p o s i t i o n as the loving and devoted wife and mother. Examples of t h i s type of comparison w i l l be offered l a t e r . B. The Virtuous Woman and the Kama Sutra Because the i d e a l of wife has been described extensively i n the previous chapters, f o r comparative purposes l e t us examine the i d e a l of the virtuous woman, or wife, as i t i s documented i n the Kama Sutra. The requirements and expected attitudes for the i d e a l virtuous woman are, i n fa c t , s p e l l e d out i n a f a i r l y precise manner. As we have seen elsewhere, a virtuous woman i s defined as one who acts i n conformity with her husband wishes as though he were a divine being and, with h i s consent, takes upon 3 h e r s e l f the whole care of his family. The Kama Sutra dictates that "The wife, whether she be a woman of noble family or a v i r g i n widow remarried or a concubine, should lead a chaste l i f e , devoted to her husband, and doing everything for h i s welfare. Women acting t h i s acquire Dharma, Artha and Kama, obtain a high p o s i t i o n , and generally keep t h e i r husbands devoted to them."4 She i s not to blame her husband excessively for any misconduct nor use any abusive language toward him but only "rebuke him with c o n c i l i a t o r y words, whether he be i n the company of friends or a l o n e . T h e wife i s never to even reveal her love for her husband nor h i s for her - eit h e r i n pride or i n anger. I t i s assumed that such an infringement on t h e i r privacy w i l l lead to the husband despising her. The inference here, of course, i s that i t i s neither acceptable nor wise for the wife to v a c i l l a t from the i d e a l to the a l t e r n a t i v e , which i s to be proud, w i l f u l and angry. C. The Courtesan and the Kama Sutra While the ar t of love-making and of giving p h y s i c a l pleasure enters into the agreement between the man and the courtesan, the impression I am l e f t with i s that the courtesan i s expected to provide other things of a more i n t e l l e c t u a l ( t h i s includes her a r t i s t i c t a l e n t s , of course) or psychological nature than what one would normally i d e n t i f y as mere pleasure. Therefore, when the term love i s used i n the analysis which follows, i t re f e r s to a conceptual and behavioral framework which goes beyond p h y s i c a l love-making. The i d e a l of thexourtesan as i t i s l a i d out i n the Kama Sutra i s more complex than mere pleasure giving i n that 73. i t includes a recommendation for the adoption of c e r t a i n a t t r i b u t e s which are usually associated with the r o l e of wife as well as those which are more commonly associated with the courtesan. The model for a good wife and mother, as the reader i s aware, has been said to analog K a l i ' s benevolent or creative aspect. The courtesan,, on the other hand, however, can on the whole be said to manifest K a l i ' s t e r r i f y i n g a t t r i b u t e s . These t e r r i f y i n g a t t r i b u t e s correspond to those of the courtesan as a temptress, as a scheming and c a l c u l a t i n g i n d i v i d u a l - who used her sexuality w i l f u l l y and with purpose. While i t has been implied, by myself and others, that wives and mothers sometimes consciously manipulate men, i t i s assumed that the courtesan survives s o l e l y by conscious manipula- t i o n . The courtesan i s by trade the seductress, and the seductress (of any caste, c l a s s or role) i s usually seen as a threatening fi g u r e not only to the female members of the society but to the male members as well (see Chapter I I ) . The e r o t i c l i t e r a t u r e i n India depicts the seductress as having charm, v i t a l i t y and mystery of a s p e c i a l kind. Baig describes these women as being involved i n a deadly game of f a s c i n a t i n g and hypno- t i z i n g the male. He claims that "The combination of sexual play along with the g i r l i s h c l i n g i n g to the man, to which i s always added a wide v a r i e t y of h i s t r i o n i c talents coupled with l y i n g , furious anger, abject remorse, constant turmoil, a l l e f f e c t i v e l y lead a man into a deeper and deeper snare."6 These dangerous aspects are described at length i n the Puranas. And, as Daniel t e l l s us, even the women themselves often confess t h e i r own e v i l nature.^ 74. To render t h i s model more e x p l i c i t : the courtesan i n the Kama Sutra i s advised as to the most successful way i n which to obtain money. There are two main routes which she may follow; 1) to attach h e r s e l f to one man and to obtain as much money from him as i s possible and when that begins to f a i l , to acquire for h e r s e l f another man. 2) to attach h e r s e l f to more than one man and to obtain as much money as possible from each of them. In the f i r s t instance, the courtesan i s advised to act as a wife. Let us examine a l i t t l e more c l o s e l y what t h i s means. The courtesan i s advised to consciously adopt some of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s commonly ascribed to the r o l e of wife; that i s , she i s t o l d to appear to be devoted to and to..love her mate with absolute f a i t h and dedication, to be chaste, to be submissive, to honor him and so on. More importantly, she i s expected to appear to be chaste while i n truth i t i s known, by h e r s e l f at l e a s t and presumably by others, that her main motivation i n behaving l i k e a wife i s the a c q u i s i t i o n of money. She i s not p r i m a r i l y motivated by love or 8 devotion or even being a good wife. The idea of ch a s t i t y i s not commonly associated with the behavior of the courtesan. The courtesan, however, i s advised to assume an appearance of c h a s t i t y when attaching h e r s e l f to one man. (It i s not c l e a r , i n c i d e n t a l l y , how exactly she does t h i s except that one might assume that she most probably does avoid sexual involvements or f l i r t a - tions with any other male). Chastity, however, i s an a r t i f i c e employed 75. to increase the amount of money she receives from him. The advantage to the courtesan attaching h e r s e l f to one man as a pseudo-wife, so to speak, i s that she does not s u f f e r the problem of too many lovers and yet i n a l l l i k e l i h o o d acquires an abundance of wealth. The duty of the courtesan, i n the second instance, however, i s described as follows: "The duty of a courtesan consists i n forming connections with s u i t a b l e men a f t e r due and f u l l consideration and attaching the person whonr. she i s united to h e r s e l f ; i n obtaining wealth from the person who i s attached to her, and then dismissing him a f t e r she has taken away a l l h i s possessions."9 D. Comparison Between Ideal of Wife and Courtesan: At a quick glance, the d i s t i n c t i o n between the virtuous wife and the courtesan i s very minor. The r e a l key seems to l i e i n the word love versus money. By looking c l o s e r , however, one also notices that the i d e a l of the courtesan (or the teachings of the Kama Sutra i n t h i s case) lay out a model for behavior which resembles both sides of K a l i ' s nature. Further, the courtesan i s expected to consciously adopt both types of b e h a v i o r . ^ Let me c l a r i f y t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n between the i d e a l of the wife and that of the courtesan i n a diagramatic form i n the event that i t remains s l i g h t l y confusing to the reader: benevolent creative Mother KALI t e r r i f y i n g destroyer mad GODDESS Motivation 1 ) Salvation 2 ) L i l a 3) Protection 4) Wilfulness and others WIFE AND MOTHER HUMAN Ideal C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s loving devoted submissive chaste p u r i f y i n g honoring Non-prescribed C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s angry s e l f i s h w i l f u l l unchaste p o l l u t i n g shaming 1 ) to acquire and maintain p o s i t i o n associated with one male 2 ) i d e a l of love (prema) 3) economic and psy- c h o l o g i c a l s e c u r i t y COURTESAN HUMAN PRESi IDEAL / 0 R \ BRIBED CHARACTERISTICS 1 ) to acquire and maintain p o s i t i o n associated with one or more males devoted loving submissive chaste p u r i f y i n g honoring angry s e l f i s h w i l f u l l unchaste p o l l u t i n g shaming 2 ) i d e a l of wealth 3) economic and psycho- l o g i c a l s e c u r i t y / The wife, by conforming to the i d e a l of love and devotion, sub- missiveness and dedication to her husband as a God, poses no threat to his status i n the society. In th i s state she represents the benevolent side of K a l i . However, by switching over to K a l i ' s negative aspect and into a state of anger, promiscuity and w i l f u l n e s s , she poses a threat to her husband i n a r e a l way. She i s now capable of p u b l i c l y shaming him. In t h i s way she has acquired power over him. The courtesan, on the other hand, constantly v a c i l l a t e s between the two types of behavior, i n a deliberate attempt to take advantage of the male's wealth and his status. One would probably be safe to assume that the courtesan, by constantly playing an ambiguous r o l e , i s i n a p o s i t i o n of considerable power v i s - a - v i s her lovers . A passage which describes the reaction of a courtesan to hearing the name of h e r . r i v a l mentioned i s , i n f a c t , highly analagous to the myth of K a l i ' s battleground dance (c i t e d e a r l i e r i n the thesis) i n which K a l i ' s shakti becomes quite evident. The s i m i l a r i t y between the two s t o r i e s and the way i n which ambiguous behavior i s a manifestation of power should be quite apparent to the reader when the two are placed side-by-side. The ta l e on the l e f t i s a de s c r i p t i o n of K a l i ' s dance; the t a l e on the r i g h t i s a passage from ..the. Kama Sutra: " S i t a , regarding her husband's predica- I f such takes place, a great ment, smiles and assumes the form of K a l i . quarrel r i s e s and the woman She attacks and k i l l s the demon and tosses c r i e s , becomes angry, tosses his head and limbs.about, gulping h i s blood her hai r about, s t r i k e s her i n her frenzy. She then begins an earth- lover, f a l l s from her bed or shattering dance which alarms the Gods seat, and, casting aside her 78. and causes them to seek Siva's intervention. She then accompanies the humiliated Rama to t h e i r home." garland and ornaments, throws h e r s e l f down on the ground"... Afterward, the c i t i z e n having sent the V i t a , the Vidushaka, or the Pithamanda to p a c i f y her, she should accompany them back to the house and spend the night with her l o v e r . " l l Both passages - the Indian woman's love quarrel and the K a l i t a l e , describe a c e r t a i n kind of action. The female commences with a passive/ submissive stance (a c o n t r o l l e r p o s i t i o n ) , moves to an active/angry p o s i t i o n (out of or beyond control) and f i n a l l y reverts to a passive/ submissive p o s i t i o n and i s once again under c o n t r o l . In summary, one of the fundamental differences between these two r o l e s - the wife and the courtesan - i s i n the way the roles are conceptualized by the observer. There may be another r e a l d i f f e r e n c e , however, and that can be discovered only by determining how those persons, involved i n each of the r o l e s , see themselves. We have established that the goals are e x p l i c i t l y d i f f e r e n t - one i s love and the other i s money. Some clues as to how t h i s question might be answered can be found i n a novel e n t i t l e d "The Courtesan of Lucknow" - a novel based on a r e a l i n d i v i d u a l who practiced her profession i n Lucknow. Mirza Mohammed Raswa, born i n 1857 i n Lucknow, recorded and wrote up the l i f e story of t h i s woman. In his way of seeing what went on, he says "Men were consumed with jealousy and these g i r l s d e l i b e r a t e l y played one against the other; And the irony of i t a l l was that t h e i r f e e l i n g s were not involved because they considered a l l men worthless. Their a f f e c t i o n was mere affectation...A courtesan and love? I t was always the lover who was undone."12 In the words of the courtesan h e r s e l f , 79. "Don't you know that a courtesan's only f r i e n d i s money". Haven't you heard i t said that a whore i s no one's wife? I f women l i k e us gave ourselves for love, what would we l i v e on?"13 Both of these examples represent the courtesan as a consciously c a l c u l a t i n g . i n d i v i d u a l - knowledgeable of her own goals and ambitions and de l i b e r a t e l y s t r i v i n g to achieve them. I t can be suspected, however, from the following statement, that the courtesan i s also aware of the disadvantage of her own r o l e . In the words of Umrao Jan Ada, "To women of my profession - 0 f o o l i s h women, never be under the delusion that anyone w i l l ever love you t r u l y . Your lovers who today forswear t h e i r l i v e s for you w i l l walk out on you a f t e r a while. They w i l l never remain constant because you do not deserve constancy. The rewards of true love are for women who only see the face of one man. God w i l l never grant the g i f t of true love to a whore."14 Again the question crops up as to whether the wife would confess, i f queried, to be s i m i l a r l y c a l c u l a t i n g . Daniel suggests that she might. She claims that within Tamil society, anyway, the male i s dependent upon the woman for her Sakti. The wife, however, she states, may manipulate the dependency to her own advantage. I t i s believed that control by the wife may a r i s e out of and be disguised by the dharmic i d e a l of the submissive wife, j u s t as D i t i used her grace to manipulate her husband. In other words, submissive behavior could be used as a strategy toward c e r t a i n ends. Later on, i t i s s a i d , wives often drop t h e i r submissive behavior and openly control t h e i r husbands. Wives are considered to be extremely clever i n this a r t of deceptive submission.'*""' 80. E. Conclusion To conclude t h i s chapter on K a l i and the Kama Sutra, c e r t a i n i n t e r - esting c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s i n women's behavior and attitudes have come to my a t t e n t i o n . Although the analysis i s c e r t a i n l y not as extensive as i t might be, i t does r a i s e a number of points worth noting. There i s , i n my opinion, evidence of the i n t e r p l a y of the roles of the wife and the courtesan i n the Indian society. On the one hand, the courtesan serves as a model to pose against the i d e a l wife and her virtuous c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . However, she h e r s e l f , i n her K a l i - l i k e ambiguity, i s i n some obvious ways l i k e the courtesan. She consciously or unconsciously employs her own sex u a l i t y to develop and wield power i n her own s i t u a t i o n . In the opposite sense, however, the courtesan becomes l i k e S i t a , or duplicates K a l i ' s benevolent or loving aspect (using the ploy of being i n love as a tool) i n order to gain power over men. This power i s used by the courtesan to extract, through clever manipulation, money from men. Both types of women play an ambiguous r o l e - o s c i l l a t i n g between love, devotion and dedication on the one hand and w i l f u l anger, fury and the public embarrassment of men on the other. Both, of course, are dependent on the male for economic s t a b i l i t y and s e c u r i t y - one achieves security through the establishment of a continuous r e l a t i o n s h i p with one man; the other does so by securing a series or p l u r a l i t y of r e l a t i o n s h i p s with men. The next and f i n a l chapter explores the implications of t h i s i n t e r p l a y , along with other questions raised through the thesis, f or future fieldwork. 81. CHAPTER V: CONCLUSION To summarize and conclude t h i s work, l e t us return to the beginning again. In the introduction, I stated that t h i s work constituted a c r i t i q u e of Harper's argument concerning fear and the status of women. I have not, however, mentioned Harper since. I t i s now my i n t e n t i o n to v e r i f y that statement. The purpose of t h i s v e r i f i c a t i o n i s two-fold: f i r s t l y to show i n which way my own argument d i f f e r s from and disputes Harper's and secondly to provide a summary of my own contribution to Indian studies. A. Harper's Theory What i s Harper a c t u a l l y arguing? I extracted the following quote from h i s argument, based on Havik Brahmans i n South India, and presented i t i n the in t r o d u c t i o n : - I t i s again repeated here. "groups of adults who lack power and prestige, who generally do the bidding of others, and who have minimal co n t r o l over t h e i r own s o c i a l environment are l i k e l y to be portrayed as dangerous or malevolent beings i n that society's b e l i e f system even though there may be i n fa c t l i t t l e r e a l i s t i c basis f or such f e a r . " l In order to understand Harper's t h e s i s , i t i s necessary to attach meaning to some of h i s terms. I have underlined those which I believe to be most important and w i l l attempt to explain those terms so that Harper's argument becomes c l e a r e r . ( i ) Status and Power: Harper The term status, as Harper defines i t , i s an expression of a fun- damental economic theory of r a t i o n a l i t y - "the a l l o c a t i o n of scarce 82. Scarce resources i n t h i s case include not only "wealth, property and prestige", but also an i n d i v i d u a l ' s " a b i l i t y to make choices between 2 a l t e r n a t i v e s involving s e l f and a l t e r . " When ego has more wealth, more property, more prestige and more choices, then ego, according to Harper, has a higher status than a l t e r . Among the Havik Brahmans, according to Harper's d e f i n i t i o n and h i s ana l y s i s , i t can be concluded that women have lower status than men. Harper appears to l i n k power, prestige and status a l l together. The lack of power, i t can be assumed, i s the lack of prestige, the lack of control over one's own s o c i a l environment and the lack of choices i n v o l - ving s e l f and a l t e r . Obversely, power i s the presence of prestige, the a b i l i t y to control one's own s o c i a l environment and the a b i l i t y to make choices involving s e l f and a l t e r . ( i ) Status and Power: My Argument In my own an a l y s i s , I have not equated status or presti g e with power and have not said, as Harper does, that the higher status p o s i t i o n one obtains, the more power one has. If we were to t a l k about power i n a quantitative sense, then perhaps we might conclude that men i n t r a d i t i o n a l India have more power (and status) than women. This, we could say, follows from the f a c t that they are responsible for more i n s t i t u t i o n s and more people as leaders i n the public sphere. I do not argue with the p o s i t i o n that men have status i n the society, but claim that i n fac t i t i s t h i s very status that i s put i n jeopardy by women's lack of i t . That i s , as stated i n the beginning of the paper "women as wives and mothers dependent on men as providers and as those responsible for t h e i r economic well-being among other things tend, at the same time, to be i n f l u e n t i a l upon that very p o s i t i o n of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y that man holds i n the society."3 In more simple terms, the question of women's status i s not the r e a l issue i n th i s t h e s i s . I am not attempting to argue that women have equal status to men, but that men's status i n the society i s p a r t i a l l y contingent upon the behavior of women. Women do not need status or prestige i n the same sense as men do to exercise power over others. ( i i ) Dangerous or Malevolent Beings: Harper a) One type of woman which i s considered to be dangerous among the Haviks, according to Harper, i s the widow. I t i s believed that the widow i s capable of administering poison and causing the death of others. A l l members of the community are believed to be endangered 4 by her. Harper points out that the a b i l i t y a t t r i b u t e d to the widow to poison others i s a b e l i e f , not a r e a l i t y . He comes to th i s con- c l u s i o n because he was unable to obtain any evidence that widows a c t u a l l y p r a c t i c e p o i s o n i n g . H i s f i n a l opinion regarding the fear of widows i s that the poison complex i s "an u n r e a l i s t i c b e l i e f pattern. The poison i s not poisonous, and there i s no evidence that there are poisoners." He interprets t h i s b e l i e f pattern as representative of an e x i s t i n g fear of the destructive p o t e n t i a l i t i e s of Havik Brahman widows.^ Harper goes as far as to say that Havik women are thought g to be dangerous. The term ' u n r e a l i s t i c i s important to understanding Harper's thesis and I w i l l return to i t shortly. 8 4 . b) Other women which are thought to be dangerous, i n Harper's a n a l y s i s , are menstruating women and women who have recently given b i r t h to a c h i l d . These women are categorized, Harper says, as p o l l u t i n g and r i t u a l l y 9 impure. When i n t h i s state of r i t u a l impurity, i t i s believed that women can bring harm to t h e i r f a m i l i e s . c) The t h i r d type of threatening woman said to be dangerous i s one who i s reputed to have strong sexual passion and sexual demands. These types of women are regarded as temptresses of the f l e s h and there i s , i n associ a t i o n with t h i s , the b e l i e f that "sexual intercourse i s r i t u a l l y d e f i l i n g " and saps male v i t a l i t y . "^ d) Harper also attaches s i g n i f i c a n c e to female d e i t i e s such as Mariamma. He informs h i s readers that Mariamma i s the deit y i n the l o c a l mythology with the highest malevolency p o t e n t i a l . Mariamma, so the story goes, a f t e r discovering that her husband had deceived her, slew him i n a f i t of rage.''""'" Harper also talks about s t o r i e s which are frequently t o l d about the Chaudis, "a cl a s s of lesser female d e i t i e s who may be both malevolent and benevolent." His most s i g n i f i c a n t statement, however, i s his own claim that "these s t o r i e s are relevant to the manner i n which women i n general are subconsciously viewed."12 Harper correlates the notion of the goddes' behavior with the behavior of women. He does so, however, without providing any r e a l t h e o r e t i c a l b a s i s . Nevertheless, some of the conclusions he draws are much the same as those which I have a r r i v e d at. He remarks 85. that the important feature of one chaudis story i s that i n i t i a l l y the chaudis i s described as d u t i f u l , h e l p f u l and submissive ( c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s 13 which he claims are usually used to describe the 'ideal w i f e'). Later i n the t a l e , with a change i n circumstances, the chaudis i s described as wrathful and vengeful. She, "holding anger i n her heart, begins a campaign of violence and destruction that may completely wipe out a l l members of her ex-master's household.""*"^ What I understand Harper to be saying, i n e f f e c t , i s that goddesses are l i k e women - goddesses represent both the consciously-recognized benevolent side of women as well as the not-consciously recognized malevolent side of women. The conscious view of women that Havik males hold, according to Harper, i s that they are weak-willed and sup e r s t i t i o u s and are constantly i n need of male protection. "The i d e a l feminine behavior i s characterized by submissiveness and deference. Women are believed to be shy, weak and r e t i r i n g and are expected to orient t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s toward the pleasing of males...A woman i n the r o l e of wife i s subordinate to the desires, the whims, and the angers of her husband. An oft-quoted s t a t e - ment i s that for a wife her husband i s her god."15 A f a m i l i a r representation of the ideal? I t i s c e r t a i n l y consis- tent with the Laws of Manu, with Beck's de s c r i p t i o n , with the Kama Sutra and almost every other source quoted on the i d e a l of Indian women. But what Harper says i s that subconsciously men fear the malevolent p o t e n t i a l i t i e s of women and so create goddesses who act ambiguously - both l i k e the id e a l (benevolent) and also l i k e i t s a n t i t h e s i s (male- volent) . 8 6 . ( i i ) Dangerous or Malevolent Beings: My Argument There i s nothing i n (b)'s and (c)'s descriptions above which con- t r a d i c t s my own statements regarding p u r i t y and p o l l u t i o n , or the nature of the seductress and her sexual powers. In f a c t , t h i s aspect of Harper's argument could be used as data to support my own hypothesis. In what way does (d), however, d i f f e r from my own theory? I t d i f f e r s i n that while I have hopefully demonstrated that there e x i s t s a mirror- l i k e q u a l i t y to the re l a t i o n s h i p between women and goddesses, I have, on the other hand, only suggested the p o s s i b i l i t y that goddesses might reveal some of the deeper structures of the human mind. What I have concentrated upon i s the s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s between men and women as well as upon K a l i , a Hindu goddess, as a symbolic manifestation of as well as a model for male/female i n t e r a c t i o n i n the t r a d i t i o n a l Indian society. Psychology enters into the analysis to the extent that the fear that men are said to experience i s r e a l . The fear i s , i n my opinion, not only experienced but there i s a s o c i a l cause f o r such fear. Harper seems to be saying that these ambivalent goddess figures are creations of the human psyche: that the fear i s not r e a l i s t i c . I am saying that while they may be creations of the human psyche, they rep- resent a system of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s which ex i s t s on the ground. In t h i s sense they are r e a l i s t i c . At t h i s point, i t becomes evident that the term r e a l i s t i c has a very p a r t i c u l a r meaning. ( i i i ) R e a l i s t i c : Harper Harper contends that t h i s fear of women ar i s e s as a consequence 87. of g u i l t - g u i l t caused by the fact that c e r t a i n women i n the society are of a lower status. He claims that the representation of these women as dangerous i s u n r e a l i s t i c (that i s , the fear i s expressed i n 16 i n d i r e c t , supernatural or mystical ways). Harper believes that the power of these 'dangerous women' i s d r a s t i c a l l y c u r t a i l e d . Therefore, he says, there i s l i t t l e reason for men to r e a l i s t i c a l l y fear them. He believes i t i s not l o g i c a l f o r these women to be feared because they cannot d i r e c t l y and openly cause harm to others. He hypothesizes, then, that i t has become necessary for this fear to be expressed i n i n d i r e c t or u n r e a l i s t i c ways."^ ( i i i ) Real i s t i c : My Argument In my own hypothesis, the basis for the fear of the Indian woman i s r e a l . By her unpredictable behavior, the woman exerts influence over her husband. I t i s not t o t a l l y by her submissiveness, nor her deferen- t i a l actions that she gains power over men or i s seen by them to be threatening. Rather her power i s derived from her a b i l i t y to behave ambivalently. Harper misses the s i g n i f i c a n c e of th i s ambivalent behavior of women. He appears to deny that there i s , i n fact any behavior which occurs on the part of women to substantiate these s t o r i e s and the consequent f e e l i n g s of fear among the Havik. Thus, he concludes, the fear must be a function of g u i l t f e e l i n g s brought about by the status d i f f e r - e n t i a l . Harper claims further that the fears are u n r e a l i s t i c because they are associated with the supernatural or mystical realm. However, my own 88. thesis shows that women's behavior i n the secular world i s threatening to men; t h e i r a b i l i t y to act contrary to the i d e a l i s the source of th e i r power over men and th e i r p o s i t i o n i n the public sphere. B. Where Do We Go From Here I f the task has been s u c c e s s f u l l y accomplished, the preceding pages have demonstrated that there i s a basis for conducting fieldwork i n the Bengal area on the notion that 1) further knowledge about the c e n t r a l Goddess fig u r e , Durga-Kali, w i l l lead to a greater understanding of Bengali women and 2) that further study of Bengali women w i l l lead to a greater under- standing of the Goddess Durga-Kali. The work contained herein has established that there i s a recurring pattern i n the l i t e r a t u r e analyzed as i t regards women and goddesses. This pattern represents the way i n which women are seen by others: on the one hand to behave according to a c e r t a i n i d e a l of p a s s i v i t y toward th e i r husbands and on the other hand to vary from that i d e a l and exhibit fury and a lack of co n t r o l l e d , i d e a l responses. The l a t t e r form of behavior has been compared with the i n i t i a t e ' s as he passes through states of t r a n s i t i o n within the society. What con- s t i t u t e s the l i m i n a l state for the i n i t i a t e i s what occurs when he i s apart from the structured and co n t r o l l e d segment of the society and l i t e r a l l y steps outside or beyond. In the case of the woman, her behavior constitutes a 'going beyond the l i m i t s of what i s normally prescribed,' leading to her being regarded as a dangerous creature with f r i n g e - l i k e a t t r i b u t e s . 89. I t has been shown that t h i s sort of a c t i v i t y on the part of women i s considered to be threatening to men. There i s , i n addi t i o n , every evidence that t h i s threat i s r e a l and that men can be brought under the control or influence of women by t h e i r behaving i n c o n s i s t e n t l y . This r e s u l t s for men i n a fear of p o l l u t i o n , of public shaming, of a loss of strength, of death, of dishonorment and a fear of the loss of order. The problem for fieldwork i s to determine not only the presence of the capacity for women to behave i n an ambiguous way, which i s f a i r l y c l e a r l y demonstrated, but to determine the frequency of behavior counter- ing the i d e a l . Also, one might inquire as to what type of events occasions this ambiguity, as well as attempting to e s t a b l i s h what e f f e c t t h i s behavior a c t u a l l y has upon the man's s o c i a l p o s i t i o n . I f women threaten men p u b l i c l y , how e f f e c t i v e i s t h i s i n a l t e r i n g t h e i r status. At the extreme, for example, could i t be proven that men have died at sea because t h e i r spouses have f a l l e n from the i d e a l path? As out- rageous as t h i s might seem at f i r s t glance, i t becomes important as a problem area of data c o l l e c t i o n . In order to e s t a b l i s h the f a c t u a l influence of women upon men, one must e s t a b l i s h i f men do generally f e e l t h i s threat (as the l i t e r a t u r e claims that they do) along with the extent to which t h i s behavior influences t h e i r own actions. One seeks a c o r r e l a t i o n between the b e l i e f and the action. One task i s to determine the expectations towards women (that i s , the b e l i e f s about the nature of female behavior). Another task i s to attempt to determine the number of occasions i n which a woman's adharmic action leads to the downfall of her spouse, to h i s p u b l i c shaming, or to a temporary state of humiliation. But from the emic perspective, i f the anthropologist i s seeking cause-effect power r e l a t i o n s h i p s , he or she should look for evidence of constraint upon men's action as well as actions a c t u a l l y brought about by women. Does men's fear of women's unpredictable behavior prevent them from taking c e r t a i n actions i n the public as well as domestic spheres or i n a s i m i l a r way does i t influence them to take c e r t a i n others. I f either or both i s true and can be proven true,then the b e l i e f s men hold about women can be correlated with t h e i r p ublic a c t i v i t i e s . Women do not have to frequently adopt forms of behavior which i s contrary to the i d e a l to be regarded by others as ambiguous. Men merely have to hold i n t h e i r heads the expectation of adharmic behavior (brought about presumably by even a small incidence of adharmic actions) for the fear to be l a b e l l e d by the s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t as r e a l . Another question worth considering concerns the issue of women's consciousness or lack of consciousness regarding t h e i r ambivalent behavior. Do women consciously manipulate men (as appears to be so i n the case of the courtesan) by t h e i r adharmic behavior, or does the behavior a r i s e spontaneously. Assuming that i t does - that women do lose c o n t r o l over themselves - are they aware of i t s e f f e c t s 91. on men? In order to answer these types of questions, an in-depth study of the woman's perception of hers e l f i s most e s s e n t i a l . And f i n a l l y , what r e l a t i o n s h i p does K a l i play i n a l l t h i s . To what extent do women i d e n t i f y with the Goddess and to what extent do men i d e n t i f y women's behavior and at t i t u d e s with the Goddess? Is K a l i an i n f l u e n t i a l force i n the l i v e s of the Bengali people and can her worship be said to lead to women's ambiguous q u a l i t i e s (at le a s t from the Bengali perspective). In conjunction with the above questions re K a l i , can one le g i t i m a t e l y treat status or the lack of Indian women's status as independent from the r e l i g i o u s system. For example, i s K a l i or goddesses l i k e K a l i merely a r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n , as Harper seems to imply, for the lower status of women i n that society? I f t h i s i s so then i t would not be unreasonable to assume, of course, that K a l i and b e l i e f s about women as t e r r i f y i n g and destructive are manifestations of g u i l t and fear a r i s i n g from t h i s stauts d i f f e r e n t i a l . We might, then, assume that the symbols which appear i n any given society are determined by the economic base of that society. However, i f we regard symbols as creations of the human mind which are meaningful i n other ways; ways such as I have suggested i n the foregoing, then we are prevented from a p r i o r i concluding that they are merely i d e o l o g i c a l r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n s . The above problems represent a confusion of emic and e t i c analyses; both, however, being important for the f i n a l understanding. Part of 92. the fieldwork proposal i s to include a clear d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n between the two types of analyses. Another portion i s to include an e f f e c t i v e methodology f or t h e i r documentation. Harper claims that because women do not l i t e r a l l y poison men, women are not a r e a l threat to men. K a l i i s not a r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n i n my view, however, she i s a part of a whole system of i n t e r r e l a t i o n s . The ambiguity which I have ascribed to women i s a part of that dynamic set of i n t e r r e l a t i o n s between men and women i n which women, by t h e i r dharmic and adharmic actions, mediate between men's l i v e s i n the public world. Men's honor and status as men i s dependent upon the necessity of c o n t r o l l i n g women's actions. Men have the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of maintaining s o c i a l order by maintaining t h e i r own status and prestige. They must, however, control t h e i r wives to do so. Women i t seems, however, are unpredictable and ultimately uncontrollable. How can some of these answers be achieved? One approach f o r the researcher would be to determine how women are influenced by K a l i and to what degree women see themselves l i k e K a l i , i f at a l l . One then might also attempt to discover i f status i s an issue f o r the t r a d i t i o n a l woman as well as the more modernized one. Another way around the whole problem, of course, i s to discover i f women r e a l l y do poison men. In concluding, l e t me summarize the fieldwork problem;:.. Although ov e r t l y the dark, angry and destructive aspect of K a l i i s refuted by Bengalis, these aspects of K a l i must, i t may be presumed, have some r e l a t i o n to the way i n which women are, are seen by others 93. and see themselves. The s o c i o l o g i c a l problem concerns the ways i n which the var i e d aspects and th e i r r e f r a c t i o n s r e l a t e to women's experience of themselves and others within t h e i r s o c i a l ambience. An i n v e s t i g a t i o n i n three parts i s proposed: (a) The l i t e r a t u r e on Bengali Sakta devotionalism, t y p i f i e d by two of Bengal's most famous r e l i g i o u s f i g u r e s : Ramprasad Sen and Ramakrishna (mentioned i n the e a r l i e r chapters). This l i t e r a t u r e can be more thoroughly researched through the assistance of the Rama- i r i s h n a Mission I n s t i t u t e of Culture as well as various Sanskrit scholars i n the Calcutta area. (b) An i n v e s t i g a t i o n of p a r t i c u l a r i n s t i t u t i o n s focussed on K a l i worship and s a c r i f i c e such as the Kalighat Temple i n Calcutta, the major K a l i f e s t i v a l held every F a l l i n Bengal, as well as the Kumari Puja, performed p e r i o d i c a l l y at the Dakhineswar Temple i n Calcutta. (c) The l i f e h i s t o r i e s and s o c i a l ambiences of p a r t i c u l a r i n d i v i d u a l s selected as a cross-section so as to include members of d i f f e r e n t l o c a l communities, castes, classes, economic and educational p o s i t i o n s . This could involve the study of either a few i n d i v i d u a l f a m i l i e s , as i n Wolf's study of the Taiwanese family, or could become 1 8 more extensive to include a f a i r l y wide range • of persons. A l l three phases or aspects of the study being contemplated can be c a r r i e d out i n Bengal, using Calcutta as a base. FOOTNOTES 94. INTRODUCTION 1. Beane, W.C. 1977: 58 2. Geertz, C. 1974: 481 1 3. i b i d : 486 4. Inden, R.B. and R.W. Nicholas 1977. 5. Stephens, W.N. 1963: 296 6. i b i d : 296 7. Belshaw, C. 1976: 247 8. Schneider, D.1968: xv 9. Harper, E.B. 1969: 81 CHAPTER I 1. Neumann, E. 1974: 150 2. James, E.O. 1959: 32 3. Battacharya, N.N. 1971: 118 4. Neumann, E. op. c i t . : 151 5. i b i d : 150 6. Stone, M. 1976: 73 7. Durga i s almost always c l o s e l y associated with, or i d e n t i f i e d with, K a l i . 8. Kinsley, D.R. 1976: 83 9. Battacharya, N.N. op. c i t . : 62 10. Kinsley, D.R. op. c i t . : 85 11. Beane, W.C. op. c i t . : 58 12. K a l i : Mund. Up, i , 24, ShadraKali and S r i San, G.S. i i 15.4 13. Battacharya, N.N. op. c i t . : 104 14. The term 'Great T r a d i t i o n i s used here to r e f e r to the Indo-Aryan, 95. Brahmanic, Vedic or Orthodox r e l i g i o u s t r a d i t i o n s . The term ' L i t t l e T r a d i t i o n ' r e f e r s to the Dravidian, t r i b a l , indigenous or regional r e l i g i o u s t r a d i t i o n . 15. Marriott, M. 1955. 16. Beane, W.C. op. c i t . : 38 17. P r z y l u s k i , J . 1934: 412. v. 10 18. i b i d : 430 19. Kinsley-, D.R. op. c i t . : 86-7 20. i b i d : 5 21. Kinsley disagrees with Przyluski's assumption that there was i n existence i n Vedic India a being comparable to figures i n the Ancient New East or Mediterranean area. 22. i b i d : 82 23. Ib i d : 85 24. Battacharya, N.N. op. c i t . : 62 25. i b i d : 92 26. Zimmer, H. 1951: 564 27. i b i d : 564 28. Kinsley, D.R. op. c i t . : 112 29. Battacharya, N. 1964: 153 30. The Tantras are r e l a t i v e l y l a t e r sacred writings of Hinduism, dating i n the present form from the 7th or 8th C. of the C h r i s t i a n era or even l a t e r . The l i t e r a t u r e i s used most commonly by the Sakta who worship the female p r i n c i p l e . 31. Woodroffe, S i r John. 1951: 31 32. Zimmer, H. op. c i t . : 563 33. Battacharya, N.N. History of Sakta Religion. 34. Zimmer, H. op. c i t . : 296 35. i b i d : 297 96. 36. The Bhakti Cult took on s p e c i a l meaning as a movement during the medieval period i n India. 37. Kinsley, D.R. op. c i t . : 120 38. i b i d : 122 39. Ibid: 122 40. Ghat - the steps of K a l i . Campbell, J.1959: 5 41. Lederer, W. 1968: 135 42. Sharma, K.N.: 150 43. Neumann, E. op. c i t . : 152 44. Beane, W.C. op. c i t . : 190 45. Zimmer, H. op. c i t . : 565-6 46. i b i d : 565-6 47. Neumann, E. op. c i t . : 152 48. Nathan, L. and C. Seely; 4 49. i b i d : 34 50. i b i d : 39 51. i b i d : 86 52. i b i d : 4 53. i b i d : 3 54. i b i d : 6 55. i b i d : 6 56. Webster's Third New International Dictionary 57. I n g a l l s , D.H. 1965: 89 The di c t i o n a r y denotes two general types of ambivalence: one r e f e r s to an a t t i t u d e , the other a behavior. The f i r s t , an ambivalent a t t i t u d e , 97. means a contradictory emotional or psychological f e e l i n g e s p e c i a l l y addressed toward a p a r t i c u l a r person or object (quite probably involving a simultaneous a t t r a c t i o n toward and repulsion f o r ) . The second, an ambivalent behavior, means an action i n v o l v i n g a l t e r - nating obedience and r e b e l l i o n , followed by self-reproach; or a continual o s c i l l a t i o n (as between one thing and another). Both are used i n relevant contexts within t h i s t h e s i s . 58. I n g a l l s , D.H. op. c i t . : 92 59. This analysis of the Hindu r e l i g i o u s philosophy was arrived at through discussions with K.E. Bryant, Professor, Department of Asian Studies, U.B.C. CHAPTER II 1. The topic of fieldwork proposals w i l l be discussed more extensively i n the f i n a l chapter. 2. Nelson, C. 1974: 552 3. Sacks, K. 1976: 565 4. Nelson, C. op. c i t . : 552 5. i b i d : 554 6. Stephens, W.N. 1963: 289 7. Lewin et a l . 1971: 13 8. Woodroffe, S i r John. op. c i t . j 2-3 9. Turner, V. 1969. 10. The term madness i s not used i n any s t r i c t psychological sense but more as an e t i c d e s c r i p t i o n of observed behavior. 11. Parsons, T.F. 1951 12. Thiselton-Dyer, T.F. op. c i t . : 3 13. Thiselton-Dyer, T.F. 1906: 3 14. Dworkin, A. 1974: 35 15. i b i d : 35 16. i b i d : 48 98. 17. T h i s e l t o n - D y e r , T.F. op. c i t . : 3 18. i b i d : 3 19. Rogers, S. 1975: 736 20. P i t t - R i v e r s , J.A. 1961: 197-8 i n Rogers, S. op. c i t . 21. N e l s o n , C. op. c i t . : 3 22. T h i s e l t o n - D y e r , T.F. op. c i t . : 3 23. Cunnison, T. 1966: 117 24. Wolf, E. 1972: 40 25. L e d e r e r , W. op. c i t . : 35 26. Delaney, L.T. 1977: 3 27. F a r r e g e , 1971: 318 28. Murphy, Y. and R. Murphy 1974: 153 Chapter I I I 1. Beck, B.E.F. 1975: 31 2. S h a s t r i , J.L. 1973: 504 3. i b i d : 395 4. i b i d : 1920 5. i b i d : 1923 6. D a n i e l , S. 1974 ( u n p u b l i s h e d ) : 119 7. S h a s t r i , J.L. op. c i t . : 2036 8. I n g a l l s , D.H. op. c i t . : 89 9. K i n s l e y , D.R. op. c i t . : 108 10. The terms shaming and h u m i l i a t i n g have a l s o been used above and i n o t h e r p a r t s o f the t h e s i s w i t h o u t b e i n g a d e q u a t e l y d e f i n e d . In the c o n c l u d i n g p a r t s o f t h i s c h a p t e r they w i l l be d i s c u s s e d i n more d e t a i l . 99. 11. Kinsley, D.R. op. c i t : 135 12. i b i d : 135 13. Nathan, L. and C. Seely, op. c i t . : 39 14. Kinsley, D.R. op. c i t . : 136 15. Wadley, S. 1975: 61 16. Rolland, R. 1930: 15 17. Shast r i , J.L. op. cit,. . 1666 18. i b i d : 1667 19. Mahabharata (X. 144.6) 20. Beck, B.E.F. Unpublished 1975: 1 21. Bader, C. 1964; 23. Sen Gupta, S r i Sankar (ed.) 1969: x x x x v i i i 24. Cormack, M. 1953: 148 25. Wadley, S. op. c i t . 26. S h a s t r i , J.L. op. c i t . : 705 27. L i v r e V, s i . 147 28. Basham, A. L. 1959: 180-181 29. Sharma, K.N. op. c i t . : 87 30. Ibid: 111 31. Beck, B.E.F. op. c i t 31 32. Woodroffe, S i r John op. c i t . : 25, 128 100. 33. Daniel, S. op. c i t . : 146 34. i b i d : 147 35. Here ambivalence i s used i n what I believe i s the more commonly used form and refers to attitudes of observers towards something, rather than the expression of c e r t a i n types of behavior. That i s , ambivalence i n t h i s case i s contradictory emotional or psychological a t t i t u d e s , esp. towards a p a r t i c u l a r person or object. 36. Daniel, S. op. c i t . : 157 37. Baig, T.A. 1976: 138 38. Daniel, S. op. c i t . : 122 39. i b i d : 82 40. S h a s t r i , J.L. op. c i t . : 324 41. Baig, Tara A l i . 1976: 138 42. i b i d : 139 43. Bader, C. op. c i t . : 55 44. L i v r e i x , SI. 7 45. L i v r e i x , SI. 7 46. Baig, T.A. op. c i t . : 56 47. Lannoy, R. 1971: 103 48. ibid:, 107 49. i b i d : 107 50. Jacobson, D. 1977: 61 51. Wadley, S. op. c i t . : 124 52. She, too, l i k e others argues that there i s no d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n i n the Hindu b e l i e f system between superhuman and human. 53. Wadley, S. op. c i t . : 124 54. P i l l a i , T.S. 1962: 164 55. i b i d : 214 CHAPTER IV 1. Spellmen i n Vatsyayana. 1971: 10 2. India had a whole l i t e r a t u r e of e r o t i c a c a l l e d Kok Shastras which the Kama Sutra i s the most renowned (Baig 1976: 6). 3. Vatsyayana. op. c i t . : 159 4. i b i d : 163 5. i b i d : 160 6. Baig, T.A. op. c i t . : 59 7. Daniel, S. op. c i t . : 156 8. Vatsyayana, op. c i t . : 205 9. i b i d : 220 10. i b i d : 221 11. i b i d : 132 12. Ruswa, Mirza. 1970. 13. i b i d : 97 14. i b i d : 231-2 15. Daniel, S. (unpublished 1978): 6 CHAPTER V- 1. Harper, Edward B. 1969: 81 2. i b i d : 81 3. Refer pg. 7 4. Harper, E.B. op. c i t . : 83 5. i b i d : 84 6. i b i d : 85 102. 7. ibid: 85 8. ibid: 85 9. ibid: 85 10. ibid: 85 11. ibid: 86 12. ibid: 86 13. ibid: 86 14. ibid: 86 15. ibid: 89 16. ibid: 93 17. ibid: 93 18. Wolf, M. 1972. BIBLIOGRAPHY Bader, C l a r i s s e Women i n Ancient India Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series O f f i c e . Varanasi. 1967 Baig, Tara A l i . India's Woman Power S. Chand. New Deh l i . 1976 Basham, A.L. The Wonder that was India. New York. Grove.Press. 1959 Battacharyya, N.N. Indian Mother Goddess Indian Studies/past and present. R.D. Press. Calcutta. 1971 Beane, W.C. Myth, Cult and Symbols i n Sakta Hinduism/a study of the Indian Mother Goddess. Leiden E.J. B r i l l . 1977 Beck, B.E.F. The Role of Women i n a Tamil Folk Epic. Unpublished. 1975 Bhattacharyya, N. An Introduction to Buddhist Escoterism. 2nd ed., Varanasi. Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series O f f i c e . 1964 Campbell, J . The Masks of God. New York, Viking Press. 1959 Cormack, M. The Hindu Woman. New York. Teachers College. Columbia U n i v e r s i t y . 1953 Cunnison, T.G. Baggara Arabs: Power and the Lineage i n a Sudanese Nomad Tribe. Oxford, Clarendon. 1966 Daniel, Sheryl B. The S p i r i t of L i l a : An anthropological study of the Siva Purana (unpublished). U n i v e r s i t y of Chicago. 1974 Delaney, Janice et a l . The Curse/ a c u l t u r a l h i s t o r y of menstruation. New American Li b r a r y . 1977 Dworkin, Andrea. Woman Hating. E.P. Dutton. New York. 1974 Geertz, C. From the Native's Point of View: on the nature of anthropological understanding. B u l l e t i n of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. October 1974 104. Harper, Edward B. Fear and the Status of Women. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, 25: 81-95. 1969 Inden, Ronald B and R.W. Nicholas. Kinship i n Bengal Culture. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. 1977 In g a l l s , D.H. An Anthology of Sanskrit Court Poetry. Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University Press. 1965 James, E.0. Cult of the Mother Goddess; an archaeological and documentary study. London, Thames and Hudson. 1959 Nathan, L. and C. Seely. Grace and Mercy i n her Wild Hair: Selected Poems to the Mother Goddess by Ramprasad Sen. (unpublished) Kinsley, David R. The Sword and the F l u t e . Vikas Publishing House Pvt. India. 1976 Lannoy, Richard. The Speaking Tree. London: Oxford Un i v e r s i t y Press. 1971 Lederer, Wolfgang. The Fear of Women. Grune and Stratton. New York and London. 1968 Marriott, McKim L i t t l e Communities i n an Indigenous C i v i l i z a t i o n i n V i l l a g e India: Studies i n the L i t t l e Community. Chicago. Un i v e r s i t y of Chicago Press. 1955 Murphy, Yolanda and R. Murphy Women of the Forest. Columbia University Press. 1974 Nelson, Cynthia Public and Private P o l i t i c s : Women i n the Mid-Eastern World. American Ethnologist 1 (3): 551-563 Neumann, E r i c h . The Great Mother/An Analysis of the Archetype. Princeton Uni v e r s i t y Press. 1974 (2nd printing) Parsons, T. The S o c i a l System. The Free Press. New York. 1951 P i l l a i , T.S. Chemeen. V i c t o r Gollancz. London 1962. P i t t - R i v e r s , J.A. The People of the S i e r r a . Chicago, U n i v e r s i t y of Chicago Press. 1961 Pr y z l u s k i , Jean The Great Goddess i n India and Iran i n Indian H i s t o r i c a l Quarterly, V. 10. 1934 105. Rogers, Susan. Female Forms of Power and the Myth of Male Dominance: a model of female-male i n t e r a c t i o n i n peasant society. American Ethnologist 2: 724-756. Ruswa, Mirza. The Courtesan of Lucknow/Umrao Jan Ada. Unesco. Hind Pocket Books. Dehli. 1970 Sacks, Karen State Bias and Women's Status. American Anthropologist, 78: 565-569. 1976 Schneider, David M. American Kinship: a c u l t u r a l account. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J. P r e n t i c e - H a l l . 1968 Sengupta, S r i Sankar (ed.) Women i n Indian F o l k l o r e . Indian Publications. Calcutta. 1969 Sharma, K.N. Vaisheshikadarshana. Barchhwar. D i s t r i c t Mandi. 1972 Stephens, William N. The Family i n Cros s - c u l t u r a l Perspective. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 1963 Stone, Merlin. When God was a Woman. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. New York. 1976 Thiselton-Dyer, T.F. Folkl o r e of Women. Chicago. A.C. McClurg and Co. 1906 Turner, V i c t o r W. The R i t u a l Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. Chicago. Aldine Publishing Co. 1969 Vatsyayana. The Kama Sutra. S i r Richard Burton and F.F. Arbuthnot (t r . ) New York. Putman's Sons. 1971 Wadley, Susan S. Shakti: Power i n the Conceptual Structure of Karimpur R e l i g i o n . The University of Chicago Studies i n Anthro- pology Series i n Soci a l C u l t u r a l L i n g u i s t i c s No. 2. Chicago. 1975. Wolf, Margery Women and the Family i n Rutal Taiwan. Stanford, C a l i f . Press. 1972 Woodroffe, S i r John Shakti and Shakta. Ganesh & Co. Madras. 1951 Zimmer, H. Philosophies of India. Bollingen Series XXVI. Princeton Un i v e r s i t y Press. (3rd ed. 1974) 1951 106. APPENDIX A

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