Showing posts with label Saundatti. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saundatti. Show all posts

Hinduism - Who Is Goddess Yellamma In The Hindu Pantheon?

 



Presiding deity of the sanctuary atop Yellama hill in Saundatti, Karnataka's Belgaum district.

Yellama's temple is famous for being a historic center for devadasis ("[female] servants of the Lord"), a class of women held in temples as singers and dancers in the service of the temple's presiding goddess, to whom they were traditionally considered "married." Both boys and girls may be consecrated in Yellama's temple.

Although the devadasi tradition has been associated with common prostitution for the past two centuries, it was far more common in earlier times for a devadasi to live with a single man for the rest of her life, despite the fact that she could not marry him because she was considered dedicated to the deity.

This devotion is sometimes done in response to a demand from the goddess herself, which is revealed via possession; in other situations, the parents undertake it in the hopes of gaining some tangible benefit, most notably recovery from sickness.

Yellamma is linked to fire, as well as causing (and maybe treating) skin disorders, which can be seen as a metaphor for "burning." According to the old paradigm, devadasis possessed a distinct social status and unique legal privileges, including the right to family inheritance and the ability to conduct religious ceremonies that were not available to other women.

These privileged powers vanished with the banning of the devadasi system, which was partially carried out by the British and was finally carried out in post-independence India.

Although such dedications continue to occur, they are often used as a cover for procuring the girls, who are then transferred to brothels in Bombay, Pune, and other central Indian towns.

Most of the girls come from very impoverished families, and their devotion to Yellamma is a method for them to avoid having to pay for a wedding, which is a big expenditure in modern Indian culture.

The dedications are said to be common and take place on the full moon in the lunar month of Magh (January–February), although the laws prohibiting them are seldom enforced due to secrecy.

See Frederique Apffel Marglin's Wives of the God-King, 1985, for a more in-depth look at the devadasi system at the Jagannath temple in Puri.


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