a Contemporary Indian Great Goddess
Keywords:goddess worship, Rabari social organisation, Bhuwa, Devi, Great Goddess, Indian Sublime, Mammai Dharma, Maya, Nirguna, Sorathiya Rabari
The theological and sociological implications associated with the existence (or non-existence) of ancient Great Goddess religions have been hotly debated for more than half a century, even prior the rise of recognizable feminist approaches to Archaeology and Religious Studies. This rare, if not unique, ethnographic account of such a theology as practised today is therefore a significant intervention, hopefully putting some clothes on otherwise naked speculation. The Sorathiya Rabari pastoralists of Saurastra, western India, hold Mammai Mataji as their Godhead. Mammai Dharma (religion) provides their path to salvation and a guide to right action in the world. It is a vital ingredient of Sorathiya Rabari identity and offers a structure for intra-caste political organization. Like most other Hindus, Rabari social values are unambiguously patriarchal, so how this coexists with belief in an omnipotent feminine Divine is explored throughout the article.
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