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Religions 2017, 8(8), 142; doi:10.3390/rel8080142

Can Tantra Make a Mātā Middle-Class?: Jogaṇī Mātā, a Uniquely Gujarati Chinnamastā

School of Religious Studies, McGill University, William and Henry Birks Building, 3520 University Street, Montreal, QC H3A 2A7, Canada
Received: 30 June 2017 / Revised: 28 July 2017 / Accepted: 2 August 2017 / Published: 8 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Society for Tantric Studies Proceedings (2016))
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Abstract

The Gujarati mātās, village goddesses traditionally popular among scheduled castes and often worshipped through rites of possession and animal sacrifice, have recently acquired Sanskritic Tantric resonances. The contemporary iconography of the goddess Jogaṇī Mātā, for instance, is virtually identical to that of the Mahāvidyā Chinnamastā. Yantra and mantra also feature prominently in Jogaṇī worship, which has begun to attract upwardly mobile urban middle-class devotees. Drawing on ethnography from three Jogaṇī sites in and around Ahmedabad, this paper identifies a tendency among worshippers and pūjārīs to acknowledge Jogaṇī’s tantric associations only to the extent that they instantiate a safe, Sanskritic, and Brahmanically-oriented Tantra. The appeal of these temples and shrines nonetheless remains the immediacy with which Jogaṇī can solve problems that are this-worldly, reminiscent of the link identified by Philip Lutgendorf between Tantra and modern Indians’ desire for ‘quick-fix’ religion. This research not only documents a rare regional iteration of Chinnamastā, but also speaks to the cachet that Tantra increasingly wields, consciously or unconsciously, within the burgeoning Gujarati and Indian urban middle-classes. View Full-Text
Keywords: Gujarat; tantra; goddess; ethnography; middle-class; Hinduism; India Gujarat; tantra; goddess; ethnography; middle-class; Hinduism; India
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Dinnell, D. Can Tantra Make a Mātā Middle-Class?: Jogaṇī Mātā, a Uniquely Gujarati Chinnamastā. Religions 2017, 8, 142.

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