Heroic wives: rituals, stories, and the virtues of Jain wifehood 9780195389647, 9780199736799

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Heroic wives: rituals, stories, and the virtues of Jain wifehood
 9780195389647, 9780199736799

Table of contents :
Note on Translation and Transliteration (page xiii)
I. Thinking about Wifehood (page 3)
Part I. Making Ideal Marriages
2. Fasting, Saubhāgya, and Jain Satī Narratives (page 35)
3. Jain Satīs, Women's Agency, and Bad Marriages (page 55)
4. The Perfect Marriage (page 79)
Part II. Negotiating Discourses
5. Jains and Satīmātā Discourse (page 109)
6. Embodying Wifehood (page 141)
Conclusion: The Pleasures of Jain Wifehood (page 171)
Notes (page 181)
Glossary (page 223)
Works Cited (page 233)
Index (page 245)

Citation preview

Heroic Wives

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Heroic Wives Rituals, Stories, and the Virtues of Jain Wifehood



UNIVERSITY PRESS Oxford University Press, Inc., publishes works that further Oxford University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education.

Oxford New York

Auckland Cape Town Dares Salaam Hong Kong Karachi Kuala Lumpur Madrid Melbourne Mexico City Nairobi New Delhi Shanghai Taipei Toronto With offices in

Argentina Austria Brazil Chile Czech Republic France Greece Guatemala Hungary Italy Japan Poland Portugal Singapore South Korea Switzerland Thailand Turkey Ukraine Vietnam Copyright © 2009 by Oxford University Press, Inc. Published by Oxford University Press, Inc. 198 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016 www.oup.com

Oxford is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Oxford University Press. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Kelting, Mary Whitney. Heroic wives : rituals, stories, and the virtues of Jain wifehood / by M. Whitney Kelting.

p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-19-538964-7

1. Women in Jainism. 2. Jaina women—Conduct of life. 3. Wives—India—Conduct of life. 4. Marriage—Religious aspects—Jainism.

5. Jainism—Rituals. I. Title BL1375.W65K44 2009

294.4086! 55—dc22 2009004593

987654321 Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper

For Steven and Read

and in Memory of Lilavati Shantilal Shah

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I have been thinking about Jain wifehood for a long time. Over the years, I have had an enormous amount of help and support from family, friends, and colleagues around the world. This project could never have been completed without the generous financial support of a senior research fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies and the tactical support of A.I.I.S., in particular Dr. Pradeep Mehendiratta and Purnima Mehta. I am especially grateful for their support of my decision to remain in India after the September 11 bombings. I also wish to thank several institutions for generous support for shorter research trips related to this project, without which I could not have followed up on leads and observed rituals associated with weddings and particular festivals. Thanks to St. Lawrence University (2000), Grinnell College (2002), and Northeastern University (2005, 2006, and 2008). In India, I was given access to the Jain collections at the L. D. Institute of Indology and the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, for which I am grateful. A special note of thanks is due to the Mount Abu Temple Trust for allowing me special access to the Rajul image there and to the Sri Munisuvrata Temple Trust, Thane, for allowing me to take photographs. I wish to thank colleagues and friends who have supported me in so many varied ways, challenged my thinking, and clarified my arguments surrounding this project in conversations, phone calls, letters, and email everywhere from parties in New York and conferences in North America and Europe to tea shops in Pune:


Kathy and John Anderson, Alan Babb, Wendy Bellermann, Dan Blacksberg, Paul Buckley, Angus Burke, Matt Burke, Uday Chandra, Paul Courtright, Anne Csete, Dena Davis, Richard Davis, Jeff and Sandy DeSmedt, Peter Fliigel, Tyler Gore, Phyllis Granoff, Michael Greenwald, Christine Halvorson, Bill Hamilton, Bill Harman, Maria Heim, Steve Heim, Nadege Joly, Shuchi Kapila, Julie Kurd, Carolyn Lockwood, Alison Mackenzie-Shah, Margaret McCarthy, Jeff McKibben, Michael Meister, Mekhala Natavar, Anastasia Norton-Piliavsky, Christian Novetzke, Leslie Orr, Paul Paulson, Nancy Pierce, Tracy Pintchman, the late Selva Raj, Leigh Ramsaywak-Gore, Jo Reynell, Henry Rietz, Warren Senders, Fred Smith, Mary Jane Smith, Zard Snodgrass, Vijaya Sundaram, Jorge and Marguerite Torres, Anne Vallely, Steve Vose, Ivette Vargas, Joe Walser, and Melissa Watson. At Northeastern, my colleagues have all been fantastic, but especially: Heather Hindman, Steve Nathanson, Ron Sandler, and Susan Setta. I wish to thank Cynthia Read at Oxford University Press for her support of this project and to thank the three anonymous readers of this manuscript at Oxford for their helpful comments. Thanks also to my students who literally cheered me through the writing of this book. In particular, I wish to thank John Cort, Paul Dundas, and Kristi Wiley, who have answered many questions about things Jain, helped me with difficult translations, and generally cheered me on; beyond being exemplary colleagues, they are true friends. I have had the excellent help of several research assistants: at Grinnell College, Alok Shah; and at Northeastern University: Marcie Ristich, Laura Mangano, Malcolm Purinton, and Sam Kasuli; and my departmental administrative assistant and former student at Northeastern, Kendra Sarna. Too often we forget to thank those whose work frees us to do our research and writing; with this in mind, I wish to thank everyone at the Russell Call Children’s Center, whose enlightened and loving care of my son provided me with the time and energy to write this book. In India, I wish to thank everyone in the Shivajinagar congregation, where I am continually welcomed at congregational events. The Sri Parsva Mahila Mandal continues to serve as my research base and focus of my dearest friends. I want to thank and recognize the contributions of many women in Pune, but also in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Junnar, Karad, Kamshet, Morbar, Mount Abu, and Patan, who spoke to me about their lives; for the sake of your privacy I cannot name you here, but I sincerely hope you all know how much I cherish your gifts of time and friendship. Thanks to Madhav Bhandare, Bhagyashri

Bhandare, and Shantaram Gavade for incredible tactical support in Pune, and Nanda Pandhare for managing our home in 1993-1994 and again in 2001-2002. I must give particular thanks to the Alandikar family, who have


offered me a piyar to which I have returned over and over again for the last fifteen years, and who have given me so much love and support (providing help

in everything from identifying potential contacts and searching for relevant information while Iam away in the States to feeding me and my family literally hundreds of khakhra) throughout this project that it can truly be said that without them I would never have been able to complete this book. Dadi, the late Lilavati Shantilal Shah, who died during the writing of this book, was my dearest and most generous companion; there are no thanks great enough to match her generosity and love.

I thank my entire extended family, a sprawling crowd spanning four generations, whose joy in being together is a model of happiness I carry with me wherever I go. I must give extra special thanks to my mother Whitney Keen and my sister Jettie Sacchini for their inspiring interest in this project. I dedicate this book to three people: Most important, I thank my husband, Steve Runge, for his full-on engagement with India, for his tactical and editorial magnificence, for the use of his photographs, for his sense of humor while our lives were so unpredictable, for being a full-time father for our son during his early years, for postponing his

important writing so that I could finish this book, and above all else for his seemingly infinite love and support of me, his often less than perfect though always devoted, wife. My son Read, who was born to us in the middle of this project, I thank for

his patience with my work, for the joy he brings to every day, for the pride he shows when he speaks of my book, and for his love of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” which seemed so transcendently appropriate to the writing of this book. Finally, I dedicate this book to the memory of Dadi, Lilavati Shantilal Shah, who has surely moved on to a meritorious birth worthy of her piety, generosity, and kindness, but who, in leaving this life, has left a void in mine.

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Note on Translation and Transliteration, xiii 1. Thinking about Wifehood, 3 Part I. Making Ideal Marriages 2. Fasting, Saubhagya, and Jain Sati Narratives, 35 3. Jain Satis, Women’s Agency, and Bad Marriages, 55

4. The Perfect Marriage, 79 Part Il. Negotiating Discourses 5- Jains and Satimata Discourse, 109 6. Embodying Wifehood, 141 Conclusion: The Pleasures of Jain Wifehood, 171

Notes, 181 Glossary, 223 Works Cited, 233

Index, 245

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Note on Translation and Transliteration

My research was conducted in a mixture of Gujarati and Hindi (Marwari and sometimes that elusive tongue, Bombay Hindi). All of the translations in this book are mine, unless otherwise indicated. If no source is given for the text itself, that text was transcribed from my tape recordings or collected orally into my field notes. Translation, in itself, is an imperfect art. I tried to retain the feel of the language in these translations, but when a choice of fidelities arose, I chose accuracy of meaning. I have used a standardized transliteration format recommended by the ALA-LC. In quotations from printed texts, I retain the spellings in the texts, even if words have been spelled “incorrectly.” As a rule, I did not include the final “a,” as it was not pronounced in Gujarati and Hindi, unless the original text was in Prakrit and Sanskrit. The exceptions are in words that would end with a consonant that is difficult to pronounce without the final “a” or other words in which I heard the final “a” voiced by the speakers; for example, the word mantr was pronounced “mantra” and moks seemed to retain the edge of the “a” in the pronunciation “moksa.” In order to make the book less cumbersome, I have decided to translate some words into English in spite of the imperfections of the translation (for example, sdadhvi translated as “nun’), but I did this only when the particulars of the definition, which were lost in translation, were not relevant to my discussion. I am sure there are mistaken judgments and inconsistencies; for this I ask the readers’ forgiveness.

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Heroic Wives

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I Thinking about Wifehood

Praises to Adinath, the first Jina, make our prayers fruitful. At sunrise, create auspiciousness, and repeat the sixteen satis’ names. —(Sol Satino Chand 1)

In 1993, while paging through a copy of a ubiquitous Jain hymn collection, I came across these lines in the Sol Satino Chand, a hymn to the sixteen satis.’ I was surprised to find satis venerated in the Jain tradition, guided as I was at the time by the conflation in colonial and Orientalist writings of the term sati with widow immolation, and by the assumption that this violent death would be one which Jains would reject.” In essence, sat? means “true woman’—specifically a female hero; the basis of her heroism is in being a devoted wife (a pativrata) without peer. While it did not surprise me that the term pativrata would be part of Jain laywomen’s discourse, I certainly had not expected satis to appear as subjects of devotional hymns. Nor did I know then that answering the question: “What are satis doing in this hymnal?” would take the better part of eight years. I asked many Jains about this text and, although all the laywomen and mendicants I asked knew about the sixteen satis, few recited this very text. (In fact, the only time I observed this text being recited was at the start of a lecture given by a nun about satis.) And yet I continued to turn up many other references to these Jain satis in other hymns, rituals, and stories, and they demanded my further attention. I returned to this material for my next project. During my primary research trip for this project in 2001-2002,


I found that the more I learned about Jain satis, the more ubiquitous and central to Jain laywomen’s religiosity they appeared, and the more baffling their presence came to seem. Jainism’s spiritual aim is, ultimately, to disengage oneself from worldly existence, and Jain devotionalism is directed at those souls that have reached that perfect detachment and become liberated. Perfection, to a Jain, is

the omniscience that arises out of the absence of karma. How is it, then, that there is this vast corpus of popular texts, many of them written by prominent scholar-monks between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries that illustrate the distinctly worldly virtues of devoted Jain wives? And how did these heroic Jain wives come to be known by the same term as is used in Hindu religiocultural contexts, without the rite of widow immolation but with many similar virtues?

Jain satis, like Jain laywomen, inhabit the intersection between South Asian discourse of pativrata and the Jain discourse of renunciation and liberationdirected practices.

In this volume, I examine the ways that Jain laywomen negotiate the complex and sometimes contradictory ideologies of women’s virtues, which shape their thinking about wifehood. Jain sati narratives and their related rituals suggest that women can and do control the state of their marriage, and that women can succeed in negotiating the ideologies of devoted wifehood (pativrata), auspicious wifehood (saubhdgya), virtuous womanhood (sati) and renunciation (moksa marg). By analyzing several Jain sati narratives (Sulasa,

Rohini, Subhadra, Afjana, Maynasundari, Rajul, Brahmi-Sundari, and Candanbala) and their associated rituals, we see how these narrative/ritual complexes shape Jain thinking on wifehood. This book explores the ways that Jain women use sati narratives and rituals to understand wifehood as a choice, which these women’s ongoing ritual practices continually shape. My research involved participant observation of rituals associated with the

annual festivals of Paryusan, the twice-annual Ayambil Oli, and the Nemi Vacan on Sravan bright fifth as well as the rituals associated with occasional or once-in-a-lifetime laywomen’s fasts and the ordinations of nuns (diksd). In domestic settings, I was able to observe a variety of practices associated with protecting and controlling one’s wifehood and the sociopolitics of joint families. Outside of the overtly Jain context of the above rituals, I also observed the rituals of weddings from both the groom’s and the bride’s families’ perspectives, the

social rituals of marriage arrangements, and rituals that the Jains I observed understood to be effective Hindu rituals. These ritual observances were coupled

with countless hours of formal interviews and informal conversations with married women, brides, unmarried young women, and widows. My focus was on wifehood from the perspective of wives—both prospective and actual—so my research only occasionally extended to nuns and Jain men.


Jainism in Brief A quick introduction to Jainism will set my discussion in its context. My research is conducted primarily with Gujarati- and Marwari-speaking Svetambar Muirtipujak Jain laywomen in Pune district, Maharashtra. Jains are a minotity religious community clustered primarily in western India, with a smaller cluster in south India totaling approximately four and a quarter million people. The 2001 Census of India returns the figure of 4,225,053 for the population of

Jains (0.4 percent of the population of India), with the highest densities in Maharashtra (1.3 percent of the state’s population), Rajasthan (1.2 percent of the state’s population), and Gujarat (1.0 percent of the state’s population).’ Contemporary Jains identify themselves as an urban, middle-class, mercantile

community. Jains are categorized in colonial texts, Hindu texts, and many scholarly texts as Baniyas, a term that refers to the Rajasthani word for the cluster of merchant castes: Baniyd (comparable to the Gujarati Vaniyd) carries

with it pejorative connotations of greed, miserliness, self-importance, and weakness in Indian parlance (Babb 2004, 36, 41-42; Cort 2004, 76 n. 5); this was not a term Jains routinely used to name themselves, though it was used to designate a cluster of subcastes.* Scholars usually date the religious movements that are collectively called Jainism from the life of Mahavir, who was teaching in approximately the sixth century Bck, though the historicity of the twenty-third Jina, ParSvanath, is generally accepted. Jains see Mahavir as the most recent of twenty-four enlightened teachers (hereafter, Jinas) who have

come to revitalize the Jain faith in this era. Jains describe themselves as a fourfold community of monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen. The mendicants (monks and nuns) follow a strict regimen of asceticism, more or less modeled on the accounts of the lives of the Jinas and other enlightened beings (siddhas) and the instructions for mendicants—attributed to Mahavir—with the goal of attaining total spiritual release from worldly bonds. Lay Jains are enjoined to support the mendicant orders and to observe a set of religious duties (dvasyaka) that shape their religious practices.”

There are two distinct mendicant lineages, and lay devotees who are associated with them, in Jainism: the Svetambar (literally, “white-clad”), identified with southern Rajasthan, Gujarat, and the Bombay area of Maharashtra;

and the Digambar (“sky-clad”), clustered primarily in Rajasthan, southern Maharashtra, and Karnataka. Jain sectarian identity cleaves cleanly between

these two groups; their textual and historical authorities are distinct, as are their temples, temple practices, calendars, and social groupings.° For our purposes, the most significant difference between these two communities is


the position of women. Whereas Digambar Jains do not believe women are capable of reaching enlightenment or of being full-fledged renouncers, Svetambar Jains believe that women are eligible for renunciation, that women are capable of reaching enlightenment as women, and therefore, that women can serve as religious ideals and role models (in some cases for both men and women).

Lay followers of the larger of these two groups, the Svetambar, are the focus of this study.” Svetambar Jainism is further divided into three subsects: Murtipujak, Sthanakavasi, and Terapanthi. The largest of these subsects, the Murtiptijak Jains, worship images in temples. Sthanakavasi Jains reject image worship and temple building; likewise, Terapanthi Jains reject image worship and temple building but, most significant, are centered around the charismatic authority of the founder of their lineage and its mendicant hierarchy.® Miurtipujak Jains are further subdivided into mendicant lineages (gacch), of which

the Tapa Gacch is the dominant lineage in both numbers and, increasingly, discourse and publications, with the Khartar Gacch following as a distant second.’ When I speak of Jains in this study, I am referring the Svetambar Murtipujak Jains, unless I specify otherwise. Jains share in the pan-Indic concepts of karma and the transmigration of souls, but understand the workings of karma in a unique way. Jain karma is a material substance, which binds to the soul whenever the soul becomes sticky

with passion or other strong emotions or attachments. Karma bound to the soul determines certain aspects of one’s present and future life conditions. This karmic matter also prevents the soul from reaching liberation—from rising to the top of the universe from which it cannot return to be reborn. Much of the Jain philosophical tradition is concerned with the workings of karma: ways to avoid its accrual and ways to destroy that karma which has already bound with one’s soul.'° Jain philosophy has put forth an ideology based on the goal of liberation from the cycle of rebirth (moksa marg) and posits

this as the primary goal. At the same time, Jains (including the same monks who wrote moksa marg ideological texts) also see well-being and auspicious-

ness as central values and as the karmic result of well-practiced Jainism (Cort 2001b).'' In the present era of spiritual decline in which Jains believe liberation is not possible, lay Jains work toward maximizing their merit while decreasing their sin, in hopes of both gaining a good rebirth to enjoy and facilitating the gradual progression of one’s soul toward liberation.” The patriarchal philosophical traditions of Svetambar Jains are somewhat ambivalent about the position of women in moksa marg ideology. Though the scholar-monks of the dominant Tapa Gaccha have denied any prominence to their nuns (Dundas 2007, 10), they have not gone so far as to deny women


access to liberation, and they have produced an enormous corpus of Jain sati literature. Some texts suggest that women are born in women’s bodies because of some flaw in their behavior in a past life, while others imply that women can achieve the state of ungendered liberation. For example, the Jina Mallinath was born in a female body because in her past life she used deception in order to perform extra rituals (Trisasti-salaka-purusa-caritra, 4.6.3-42); this flaw of deception caused that soul to be born in a female body, but that female body did not prevent that soul from reaching perfection.'* And yet most stories about

virtuous women take the woman's body a priori and do not require any explanation of its presence. When women are vilified in Jain stories, they are represented as sexually voracious temptresses who attempt to destroy a man’s religiosity by distracting him from austerities or his vow of celibacy (Dundas 2002, 58-59). On the other hand, one of two commonly referenced stories

about celibacy regarding men is that of the sati Rajimati and the monk Rathanemi (discussed in chapter 5), in which the monk is sexually tempted by her body; she gives him a sermon focused on revulsion for her own body, which convinces him to uphold his vow of celibacy zealously.'* Her body is tempting; her virtue is Jain. In a similar way, Jain sati narrative literature posits women as exemplars of Jain virtue, not merely wifely virtue (Balbir 1983, 1990).' For instance, the sati Candanbala is given as an exemplar of religious

donation in didactic literature intended to educate both men and women (Balbir 1983, 154-155).

The enlightened and liberated beings at the center of Jain worship—the Jinas and siddhas—were themselves renouncers, and the veneration of Jain

mendicants past and present forms an important part of Jain devotional activity.'° Though few Jains renounce and still fewer wives do so, the pressure to conform to liberation-directed praxis is powerful (Kelting 20o1a); the rituals of karma reduction are positioned as more efficacious and virtuous than those

acts directed toward the accumulation of merit. At the same time, pativrata and sati ideologies enjoin Jain women to perform acts and rituals in order to protect the health of their husbands. Women, it would seem, are pulled in opposite directions by these competing ideologies. And yet nearly all of the texts and rituals that women use to promote their marital happiness were created by Jain scholar-monks and mendicant leaders, such as the seventeenthcentury Tapa Gacch scholar-monk YaSovijay or the fourteenth-century Tapa

Gacch mendicant leader Vinayacandrasuri.’” Thus, Jain wives are able to find the tools they need to promote their marital happiness within normative and authoritative Jain texts and practices.

Svetambar Mirtipijak Jain worship includes much that is shared with other South Asian traditions: temple worship, domestic worship and rites,


suru veneration, annual and monthly festivals linked to a lunar calendar, pilgrimages, and vow taking. Jain temple worship involves making offerings to the consecrated images, and the recitation and singing of devotional prayers and hymns. Jains also perform formal pujas (liturgical worship), reenacting key narratives as worship; many of these are linked to the five auspicious dates in the lives of each of the twenty-four Jinas (Kelting 2oo1b, 138-163). Unlike

Hindu worship the offerings made are not acknowledged or blessed by the Jinas—they are not prasad or any equivalent—because as enlightened souls the Jinas do not participate in worldly matters (Babb 1996). There are three key holiday clusters in the Jain calendar: Paryusan (an eight-day period

marked by increased austerities and public rites, which culminates on Samvatsari with the annual rite of confession and expiation),* the twice-yearly Ayambil Oli festival (a nine-day festival marked by women’s fasting and general austerity),'” and Divali (a cluster of observances, which for Jains mark the new year, well-being, and the hopes for success in key areas of well-being—wealth, health, domestic tranquillity, and knowledge).*° In order to decrease karma and to maximize good karma, Jains, especially Jain women, perform vows and most particularly vows to fast. Jains are virtuosi in fasting, with an enormous variety of fasts for followers to choose from. Fasts are not universally required, though some kind of partial fast on Samvatsari Day is required for those who participate in the nearly universally performed

annual rite of confession and expiation. A few fasts (most significantly the Ayambil Oli fast) were so widely performed by married laywomen that they seemed to gain a status making their performance an expectation. Other fasts (the Rohini, Saubhagya Pancami, Aksaynidhi, and Candanbala fasts) were commonly recommended for laywomen by other laywomen and by Jain mendicants, but were in no way universal. The longer fasts are marked by a fast-breaking ritual in which the public is called upon to felicitate those who

have completed the fast, illustrating the importance of heroic fasting in the public discourse of Jainism. Public puijas and fasting are embodied rituals, which shape Jain discourse on wifehood, and both will be discussed at length in the chapters to follow.

Siting the Study This book arose out of fifteen years of research with Gujarati and Marwari Svetambar Murtiptjak Jain laywomen, primarily in Pune district in Maharash-

tra. These Murtipujak Jains usually aligned themselves with the mendicant tradition of the Tapa Gacch and deemed their texts and mendicants to be


authoritative, though some lay Jains in the community aligned themselves with the Khartar Gacch, even if they relied Tapa Gacch texts in shared ritual contexts. My research subjects included both young women raised in Pune and soon to be married, and women married to men in Pune who were raised in Pune, Mumbai, many villages and small cities around Maharashtra, and also

some women raised in Rajasthan and Gujarat. I was able to speak with occasional women married to men in Gujarat and Rajasthan, but this was the exception. Because of the slight hypergamy practices in Jain marriage arrangements (not nearly as pronounced as that found in Hindu contexts), the flow of brides was generally toward urban centers and the more prosperous areas of Maharashtra.”' I spoke regularly with a number of widows, several of whom I had known as wives before their husbands died.

The community where my research is focused is a mix of Gujarati and Marwari Jains; middle-class Gujaratis represent approximately three-quarters of the congregation and upper-middle- and upper-class Marwaris representing

nearly a quarter. These two groups do not mix socially except at religious events; even then, the men rarely mingle together. For women in these two sroups, there are differences in social practices, which divide these women socially; in particular, social restraints determine with whom and when women can visit socially. This difference in mobility was often the basis for pejorative generalizations about women in the opposite group—comments based in the relative freedom of Gujarati women to visit each other around the neighbor-

hood while running errands, contrasted with the expectation that Marwari women would stay home and not run errands or go visiting. Within the context of the women’s singing collective (mandal) and the performance of communal rituals, Gujaratis and Marwari women mixed freely, and some close friendships were made; certainly women who had become friends attended key rites (engagements, weddings, funerals) held in each others’ houses. These two groups both engage deeply with sati discourse, though it was more often in conversations with Marwari women that they spoke of satimata

veneration. The women mostly spoke Gujarati or Marwari, though there were several who spoke standard Hindi and Marathi. Though there were some women who could speak English, they rarely spoke English with me, preferring, it seemed, to speak of intimate matters in their mother tongue. In addition, many conversations included more than one woman, and it was rare that more than one woman could speak English; in a mixed context, to use English would have seemed rude and exclusionary.

At Jain public events, the divisions in this community were partially subordinated to their shared identity of being Jains living in the heart of Marathi-speaking Hindu Maharashtra; Jains from both ethnic groups attended


Jain ordinations, parades, and all-Pune Jain events together, though in the Mahavir Jayanti parade in downtown Pune, each group had signs identifying their floats by ethnicity and sect.

The Jains with whom I worked mostly identified themselves as middle class. Jain social practices reflect Indian middle-class and middle-caste values of hard work, vegetarianism, abstinence, frugality, female modesty, and careful maintenance of social position (Babb 2004, 13-65, 217-233; Cort 2004; Cottom Ellis 1991; Reynell 1985a). For example, although Jains participate in the status

game of public consumer goods, their households were usually maintained according to a frugality expected of their community, and they often referred to frugality explicitly as a virtue. They lived in a variety of kinds of homes from small, old-fashioned one- or two-room homes on the ground level to multiple-

room apartments in new apartment buildings. Some, but not many—due in part to the contingencies of urban life—lived in freestanding bungalows; in this community, even those with enough money often opted for penthouse apartments in town or urban or semiurban housing societies rather than suburban bungalows. The families aspired to English-medium education— and most were able to arrange this—though few of the parents and fewer still of the grandparents spoke any English. Virtually all the families had cell phones, motor scooters, refrigerators, televisions, and the other markers of middle-class consumption, but only a few had cars. Virtually all children (men and women) were expected to go to college, though only some of their fathers had finished college, and very few of their mothers had completed even one year of college. On the other hand, a surprising number of elderly women had at least functional literacy. In sum, this community was one bent on moving

rapidly up the economic scale, with aspirations to new Indian middle-class consumption patterns, and was simultaneously committed to maintaining a long-standing claim to middle-class morality and social conservatism. Research on Wifehood and Privacy

There are particular challenges to writing about material as personal and sensitive as that involving marital happiness and discord, which determine the ways in which I am able to present individual testimony and statements in this book, while protecting the privacy of those women who shared their lives and thoughts with me. In my first book, Singing to the Jinas (Kelting 2001b), the women I worked with were adamant about my using their real names. (The project also required specificity about social position to make its arguments about individual women’s religious practices.) However, the fears about and bad experiences of marriage are so powerfully stigmatized and silenced that it


was only in very intimate settings that women broached these topics, and then only with assurances that the speaker would not be identifiable. Even the joys of marriage were usually only expressed in private conversation, because of the social restrictions about displaying affection or intimacy with one’s husband in public, in front of any men, in front of elders, or in front of affinal relatives. Necessarily, this book must exclude extensive personal detail, both to protect

privacy and because some discussions depended on second-hand accounts; sometimes names went unmentioned at the time. Further, any discussions related to young women who are still unmarried or newly married required my specific vigilance in protecting privacy because of the particular vulnerability of these women. This project relies on many intimate conversations I have had over the last fifteen years with Jain women in the privacy of late nights, riksha

and bus rides, and mid-morning kitchens. The seriousness of their assumptions of privacy necessitates full anonymity for most discussions. While the women all knew I was working on a book on wifehood (and nearly all had seen

my first book), and these narratives and often these disclosures happened in the context of conversations associated with my project, they still assumed (and rightly) that I would protect their identities.

On the other hand, much of the conversation surrounding rituals and the stories themselves were part of public discourse and happened in group settings associated with the rituals or the tellings of narratives. I separate discussions about marital concerns from my discussions of rituals, where the

participants might be identifiable within their community by virtue of the public nature of the rituals. This also means that I cannot give complete details about the context of the women’s disclosures, because those details could potentially identify individual women. My goal is to create a balance between a description that is recognizably real without being recognizable as that of a particular individual. From time to time, protecting women’s privacy is necessarily my priority; some episodes or conversations are obscured or excluded from the discussion altogether.

Jain Sati Narratives This study clusters around the corpus of eight well-known Jain sati narratives.

I recorded the narratives in this book in formal ritual contexts, informal retellings of the stories, and from printed versions of these stories that women handed me and told me to read. The narratives associated with rituals (Rohini, Maynasundari, Rajul, and Candanbala) were told and read in ritual contexts and occasionally in informal contexts. Some stories (Sulasa, Subha-


dra, Afijana, and Brahmi-Sundari) had no ritual context for their telling, which indicated that they were retold for their meaning rather than to fulfill a ritual

obligation. The contexts of informal oral tellings often occurred when I or someone else mentioned a particular kind of problem; for example, on several occasions when I asked about whether it is hard to adjust to a new religious

climate in one’s marital home, I was told the story of Subhadra. The story allowed the women to tell me that it can be difficult, without transgressing the

mandated silence about marital unhappiness. The stories of Maynasundari and Rajul are told as part of the rituals associated with those narratives as well as in sermons, informal tellings, and in many publications; they were also told outside of the ritual context of the fasts, during the seasons or days associated with the rituals. Rohini’s story is usually told during the rituals associated with

the Rohini fast, but it is not a requirement of it; that said, the story was a popular one in informal tellings. On the other hand, it is the performance of the rituals associated with Candanbala rather than an oral or written version that dominated women’s knowledge of that story. I have also been given audio

cassette tapes and video CDs in much the same way that I have been given printed versions, either as response to my general interest in satis, or as particular responses to queries about particular stories. There are many sati stories that are not included in this volume. The choices of what to include were made in light of the links between particular stories and Jain women’s discourse on wifehood: a story could be linked to a ritual associated with wives, arise in conversations I had with laywomen related

to wifehood, or be named as indispensable for understanding wifehood.?7 Women—including nuns—did not tell me stories that centered around the experience of nunhood, and other stories were told in the context of discussions unrelated to wifehood (for example, the story of Mrgavati was told to me to illustrate the nature of omniscience), and therefore were not relevant to this discussion. Still others were recorded in written form but not referenced

by any woman in conversation or performance. For the purposes of this book and because women did draw my attention wifely narratives in their tellings, the discussion will center on the stories of wifehood. This collage of tellings

of these stories in my research reflected the ways that women learn and tell stories in this community. A combination of formal recitations, performances, informal tellings, printed text, and visual representations weave the fabric of Jain discourse on satis. In addition to these performances of narrative recitation, sati stories are told in hymns that are embedded in the Jain rituals of daily worship (caityavandan), devotional singing (bhdvand), and confession (pratikraman). There are also occasional performances of the stories as the lay Jain communities dramatically reenact them as religious entertainment or,


as in the story of Candanbala, as a required part of a fast-breaking ritual. Finally, some sati stories are represented visually in temples, Jain decorative arts, ritual drama, and dance. These images, though rarely narrative, teach the viewer normative understandings about the key moments in the story and how to interpret them. Even when women create these images, it is often under the watchful eye of others, who then judge the creation based on its conformity to normative representations. Printed versions of these stories abound. There are both collections of sati narratives and individual volumes dedicated to particular satis. Rituals often prescribe the study of the sati narrative associated with the ritual, but other sati narratives are read out of one’s own piety and interest. Older women read these books during the afternoon or evening rather than watching television. I found that young women who had completed their schooling and who were passing time until they were married were often given these books to read by their elder

female relatives; surely the intentions were to educate their daughters in the expectations of wifehood, to remind them of the dire results of transgressive behavior, and also to give them something to do that might be entertaining and more worthwhile than watching soap operas. The more religious young

women often had read a number of these books, while the less religious ignored them. Married women had less time to read for pleasure, but those who did and who read with facility would read these books along with other religious books. During my research women have often shown, lent, and given me many sati narratives in individual volumes, ritual texts, and sati narrative collections. Those sati narratives which are included in the collections

and individual volumes become a kind of “greatest hits” list of sati narratives.

Though women may be able to name other satis whose stories were not included in these popular forms, these stories were far less well known, were rarely named without coaxing, and were difficult for most women to recall well enough to tell the story. Though I occasionally reference early canonical texts such as the Kalpa Sutra and the Uttaradhyayana Sitra, the texts that provide the foundation for this study are mostly from the medieval and modern periods, spanning the

twelfth to twenty-first centuries. The medieval sati literature used for this study includes puranic-style compendia such as Hemacandra’s twelfth-century Trisasti-Salaka-purusa-caritra; epic poetry such as Vinayvijay and YaSovijay’s seventeenth-century Sripal Raja no Rasa; lyric poetry in the phagu and barah masa poetic genres, such as Vinayacandrasuri’s early-fourteenth-century poem,

Rajal-Barahmasa; and praise hymns (sajhdys) written in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, such as the Mayndsundari Sahay, the Rajimati-sati Sahay, and the Candanbala Sahay. I also include hard-to-date agglomerative


texts like puja liturgies and instructions, fasting instructions, sermon collections, and the rite of confession and expiation (pratikraman). From the modern

and contemporary periods, I discuss devotional narrative poetry such as Devcand’s nineteenth-century Nemanathno Saloko, hymns (stavan), fasting songs (tapasya git), veil songs (cundadi git), sati story collections, novel-like settings of individual stories, and dramatic renditions. Nearly all the Jain religious texts cited in this book were written by Jain monks—many of them quite prominent—suggesting that the questions that bear on laywomen about pativrata, saubhagya, renunciation, and Jain satis were of great concern to

mendicants, who clearly did not see them in opposition to Jain religious values.~?

The rationale behind my inclusion of this wide array of texts and their great variety of presentation stems from the creative integration of these texts

in the religious practices and experiences of the laywomen with whom I worked. With few exceptions (notably in the historical discussion in chapter 5), | was directed to each of these texts by Jain laywomen themselves. Some of the texts included are among the most beloved of Jain texts (Sripal Raja no

Rasa, Nemanathno Saloko); they were named, performed, and referenced time and again during my study. Others, less commonly performed, are included because of the particular contexts in which they were referenced. The genres included work together in some characteristic ways. For example, sajjhays are performed as part of the confession liturgy, while stavan were performed in puja liturgies. Fasting songs were embedded in the narrative recitations, mendicant sermons, and dramatic reenactments that occur during major fasts. Many of the prose retellings of these stories were read, studied, and shared both during the time of the fasts associated with them or whenever women had time to read for themselves.

Ideologies of Wifehood

To understand the ways that Jain sati narratives shape Jain discourse on wifehood, it will be helpful to begin by framing the ideologies of dedicated wives (pativrata), auspicious wifehood (saubhagya), virtuous women (sati), and renunciation (moksa marg). When I refer to these discursive arenas as ideologies, I do so after Bourdieu’s understanding; in analyzing the way that public

discourse becomes ideology, he explains: “Official language, particularly the system of concepts by means of which the members of a given group provide themselves with a representation of their social relations (e.g. the lineage model or the vocabulary of honour), sanctions and imposes what it


states, tacitly laying down the dividing line between the thinkable and the

unthinkable, thereby contributing to the symbolic order from which it draws its authority’ (Bourdieu 1977, 21). The discourse on wifehood thus becomes ideology as it defines what is and is not thinkable about or by wives or those women whose identities are conflated with wifehood. Ideology is an

instrument of domination used to control which cultural performances are legitimate; those acts which are in accordance with an ideology are recognized as legitimate, while those acts which disrupt an ideology are deemed inauthentic or other, or are not even recognized as acts. Bourdieu (I991, 163-170) criticizes the Marxist reduction of ideological power to that power which serves the particular interests of those who control the instruments of ideology; Bourdieu argues that ideologies must also share in the special characteristics of the performances of that ideology by those who are nonelites. The hegemony of these discourses is organized and intentional, and reified through the habitual bodily practices of everyday life and women’s ritual engagement. To begin, a brief description of Jain marriage practices is needed. Jains conform to the pan-South Asian practice of marriages arranged by the elder relatives (usually parents and uncles) of the bride and groom. This expectation is powerful enough that the stigma of “love marriages” in a family can attach to

even fairly distant relatives, marring their marriage arrangement opportunities. When there are “love marriages” in a family, every attempt is made, after the fact, to discursively frame the marriage as arranged, in order to maintain a family’s reputation. In my observation, marriage arrangements begin at the time when a woman has completed her schooling (nowadays, college) and when a man has settled himself in a job or business. Marriage arrangements are slightly hypergamous in class and usually lateral in caste, but extreme hypergamy is socially discouraged and diminishes the likelihood

of mutual business relations; older Jain men, when speaking of arranging marriages within their families, often told me they liked marriages to be barabar (equal), and they gestured to make a balance scale with their hands. Jains do not perform specifically Jain rites of marriage; their weddings resem-

ble the weddings of those Hindus who share their ethnicity, caste, and class identities.7* After marriage, the new bride is expected to move into her husband’s family’s house and to accept her position as a subordinate to her elder affinal relatives (husband, mother-in-law, wives of elder brothers-in-law, etc.). The patrifocal joint family is still held up as the ideal, despite the recent demographic changes toward more nuclear-family housing and fewer joint families. Finally, once married, a woman is expected to conform—at least publicly—to the ideology of pativrata.



Jains and Hindus of western India share much of the discourse of the dedicated wife (pativrata) who dedicates herself to her husband completely.

Scholars have written much about pativrata ideologies within the Hindu traditions.”” The Laws of Manu (V, 154) tell us: “Though destitute of virtue, or seeking pleasure [elsewhere], or devoid of good qualities, [yet] a husband

must be constantly worshipped as a god by a faithful wife.” In Leslie’s translation of the Stridharmapaddhati, an eighteenth-century work on the duties of women, we find a similar summary description: “Obedient service to one’s husband (bhartrsusriisanam) is the primary religious duty enjoined by sacred tradition for women” (Leslie 1989, 29). In Hindu discourse, pativrata practice is sometimes expressed as the duty of wives to worship their husbands as gods; an extreme instance of this degree of subservience is the ritual of drinking the water used to bathe a husband’s feet in Nepal (Ahearn 2001, 23; Bennett 1983, 174-175).°° In any case, a pativrata is enjoined to perform a variety of acts of deference intended to mark her position as subordinate to her husband and his lineage, and are understood as evidence of her status as a pativrata. It is considered most important that a pativrata be completely faithful to her

husband sexually and produce sons by her husband for the benefit of her husband's lineage.*” This expectation spans the entire life span of a woman; a woman should have no other romantic involvement before, during, or after her marriage. Before marriage, young women are expected to remain celibate and

have no entanglements with men. Even mere speculation about premarital involvement with men can destroy a woman’s marriage prospects. During marriage, not only should a woman maintain absolute sexual fidelity but there is also an expectation of complete emotional fidelity, which includes not being

emotionally intimate with any other men, not being seen with men outside the family, and not speaking badly about one’s husband. This fidelity is extended

beyond a husband's death, for widows. Although according to Jain legal texts Jain widows can remarry, virtually all the women I interviewed were horrified by

the thought of remarriage, and most said that a good woman would never remarry. The more subtle aspects of wifely fidelity are focused on displaying defer-

ence not only to her husband, but also to his relatives, most importantly his parents and elder brothers. This deference is often symbolized by a set of actions: covering her hair or face with the end of a sari (ghunghat), not addressing people directly or using their given names (it is expected that she use kinship terms), sitting on a surface that is lower than her in-laws, eating after


(and less than) her in-laws, massaging the legs of her mother-in-law and husband, and accepting the judgments and demands of her in-laws uncomplainingly. These ideals of behavior are selectively performed and complexly signified, and not all rules are held to be of equal importance. In my observation, hair covering ranged from pulling a sari down to cover the entire face when a father-in-law enters a room to a barely noticeable gesture at straighten-

ing a sari that is not covering any of the hair. What seems to matter more than the actual coverage of hair is the gesture that acknowledges this ideal. In

general, Gujarati and Marwari Jains differ in the degree and form of their performance of ghtinghat and other deference practices; Marwari women are more likely to veil in front of senior women, and physically lower themselves when men are present. On the other hand, the injunction against using given names is nearly universal in my experience—in part, because it links with the more general practice of name avoidance. Other rules become weaker as the daughter-in-law ages and becomes a more important part of the decisionmaking process. When a daughter-in-law becomes a mother-in-law herself, she

becomes an object of deference, making her status more similar to that of her own mother-in-law. Finally, while the ideal of accepting judgments and decisions uncomplainingly is manifest in the public spaces of the home, these same women may complain bitterly about decisions in the context of their

natal homes, in private conversation with their husband and children, and may through nonverbal communication demonstrate their unhappiness. There are, of course, those who vocalize their complaints directly, but they are often framed as bad wives and daughters-in-law.”* This rule, too, is selec-

tively invoked, in my observation, as older daughters-in-law become more vocal over time, or in cases where the daughter-in-law is on good terms with her mother-in-law, or when the daughter-in-law is seen as an expert on a particular topic. The Jain sati narratives support this model of wifely fidelity. The complete

fidelity of married satis to their husbands and the sexual purity of all satis, married or unmarried, is a frequently repeated motif in sati narratives.*” In addition to this idealization of sexual control, Jain sati narratives are invoked by Jain laywomen to support them in a variety of virtuous acts. Similar to sati

narratives, for Jain women, a pativrata performs the expected labor (both physical and spiritual) of wives, including keeping a Jain home, maintaining Jain food restrictions, producing sons, offering hospitality, feeding monks, performing and sponsoring ptjas, teaching Jainism to husbands and children, providing religious patronage, performing public acts of religious piety (such as fasting), and serving as a moral compass for the family. These acts are part of being a dedicated wife, because they are expressly understood to benefit the


husband’s lineage. Among the acts that good wives perform, fasting for the protection of their husbands is a practice shared with Hindu women. The

models for these saubhagya fasts, however, are drawn from the Jain sati tradition. One of the principle functions of Jain sati narratives is to contribute to a discourse of wifehood, which addresses the concerns of Jain laywomen within the Jain value system and provides a fertile context in which Jain women can explore their questions of virtue and piety. Saubhagya Jains, like Hindus, understand the auspicious—or literally, fortunate—woman (saubhagyavati) to be a wife whose husband is alive. In a Jain context, the state of auspicious wifehood is contrasted with both widowhood and the status of the Jain nun. Though Jain nuns are not inauspicious or unfortunate, the term saubhagyavati would never refer to them because saubhagya is explicitly understood to be the good fortune of auspicious wifehood. Much of the saubhagya

discourse is focused on maintaining a husband’s good health and long life through wifely piety. One important indicator of wifely virtue, then, is that of dying before one’s husband. In the Hindu discourse in the regions from which

these Jain caste clusters come, the rite of dying with one’s husband on his funeral pyre (becoming a sati)—discussed below—is understood to be a rare but powerful corrective for error and the misfortune of outliving one’s husband. For Jain wives, the rite of dying with one’s husband is not even a rhetorical possibility, because of the violence inherent to the act, so the discourse on auspicious wifehood (saubhagya) centers around miraculous methods of preventing widowhood.

To be an auspicious wife implies both status and power: the status of auspiciousness and the power to bless, even in—perhaps especially in— death; these benefits were named by Jain women as reasons for preventing widowhood. In the middle of a discussion about wedding jewelry (on 5 January 2002), one Jain woman explained that if a wife dies before her husband, she is

cremated with her wedding veil and her ivory armbands. She then excitedly described a funeral of a daughter-in-law in her natal home who was dressed as a saubhagyavati for her cremation. The deceased was laid out in her wedding sari and veil including the beaded headband, and ivory armbands. After she died, henna designs were drawn on her hands and red powder (kunkum) marked on her forehead. She was dressed, in other words, as a bride. Each married woman circumambulated the corpse and took a bit of red powder from off the deceased woman’ forehead to bless their own status as saubhagyavatis.


She ended by saying: “This is the kind of funeral I want...a proper one. A widow cannot have a funeral like this.” In her description of the funeral of a saubhagyavati, we see the veneration of her by other wives and the implied potential of that deceased wife to bless the wifehood of her relatives. By dying before her husband, the saubhagyavati is proven to be a powerful protector, extending her protection beyond her husband to all her kin. The ideologies of pativrata and saubhagya create a crisis for those wives who are widowed, which can be resolved either through austerity or, rarely (and

prohibited for Jains), one’s death as a sati. Jain widows are inauspicious in certain social contexts, but that inauspiciousness does not extend to specifically Jain rituals. For example, Jain widows can perform all fundamental aspects of Jain worship and practice; there are no restrictions against temple worship,

fasting, feeding monks, study and recitation of texts, donation, or taking ordination. On the other hand, Jain widows are restricted from performing the auspicious and protective rites associated with weddings and pregnancies; they cannot sing auspicious songs, give their daughters away (kanyd dan) as part of the marriage, or bless new brides at the entrance to the house.*” There are a number of Jain rituals, which require (or, at least, recommend) that they be performed by a married couple; widows would not be able to perform these, but neither would widowers or unmarried men and women.” These restric-

tions seem to be more about the auspiciousness and power of Jain married couples as ideal patrons of Jainism than about the exclusion of widows in particular, especially since there is nothing remotely inauspicious about the unmarried men and women who are likewise excluded. When a husband dies, a Jain widow removes the signs of auspicious wifehood—marriage neck-

lace (mangal sutta), glass bangles, toe rings, anklets, and the red forehead mark—and stops wearing saris in auspicious colors or patterns. Although middle-aged widows sometimes wore patterned saris, albeit in more subdued colors, elderly widows tended to wear white saris; few widows still wear the more traditional maroon Gujarati widow's saris. The transformation from a giver of blessings and the locus of auspiciousness to an inauspicious widow can be traumatic for a woman who has focused her piety and identity around being an auspicious wife. Since Jain families, like most South Asian families, center around the male lineage, and since in these families the financial well-being and social protections of the family are in the hands of that male lineage, women rely on husbands (and later sons) to provide their basic economic needs. A widow is financially and sociopolitically vulnerable, because as a widow, she no longer has a husband to provide for her and to intercede on her behalf. Those widows


with sons often remain powerful figures as mothers consulted on all familial decisions and most major financial decisions. Widows without children are dependent on the good will and affection of their affinal relatives. In a community where women are discouraged from working outside the home and where even for working women the expectation is that their primary role is that

of wife and mother, the loss of a husband entails, beyond the emotional trauma and grief, a real crisis of socio-economic security. Among middleclass Jains—especially those who remain in joint families—widows rarely experience crippling poverty; rather, what they experience is a sense of vulnerability and partial loss of identity. Unless they have adult sons, they must rely on the system of the joint family and the generosity of male relatives (both in their marital and natal homes) whose primary obligations lie elsewhere—with their own parents, wives, and children. The social experience of Jain widows is less austere than that of uppercaste Hindu widows as described by scholars.** Because of Jain identity with middle-class mores and the importance of prestige, and because most Jains

have sufficient resources to take care of family members, it is rare to see a widow who is obviously abused or neglected. To have a family widow appear in public in ragged clothing or malnourished is shameful and will certainly lead to the community’s suspicion about the family. Not allowing a family widow access to religious events (a strategy that could be used to hide abuse from the public eye) is suspect, as well, and could lead to the kinds of gossip and speculation that hurt family prestige and standing.”’ Therefore, although Jain widows certainly experience worries about their uncertain future and sorrow at the loss of their status as auspicious wives with all its blessings and clear directives, the widows I have observed in the many families I have interacted with appear to be taken care of reasonably well and do not suffer the severe deprivations described in other studies of Indian widows.

For reasons of both socioeconomic stability and the sense of wellbeing that arises out of a woman’s identity as an auspicious wife, Jain laywomen devote substantial ritual labor to the protection of their saubhagya. For Jains, the auspicious wife is the wife whose focus on her husband and his family leads to a general sense of moral virtue and good fortune. Jains credit the experience of saubhagya to the well-lived moral life. The rites of saubhagya protect both a woman’s auspiciousness and also her status as a virtuous person. The exemplars of wifely virtue for Jains (as well as Hindus) are called satis. For obvious reasons, I must address this morally and politically charged term.


Sati, Suttee, and the Discourse of Virtue Jains have embraced the discourse of satit wholeheartedly, so that nearly all virtuous women in Jain religious literature are referred to as satis.** For the most part, however, Jains use the term sati naively; that is to say, the term sati is used without reference—positively or negatively—to the evocative potency it has accrued in feminist, nationalist, or sociopolitical disputes. Being ethnically

identified with the communities in which Hindu satimatas have been most widely venerated, Jains are not only not ignorant of Hindu satimatas who die on their husband’s funeral pyres but are also acutely aware of the multivalent implications of the use of this term. However, the Jain rejection of that rite is linked to Jain notions of nonviolence and equanimity, rather than questions of politics, ethnic identity, or human or women’s rights.” ° Jains define satis in ways that invoke shared ideals with Hindu satimata ideologies about women’s fidelity and moral strength, while explicitly rejecting any notions of bodily selfsacrifice. Significantly, Jain satis do not take the vow to fast to death (samthara or samadhi-maran) when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstructions to their religious practices.” © Instead, Jain satis perform rituals that remove these

obstacles. The Jain satis embrace austerities for their own benefit and for the benefit of others, but do so with the expectation that ultimately these austerities will work toward their own liberation.

In order to clarify Jain uses of the term sati, it is necessary to establish a context of Hindu uses of the term and of scholarly discourse about satis and suttees. To enter into any discussion of sati, suttees, and virtue we must begin with some clarification of how the terms have been used. Sati literally means a

“true or virtuous woman.” British writers understood suttee to refer to the ritualized act of widow immolation among Hindus.*’ In a Hindu context, however, this rite is referred to as “becoming a sati” (sati honda), “dying with [one’s deceased husband]” (sahamarana), or “going with [one’s deceased husband]” (sahagamana).”® In this context, the term sati does not refer to the rite of dying itself, but rather to the woman performing the rite; a sati is a woman

in whom sat has arisen. The category of satis includes any number of women whose virtues are understood to arise out of their gendered subject position as wives, not only out of dying with one’s husband.” Sunder Rajan (I993a) argues—in the context of the British/Hindu dyad of sati discourse— that the discourse of satis as wives who burn obscures the complexity of sati discourse: “My argument that the identity of the ‘good wife’ (sati in the original

sense) is a broader framework for female subjectification than that of the


widow who burns (sati according to later usage) is based on the observation that good wifehood has different manifestations, and some of these included the option of life rather than death” (Sunder Rajan 1993), 303). In the Hindu context there are three prominent satis—Sati, Savitri, and Sita—who did not die with their husbands.*° Likewise, Sunder Rajan (1993b, 301) draws our attention to the wives of the father of Ram, the great king, DaSaratha, who all continue to live honorably after his death. These counterexamples serve to

remind the reader that the term sati has a multivalence that we too often overlook. Sangari and Vaid (1996, 280) argue that sati must still be understood as an event. On one hand, I agree that from a feminist perspective, which seeks to eradicate this form of death, the act is central to the discourse. However,

in order to see how sati functions in the wider usage, the term must be understood to denote a virtuous woman and not the particulars of her acts. On the other hand, a satimata is virtually always a woman who has died

on their husband’s funeral pyre.*' Making the discussion more complex, however, a woman who fully intended to die in this manner but was somehow prevented may also be called a satimata.*” Satimatas become goddesses who look after their husbands’ lineages (and sometimes their local communities). In some cases, such as Rani Sati in Jnunjhunu, who is worshiped by Marwari Agarwal merchants, the satimata becomes a lineage goddess for an entire community (Hardgrove 2004, 248-253). The conversion of a virtuous

woman into an agent of protection for the family is intimately tied to the performance (or at least the intended performance) of the rite of dying with one’s husband. Although Hindus blur the strict line between satis and satimatas that I am proposing here, the distinction between a sati and a satimata is one with which Jains were quite familiar and a distinction they were careful to maintain. Jain satis, because they never immolate themselves, are never satimatas. But a satimata is always a sati, and the blurring

even of these categories serves to illuminate the ways in which satis are understood to be virtuous women of many sorts. There has been much written about “suttees,” sati, and satimatas both in the British colonial period and in the postcolonial period. There are some early descriptions of the rite of a Hindu woman immolating herself on her husband’s funeral pyre (Major 2007, 3-26), but the preoccupation with the sati

seems to arise in the early modern period and flourish in the colonial era (Major 2007). In her study of British and indigenous elite official discourse

on sati in Bengal, Mani (1998) argues that discursive engagement with the practice of widow immolation centered around colonial control—especially over Hindu religious space—notions of the barbaric East, and the civilizing influence of British rule. Major (2006) expands the texts included in her study


beyond official British government documents to include representations in the popular literature and press; her study reconfigures the relationship between British writings on sati and British identity, suggesting that British discourse about sati was intimately linked to Britain’s preoccupations with the sociopolitical roles of its own women, society, and identity.*? Both Mani and Major both draw our attention to the construction of the sati as object, rather than a subject in British discourse about satis. Feminist scholars writing about sati have focused on the brutal violence of

the death of a sati, the ideologies that justify this death, and the ways in which the death of a sati is represented as voluntary, painless, glorious, and linked to timeless notions of Hindu religiosity.** Indian feminists, particularly after the 1987 immolation of Roop Kanwar, specifically attacked the

colonial preoccupation with whether an individual sati was voluntary or not, because this questions elides the coercive effects of sati discourse; notions of voluntary/authentic versus forced/inauthentic sati ignore the socioeconom-

ic pressures and the power of hegemonic discourse to shape the acts of these women and their relatives. They argue for a model of structural violence, because of the stigma and austerities that attach to those women who become

widows; the glorification of those women who die this kind of death, they argue further, delineates a choice whose only possible outcomes are bodily and

psychological suffering. Sunder Rajan (1993) analyzes representations of satis, and argues that the ways these images deny pain in the sati death likewise deny subjectivity to the woman dying. Spivak (1985) draws our atten-

tion to the selective granting of agency, which allows a woman to be an agent only when she dies as a sati. Similarly, Sunder Rajan (1993, 306) points out the ways in which the sati is only granted a subjectivity after her death;

here it is not only choice, which is granted in death, but the very idea of selfhood.

Compounding this issue, the new antisati laws grant a strange kind of agency to the women who attempt to die as satis: if a woman intending to die as a sati changes her mind, she can now be charged as the primary criminal in an

attempted sati case (Oldenburg 1994b, 104, 124-126). Kishwar and Vanita (1987) argue that the characterization of Roop Kanwar’s sati as a religious rite turned a human rights/women’s rights issue into a debate between “tradition’ and “modernity,” erasing the complexity of Indian engagements with this practice.*” Sangari and Vaid (1996) argue that the continued practice of sati, its links to nationalist discourse, and the sociopolitical benefits of sati venera-

tion lie at a nexus of Brahmin, Rajput, and Baniya political interests.*° For feminist scholars, the pressing concern is the successful obliteration of the practice of widow immolation; these studies are understandably not focused on


understanding the profound attachment to satimatas and sati discourse felt by those who support it.

Among religious studies scholars, there have been few descriptions of satimata veneration and the ways that the powerful discourse of sati is reproduced among Hindu women through this veneration, but a few scholars have sought to identify why satimatas are powerful figures for the women who worship them. These religious studies scholars have drawn most of their material about sati discourse from western Indian satimata veneration practices and visual culture. The death of a sati transforms her into a satimata, a maternal protector of the male lineage of those whom she blesses and those who venerate her. Harlan’s work (1992, 138-139, 180-181, and 1994) on satimatas both delineates the stages of the transformation from wife to satimata (pativrata, sativrata, satimata) and provides a framework for understanding the terms of satimata worship by linking them to the protection of a male lineage and to a woman's saubhagya. Though ideas of the sati’s curse (srap) are invoked in sati accounts as evidence of voluntary choice (Harlan 1992, 139-146, and 1994, 86-88), they are also recounted as something to be feared. Protective

restrictions (ok) that satis pronounce change religious and social practices among the families to whom they were granted and are a mark of the satimata’s continued blessing (Harlan 1992, 146-156, and 1994). Satimata veneration is embedded in the singing cycles performed in association with life-cycle rites in Rajasthani homes (Harlan 1992, 47, 137; 1995b, and 2007; WeinbergerThomas 2000, 111-112). As in the singing cycles, satis are invoked in domestic and temple worship to protect a family’s lineage at rites of passage and times of

crisis. Weinberger-Thomas (2000, 169-173) describes the worship of the satimata, Om Kanwar, performed to commemorate the miraculous healing of a family’s son; the rite centers around offerings made to a flame representing the perfected satimata while onlooking women ecstatically chant and sing praises to that satimata. The domestic rites of singing and the worship at the house shrines bring

the satimata into the domestic sphere intimately, but at other times, the worship of the sati is focused on the site of her cremation (sati-sthal), which usually lies at the edge of the village. Courtright’s analysis (1994, 34-41) of worship at a sati shrine includes a description of a head-shaving ritual and a satimata possession ritual, and shows how these rituals are performed in order to protect the male lineage and marital happiness. Routine worship at satimata shrines may take the form of a brief prostration (dhok dena/darsan) or of making offerings—in particular water pots, wedding veils, and a special fifty-six-course meal—similar in appearance to puja to other goddesses.*’ Large-scale temples, most notably that of Rani Sati in Jhunjhunu, are centers


for sati worship and are “open daily’ for regular devotees and pilgrims (Hardsrove 2004, 261, 271-; Noble and Sankhyan 1994, 365), Finally, processions and pilgrimage to satimata temples are performed as an act of piety, to fulfill a vow, to mark a rite of passage, to commemorate the satimata’s death anniverSary, or as a marker of Rajasthani or Marwari identity (Hardgrove 2004, 271280). The worship of satimatas occurs in association with life-cycle rites and

familial celebrations performed at sati shrines, celebrated with the ratiaga (night-singing sessions), which include satimata songs, and are marked by pilgrimage to sati shrines. The public worship of satimatas is intimately connected to western Indian, but especially identities as Rajasthani Rajputs and Marwaris—on the basis of their claims to identity with Rajputs—because of historical and mythological links with nostalgic representations of Rajasthani martial culture (Babb 2004, 133-135; Hardgrove 2004, 16-17). Contemporary scholarly analysis of the sati rite itself provides links be-

tween this rite and other forms of imperial, martial, or heroic death. Fisch (2005) forges links between the sati death and other imperial funerals, which

center on the ideal of subordinates following someone of high status into death. Suggesting satis’ interconnectedness with models of male heroism, Harlan (2000a, 87) describes the tension as this: warrior husbands should die honorably on the battlefield, while their wives, as pativrata, should protect

their lives; these conflicting ideals are resolved in the metanarrative of sati discourse, in which the warrior dies heroically in battle and his wife dies heroically with him on his funeral pyre. Leslie (1991c) examines the parallel pairs of ascetic widowhood/renunciation and heroic suicide/sati; these paths are framed in her discussion within caste discourses of brahmanic asceticism and warrior heroism. Tryambaka’s advice (in his eighteenth-century Stridhammapaddhati) to women to become satis, she argues, stems from the idea that

he might have believed that it might be easier to die heroically than to live ascetically (Leslie 1991c, 58). This contextualization of widow immolation within the discourse of heroism can be understood to draw parallels between heroism and sati discourse more generally.

Jain Sati Jains participate in the ideology of pativrata and the discourse of satt when constructing and shaping notions of women’s virtue and especially the virtue of wives. Jains seem to adopt every ideology and practice of sati except the satimata and her death on her husband’s funeral pyre.** What this book explores—what set me on this project in the first place—is the question: what might a sati look like without the one practice that has seemed to define her?


Fortunately, Jain satis seem to provide some answers to that question. The women who serve as role models for Jain wives are not named satis by accident. Sati discourse presents a model of wifely virtue, which is simultaneously linked to western Indian models of heroism; note that the Jains use the martial term Jina or victor to name their enlightened teachers. In this way, Jain satis are linked to the heroic by the heroic nature of their dedication to Jainism. This discourse is sufficiently multivalent to support the seemingly contradictory roles of devoted

wives, powerful nuns, and satimatas. Jains propose a collectivity of virtuous women who through their dedication to the religious ideals of Jain womanhood stand as role models. This volume is an attempt to tease out the different ways in which Jain discourse on wifehood is shaped by the ideologies of pativrata and sati, and how these are integrated with the Jain ideology of renunciation.

Agency, Selfhood, and the Jain Body That the discourse on satis centers around questions of agency has the unfortunate effect of privileging of the individual acting toward her own desire or benefit. Responding to post-Orientalism criticism, Mohanty (1984) describes how colonial discourse inscribed women as victims of third world culture, leading scholars to examine agency in the lives of Third World women more carefully. Abu-Lughod (1990, 42) has argued that the desire to seek examples

of resistance made feminist scholars romanticize resistance as a kind of feminist consciousness that refuses to comply with power. This critique gave rise to a number of ethnographic studies that examined the agency of women, carefully delimiting their claims of power, including excellent work on

the ritual lives of women in India.*” This work deeply influenced my first book on Jain laywomen’s singing circles (mandals) as a locus of religious authority; these earlier works all recognized the limits on the power of women’s resistance through ritual and laid the groundwork for more nuanced thinking about the relationships of power to ritual.

The definitions of agency in this scholarship often rely on the equation of agency with resistance; ultimately, agency is still granted to those whose acts represent a counterdiscourse to male hegemony, denying agent status to those women who comply with or accommodate status quo ideologies about women. And yet, for scholars who are interested in the ways that individuals negotiate

within hegemonic discourses and ideologies, this definition of agency is still too limiting. Better, then, to adopt the definition used by practice theorists who argue that agency can be defined as the “culturally constrained capacity to act” (Ahearn 2001, 54). Within this definition, we can find agential thinking


and acting when women make conventional choices, as they do in a Jain context when they choose to marry, fast for their husbands’ health, and adopt the practices associated with female modesty and sexual control.

In her study of Muslim women’s piety, Mahmood (2005) argues that scholars must move away from the progressivist idealization of individualism in order to understand configurations of desire and virtue in their particularities. Adhering to renuciation ideology may appear to us to resist pativrata ideology, and Jain women who carried out these acts of “resistance” appeared to articulate conformity to the other ideology; for example, although women who perform long fasts could be understood to be resisting their roles as wives, they do so by acting in accordance to normative and conventional liberation-

directed ideologies (Kelting 2006b; Reynell 2006). These acts were not framed as resistance by Jain women themselves, and on the few occasions when I asked if resistance to the pressures of wifehood was part of the rationale for a taking a vow, women strenuously argued that their vow was for their own liberation; by not engaging with my question directly, these women framed the

ritual not as resistance but as compliance.°? Jain women perform fasts that simultaneously celebrate normative moksa-marg ideologies while publicly participating in the performance of wifehood. Mahmood (2005, 15) sums up her rationale for her close study of apparently antiprogressive acts adopted by Muslim women, stating: “In this sense, agentival capacity is entailed not only in those acts that resist norms but also in the multiple ways in which one inhabits norms.” Similarly, it is analysis of the ways that Jain women inhabit or embody Jain norms about wifehood that dominates my discussions about Jain wives’ religious practices in this book. What is relevant here is not whether Jain women have agency or not, nor is it the fact that Jain women see themselves as having choices; what matters, rather, is the ways in which they deploy concepts of agency and choice in their discussion of wifehood. Jain women often named their own acts as determiners of or at least major contributors toward their futures: “this fast helped me get a good husband,” “that vow gained me the merit which led to healing my sickness,” and “my fasting kept my husband’s heart attack from killing him.”

While these statements clearly support the ideologies that make women responsible for the health and welfare of their families, they are also claims of agency. In making these claims, Jain wives negotiate a number of ways that Jains think about a husband’s health: (1) Jain karma theory suggests that the husband’s health is the result of his past acts; (2) Jains recognize that the medical connections between health practices and illness leave a husband’s behavior out of a woman's control;?* (3) Jains recognize that the sociopolitical realities of their community restrict a woman's ability to control her husband’s


health practices; and (4) a wife is expected as a pativrata to zealously fortify her position and her family’s well-being through ritual practices. The many women with whom I spoke about wifehood for this project routinely asserted agency through their ritual practices and their relationship to wifehood, and they did so within the discourses of Jain karma theory and selfhood.

Insofar as the “constrained capacity to act” defines agency, Jains grant agency to all souls.”” Jains believe that the acts of an individual (that is, an embodied soul) karmically constitute that individual’s body, and that this process is ongoing. At any given juncture, therefore, an individual can act in accordance to Jain teachings or not. By acting in accordance to Jain teachings, an individual may decrease the embodied soul’s “bad” karma (pap or asubh

karma) or gain “good” karma or merit (punya or subh karma). In order to achieve liberation, the soul must be free from any karma, including good karma. Performing austerities can detach some of the karma, which has been bound to the soul, while any acts that decrease passion or any time spent in states of inaction (such as motionless, silent meditation) would slow or stop the influx of karma. However, since liberation is impossible in these times and because at any time it is very difficult to achieve liberation without becoming a monk or nun, lay Jains also strive to increase their merit or good karma (punya). This good karma will increase a person’s well-being in this life and the next, and may also lead one to a birth from which liberation is possible. By choosing to perform fasts, an individual may decrease his or her overall karma, while at the same time gaining merit. Jain narratives suggest particular benefits arising from particular meritorious acts, and Jain karma theory supports this. Jain sati narratives ultimately posit that a pious Jain woman can use

her religiosity to be the full agent of her well-being. Her ritual practices promise her both karma reduction and marital happiness, but the results are sited within the constraints of Jain discourses of renunciation, merit, and wifehood. The stories tell how religious practices remedy marital disasters, protect women from violence and unwanted suitors, or allow them to choose to be wives or nuns freely, suggesting that piety will permit a woman to choose her future freely and affect the outcomes of her decisions for the betterment of herself and those who matter to her. Jain laywomen use their knowledge of Jain sati narratives and their related rituals to creatively control the kinds of karma they bind and therefore the results of their religious acts. The distinction between personhood (how humans become conceptualized as social beings) and selfhood (how humans conceptualize and reflect

on their embodied experience) illustrates the multiple levels of identity at which an individual may think and act.’ In her essay on Jain women’s personhood, Reynell (2006, 214) argues that Jain karma theory and the


importance of moksa-marg ideology provide a locus for Jain selfhood. When a young married woman performs fasts, she simultaneously fortifies the well-

being of her husband’s lineage, promoting her personhood as a wife, and creates a context for her own contexts of separation from that personhood and self-reflection, promoting her selfhood (Reynell 2006, 219-223, 229— 232). In Reynell’s case and in my observations, the selfhood of a person is not necessarily unified, but instead may reflect changing contexts and self-reflection. Jain women express a sense of self particularly in the context of fasting, where Jain notions of the individual embodied soul’s spiritual path are in the forefront of the discourse. For Jain women, the performativity of wifely bodies is a process in which women comply with and accommodate the ideologies of wifehood and nunhood through ritual choreographies. Jainism is well suited to the application of theories of performativity—in spite of the distance between Jains and the data and theorists of performativity—because Jains themselves assert that one’s own acts literally materialize one’s future body (in this lifetime and the next). We can see in Jain women’s representations of their bodies echoes of Foucault's (1988, 18) “technologies of the self, which permit individuals to effect by their

own means, or with the help of others a certain number of operations on their own bodies and souls, thought, conduct, and way of being, so as to transform themselves in order to attain a certain state of happiness, purity, wisdom, perfection, or immortality.” These technologies of the self are performed within a matrix of ideological discourses, which shape the possibilities of that selfhood. In particular, my analysis of rituals—especially in chapters 4 and 6—centers around the ways that Jain women materialize wifely bodies. Because Jains accept that the materialization of one’s body results from one’s actions, they understand their bodies as forever in a process of becoming or, in an ideal life of karma reduction, unbecoming. Jain women use the opposing ideologies of wifehood and renunciation to create ruptures through which a woman can embody seemingly contradictory identities. Butler’s focus (1993) on the performativity of sex and the materialization of the body seems to evoke ways in which Jains already understand the nature of their own body practices.

In a sense, the body is disciplined through ritual (after Asad 1993) to a performativity, which constitutes an ideal self. Hollywood (2006) argues for an understanding of ritualization (after Bell 1992), which can integrate the body practices of ritual with the ideas of performativity developed by Butler. Although Butler’s work has come under considerable criticism for her valorization of the resisting, volitional self, perhaps most convincingly argued in Bordo’s (2003, 289-296) critique of Gender Trouble (Butler 1990), I still find Butler’s notions of the performativity of the body, best articulated in Bodies That


Matter (Butler 1993), and her language of constitutive and reiterative acts useful in the context of Jain ritual culture and theories of action. In Mrozik’s (2006, 16, and 2007, 31-32, 63-70) use of Butler in her analysis of Buddhist writings on the body, she likewise sees the congruence between Buddhist karma theory and the performative nature of the body. In Jain contexts, I find this congruence doubly useful, because of the fundamentally materialist

workings of Jain karma theory. Butler, however, centers her notion of the morphology around language and the speech act (after J. L. Austin) as perfor-

mative, ultimately—and unsatisfyingly—nearly eliding the body with the speech act. Reviving Bourdieu’s (1977) concept of habitus—as a bodily citation, even when the habitus is a form of speech—can help us conceptualize the way

that the everyday can be performed into a personhood without devolving all performativity into a speech act. Foster (1998, 5) critiques Butler (along with most feminist scholarship on performance) for the focus on language in performativity to the exclusion of other forms of discourse. Foster suggests choreography as a more productive model, because it includes gesture alongside speech and permits gesture to be discursive (Foster 1998, 29-30). The body, then, is materialized through the constitutive performance of a choreography of acts and gestures available for body practices within its sociohistorical gendered context.

Other critics of Butler (most notably Ben-Habib 1992) have focused on the question of whether a fully discursive body (as Butler proposes) can be an agent. Barvosa-Carter argues that although Butler does not explore the potentials of multiple identities for agency, the foundations of agency

may be found in Butler's arguments for multiply constructed bodies. Barvosa-Carter writes: “Subjects that are socially constituted with complex

social webs are thus socially constructed not with one set of enabling constraints—but a variety of different sets of enabling constraints each of which consists of the meanings, values, and practices that comprise a different identity. It is this multiplicity of construction that, in my view, is the primary source for the variation in performativity that is the hallmark of agency” (Barvosa-Carter 2005, 179). Barvosa-Carter further argues that the space created by the selective performance of particular identities opens

up room for a reflexive selfhood. Jain women use ritual and everyday performances of multiple identities to perform themselves into selfhood. The strategic deployment of socioreligious identities is a central question in my study, and these scholars’ thoughts on the constitution of the body and the self through performance resonate with the ways that Jain women

spoke to me about their own bodies and with my observations of the


performances themselves, and shape my thinking about performance, body, and selfhood throughout this book. Jain sati narrative traditions and their associated rituals have much to say about wifehood and its possibilities for virtue. In my observations, wives often

expressed a wide range of interpretations of what it means to be a good wife. Religious practice is a particularly ripe area for examining this multivalence, because Jain narratives of religious women afford contemporary Jain laywomen with a multitude of sanctified trajectories. Laywomen need not justify their own religious acts, but creatively use the discourse of Jain satis to bolster the virtue of their choices. Wives serve as husband protectors, but also as teachers of Jainism, as patrons of rituals, as donors of alms to mendicants, and as a moral compass for the family. Jain women integrate in speech and embodied action multiple ideological stances to create a space for themselves as wives.

Overview of the Book

Part I: “Making Ideal Marriages,” including chapters 2, 3 and 4, focuses on questions of defining the ideal marriage and the capacity of wives to control how their marriages develop within Jain discourse on marriages. Chapter 2 addresses the ways that Jain women, like Hindu women, locate their wellbeing in their status as auspicious wives with living husbands (saubhdgya) and the rituals they perform to protect the health and well-being of their families, especially their husbands. This chapter discusses five strategies invoked for protecting a Jain woman's saubhagya, including a description and analysis of the Rohini narrative and its accompanying fast, the most powerful of Jain fasts for saubhagya. In chapter 3, the Jain sati narratives of Subhadra and Afijana suggest that a woman’s piety and fidelity to Jainism will not only protect her saubhagya but will also bring about marital happiness by transforming bad marriages into good or ideal ones. A variety of marital difficulties are neatly resolved in two well-known sati stories—Subhadra and Anjana—which portray the wife as the primary agent of rituals who ultimately secures her own marital happiness. In addition to accruing karmic benefits of ritual acts, both Jain satis in their narratives and contemporary Jain women deploy religion strategically

to increase their authority and perceived virtue within the community to ensure marital happiness and personal well-being. Chapter 4 examines the ideal Jain marriage, that of the sati Maynasundari and King Sripal; this pair shares a companionate marriage centered around mutuality and the shared


performance of Jain rituals. Their story provides a charter both for the quintes-

sential fast for marital happiness—the popular Navpad Oli fast—and for worship of the siddhacakra, which reenacts the ideal moment in the ideal marriage and blesses the couple who perform it with an ideal marriage. Part II: “Negotiating Discourses,” includes a pair of chapters (5 and 6) that center on the ruptures in this Jain discourse on wifehood. Jain women negotiate between the mutually exclusive ideologies of devoted wifehood (pativrata) and renunciation (moksa marg): how does a Jain woman successfully both focus her devotion on her husband and strive for individual salvation through renunciation? In chapter 5, the focus is on the narrative and rituals associated with the sati Rajul, who is rejected on her wedding day when her fiancé Nemi renounces. Though Jains reject the rite of dying with one’s husband, shifts in the portrayal of the Nemi and Rajul story and the veneration of Rajul trace the move from an uncomplicated renunciation narrative to a narrative that shares many features with Hindu satimata stories. Chapter 6 discusses the process by which young unmarried Jain women reconstitute themselves as wives through the embodiment of Jain satis—in particular Candanbala—and the adoption of the body practices of wifehood. At the same time, these Jain women also use fasting rituals to covertly explore the possibility of renunciation without stating any overt intention to renounce. When comparing young women’s embodi-

ment of sati Candanbala in one fast with their reenactments of Rajul, it is clear that these young women strategically deploy these satis’ incipient renunciation to embody their own experimentation and negotiation with wifehood and renunciation in ways that position themselves as agents controlling their own futures. Finally, I conclude the volume with a return to the discourse of wifehood as celebrated by Jain laywomen through iconic representations of domesticity and pleasure. In my extensive fieldwork with Jain laywomen, the majority of Jain wives have expressed joy in wifehood and participate in a variety of Jain rituals that mark wifehood as a special and honored state within Jain discourse.

Jain women’s ritual performances associated with Jain satis creatively deploy the discourses of the multiple ideologies that constitute Jain wifehood. This study attempts to tease out the threads of these performances in order to better understand the discourse of wifehood in Jain communities and in South Asia. The performance of Jain wifehood illuminates potentials for examining the performance of multiple identities within a shared gendered identity and suggests its further implications for our understanding of selfhood.


Making Ideal Marriages

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2 Fasting, Saubhagya, and Jain Sati Narratives

Jains, like Hindus, participate in the discourse of good wives as pativratas and the centrality of maintaining one’s position as an auspicious married woman (saubhagyavati), that is, a woman with a living husband. Though this model is not the only possibility for perfection for a Jain woman—they can renounce—wifehood is the role that most Jain women adopt and strive for. The importance of husbands for the Jain women I work with as their best protection from socioeconomic hardship cannot be overstated, and this relationship serves as the primary focus of ritual and material labor, attention, and emotion. The concern in this chapter is primarily women’s desires and rituals to ensure the long life of one’s husband. The preoccupation with saubhagya manifests in storytelling, worship, fasting, and other vows taken by laywomen. Although scholarship on Jains asserts that Jains cannot have merit transfer, it is clear that in certain contexts Jains assume that the karmic benefits of their acts can and are extended to others (Cort 2003). Because of Jain theological challenges to merit transfer, however, Jain laywomen also use a number of strategies for channeling the protective powers of their religious acts toward the health and well-being of their husbands. These strategies include teaching a husband correct praxis, encouraging a husband’s own piety and his participation in the wife’s ritual, garnering the blessings of guardian deities, and performing religiomagic practices of protection linked to Jain ritual amulets and substances. In this chapter, our discussion centers around those ways of protecting one’s


saubhagya that Jain laywomen understand to be Jain rituals.’ In each of these cases, the promises of protection of a woman’s saubhagya make these practices among the most common of those adopted by contemporary Jain laywomen. The Rohini fast claims to create equanimity and to protect a wife from sorrow—in particular, that most devastating sorrow of widowhood. It is under-

stood that Jain fasts work because they are a potent method for both the reduction of karma and the prevention of new karma binding to the soul. Yet neither of these processes directly maintains one’s status as an auspicious wife. Focusing first on four strategies that circumvent the Jain proscription on merit transfer and then on the Rohini sati narrative-ritual complex that Jain women regularly invoked as a powerful model for wifely equanimity and saubhagya, my analysis will illustrate the possibilities for a devoted wife to maintain her saubhagya within normative Jain discourse.’ As a brief illustration of the tensions between Jain views of self-determi-

nation and the ideals of women as agents of protection in the family, Jain women told me the story of the sati, Sulasa:° SULASA’S STORY

Sulasa and her husband, Naga, could not have children. One day Naga told Sulasa about his fears that he would die sonless and his soul would be bound for hell. Sulasa gave him a lecture on Jain dharma, illustrating that one’s own virtuous acts are the only way to prevent a rebirth in hell and that having sons to perform one’s funeral makes no difference. When Naga remained unconvinced, Sulasa suggested that he take a second wife. He told her that he could not because he had vowed to only have one wife. Sulasa said that they should just be good Jains. One day the god Harinagamemsi came to Sulasa’s house posing as a Jain monk on his alms rounds and, after seeing her dedication, he offered her a boon. Sulasa asked for a son for her husband. Sulasa conceived thirty-two sons, but she was told that they would all die on the same day. When they grew up they were guards for King Srenik, and died in battle. Naga was desolate, but Sulasa told him that he should simply focus on liberation. Sulasa rededicated herself to religion and was later singled out by Mahavir as the ideal laywoman. Sulasa later died and went to heaven. She will be reborn as the

fifteenth Jina, Nirmamaswami, in the next cycle of time.

The Sulasa story demonstrates the tension between Jain normative religious individualism and South Asian pativrata discourse by having Sulasa attempt

to explain Jain karma theory to her husband and then, when he does not


understand, she complies with pativrata expectations and strives to do what her

husband wants. Sulasa’s lecture on Jain dharma consists of normative Jain karma theory: one’s liberation can only arise from one’s own acts. But when her husband is not satisfied with her argument, she acts as a more typical devoted wife (pativrata) by first offering to let him take a second wife and then by using her boon to bear a son. Though Sulasa never renounces, the normatively Jain

ending to the story—her focus on liberation—suggests a certain detachment from wifehood (and motherhood). This story resolves the tension clearly on the side of normative Jain values—as if to say that husband and sons come first, yes, but focus on your own liberation in the end. Still, the social imperative to protect one’s husband does not disappear in a puff of normative orthopraxy. Contemporary Jains participate fully, but uneasily, in the South Asian discourse of women’s religious practices for saubhagya. What is interesting is that they do so with an awareness of this as a problem—which I will call, for lack of a more graceful term, the problem of merit transfer—and adjust their practices in ways that make them efficacious as Jain practices.

Karma Theory and Jain Merit Transfer To understand how Jains creatively accommodate saubhagya practices, they must be set in the context of merit transfer in South Asia more broadly. Merit transfer is a common method of promoting auspicious wifehood (saubhagya) in the South Asian religious landscape. Studies of Hindu women have found that they often use fasts to protect the health and life of their husbands and children (McGee 1987, 467-499; Pearson 1996, 78-83; Tewari 1991, 8-13, 16-18). Although fasting is central to the protection of saubhagya, Hindu women also fortify their saubhagya through ongoing devotional relationships

with deities, particular ptjas and festival worship, pilgrimage, and social practices (Pintchman 2006, 226). In particular, Hindu woman perform austerities whose efficacy—in the form of power (tapas) or boons from deities—is then transferred ritually or votively to another member of the family. Hindu

women most pointedly perform particular fasts for the long life of their husbands and the general well-being of their husband’s lineage, most notably the Vata Savitri fast (Jeth New Moon, or Full Moon in Maharashtra), Karva Cauth fast (Kartak dark fourth) and the (Haritalika) Tij fast (Bhadrapad bright third).* The widely observed Vata Savitri vow is performed in imitation of Savitri, who succeeds by her cunning in rescuing her husband from Yama, the god of death (McGee 1987, 468). The fast requires wives to perform a full fast on the day and to perform a puja and fast-breaking ceremony the following


morning. Women traditionally gather together at the foot of a banyan tree and make offerings—particularly of the signs of auspicious wifehood—to the gods. They then circumambulate the banyan tree with thread while praying for the long life of their husbands. After the worship is done, women invite auspiciously married women to their homes and make special offerings of the signs of wifehood to them (McGee 1987, 479-481). The merit and benefits of these practices are then transferred to the woman's husband or children through the intention of the person who has accumulated the merit (McGee 1987, 60). Pearson (1996, 162-163) writes of that the efficacy of the (Haritalika) Tij fast to

protect a woman's saubhagya arises directly out of the heat (tapas) that is produced through austerity, and therefore women who perform this fast acquire its benefits directly without any divine intercession or discussion of karma. In many Hindu ritual stories—perhaps best known in the story of Parvati’s fasts leading to her marriage to Siva—a woman’s austerities are rewarded by a boon from pleased deities, thus providing another strategy for linking a woman's austerities with the well-being of others. Merit transfer and divine grace are key ways that Hindu women protect their saubhagya. In a Hindu context, there is no conflict over transferring merit, or doing for others, because it is an expected duty of women (McGee 1987, 359-361), and this

practice has links to other Hindu practices (such as sraddha, feeding the deceased) in which individuals act on behalf of others.

South Asian Buddhism presents a model more similar to that of Jain normative views of merit in which there is an expectation that an individual’s

merit arises both from one’s own acts and from merit transfer. The ideal act of compassion is teaching Buddhism, but merit transfer—particularly in

funerary rites, recitations, and donation—develops in order to enable Buddhists to act on behalf of others (Schopen 1997, 79). The performer of an act—monk or lay Buddhist—may share the merit of that act with others (Schopen 1997, 246). In inscriptions, merit is usually transferred to the dead

(often parents) or to all sentient beings as an act of compassion. In a discussion of vow taking among Sri Lankan Buddhists, Goonasekera (2006, 112-114) describes a complex merit transfer in which the votary would perform Buddhist worship in a temple and then have the merit of this worship transferred as a thank-you gift to the deity who helped the votary in his or her worldly concern. Theravada Buddhists did not seem to develop

complex rites of merit transfer to husbands, as we find in both Hindu and Jain contexts. However, Theravada Buddhists use amulets to transfer the power of the Buddha and his teachings, and of charismatic Buddhist saints to themselves and others to whom they give the amulets (Tambiah 1984, 195-229, 258-265).


For Jains, however, merit transfer is more problematic. Jain scholar-monks have made the particulars of karma theory and liberation central to their intellectual identity (Cort 2003, 145), and thus karma theory weighs heavily in the balance of normative Jainism. Jain karma theory makes clear claims that merit

transfer is impossible and that one can only benefit from one’s own acts. To begin with a bit of background on Jain karma theory, there are two worthy but ranked goals within Jain normative ideology: the ideal goal of moksa (release from rebirth through the total negation of karma) and the worthy goal of wellbeing and a good rebirth through the accumulation of merit. Since moksa is impossible in this era, most Jains strive for well-being in this lifetime and the next, and hope that their merit leads them ultimately to a rebirth from which moksa is possible.” These two goals are reached through different means. In

order to strive for moksa, one aims to reduce karma. Karma reduction is achieved ultimately through nonaction; first, one strives to do as few karmabinding acts as possible and second, one performs austerities—in particular fasting and confession—which help destroy those karmas that do bind. The profound materiality of Jain karma leaves Jains focused on the discipline of the body as the locus of karma reduction. There are three kinds of acts that bind

karma—thinking, speaking, and doing—a triad embedded in the ritual of confession (in the aticdrdlocand and the pratikraman-bija-sitra) that Jain laywomen perform as part of any fast they perform (Williams 1963, 204-205); though Jains do concern themselves with intention, which they locate as a form of “thinking about doing,” this is but one of the causes of karma binding, and good karma cannot mitigate the inevitable karmic results of one’s bad acts.° There are also three levels of engagement with any particular act, which mirror the above model: appreciating someone doing, having someone do, and doing oneself.’ Though each of these levels binds karma (merit or demerit), doing the act oneself binds the maximum amount of karma. The most merit is gained by doing something good oneself, and the least by appreciating someone else doing something good.® Having someone do a ritual for you differs from merit transfer because in this model the beneficiary must engage with the desire to have a ritual performed, whereas in merit transfer the beneficiary need not even know an act has been performed. We can see how according to normative Jain karma theory it is impossible for one to transfer merit, because the beneficiary of good acts must somehow participate in the act whose karma is binding. Instead, one can bind good karma with relative ease through the appreciation of good acts, but this, in Jain karmic discourse, is still an act.” Appreciating the good acts of others, however, is a relatively weak source of merit, and thus Jain women continue to seek other avenues for channeling the benefits of their piety toward their husbands.


Though Jain karma theory suggests that there is no merit transfer, Jains do seem to participate in merit transfer, particularly in the context of mortuary rituals. Cort (2003, 132) argues that scholars must be careful to recognize the long-present stream of merit transfer in the Jain tradition, which should not be dismissed as simply lay Jains misunderstanding Jainism. In fact, inscriptional evidence and narrative literature suggest that Jains have long performed acts

with the intention of benefiting deceased relatives or entire lineages (Cort 2.003, 137; Granoff 1992, 184). Though Jains do not perform the Vedic rite of sraddha in which the deceased are fed, they do perform a number of funerary

rituals, which suggest that the living can assist the dead by transferring the merit of certain acts to the deceased. Three common funerary acts that suggest merit transfer are the performance of large pujas (in particular, the Antaraya-

karma Nivaranani puja) in order to remove any obstacles in the soul’s new birth; donations (popularly, the offering of the merit of book publication to the deceased); and the sponsorship of annual rituals at pilgrimage temples, which create an ongoing source of merit for the deceased’s soul in its future births.

These kinds of merit transfer are usually carried out by an entire family on behalf of the deceased.

Contemporary Jains also understand merit to be transferable generally from the virtue of one individual to the whole family or as an intended result (sankalp) of a ritual act. For the former, Reynell (1985b, 30) gives an account of a man who attributed his business success to the religious practices of his father,

suggesting a merit transfer or at least the idea that his father’s acts benefited the entire family. Laidlaw (1995, 342) also explains that when a laywoman offers alms to a Jain monk she converts an individual act into an act on behalf of the whole family, and thereby garners merit for all of them. Cort (2003, 129) recounts a woman's performance of a three-day fast with the stated intention of transferring the merit to her ailing father. The performance of the Navpad Oli fast (discussed at length in chapter 4) is widely believed to protect the health of husbands by a form of merit transfer; in other words, the wife’s performance of the fast is sufficient for her husband to benefit from the fast’s merit.'°

When Jain laywomen spoke to me of rituals—especially fasts—done to promote their saubhagya, they often struggled with the tensions between merit transfer in rituals Jains perform and their knowledge of the normative

position that merit transfer is impossible. In the context of the deceased, these rites were performed with little consideration about the implications. But when I questioned women generally about merit transfer to living persons, most laywomen stated that living persons can (and should) perform the rituals

for themselves. And yet women also felt responsible for protecting their husband and children and performed rituals to this end. The popular Ayambil


Oli fast—discussed in chapter 4—is performed with the expectation that it will automatically give protection to one’s husband (Cort 2003, 142; Reynell 1985a, 127). However, most rituals are understood to extend their protection to husbands through other means.

Strategies for Maintaining One’s Saubhagya In order to circumvent the problem of merit transfer or, perhaps more accurate-

ly, in order to make sure that rituals are effective for the protection of their husbands, Jain women employ four strategies that will be discussed in turn. First, women cajole their husbands into participating directly in Jain worship in

order to garner for them the greatest amount of merit possible from a ritual. Second, women also indirectly encourage increased piety by serving as a role model. In this strategy, similar to those enjoined by Buddhist discourse, the woman's own religious progress (or her teaching) is a model for virtue for the rest of the family, who will presumably follow suit and thereby gain the benefits of virtuous acts. Third, wives also worship guardian deities for the protection of their husbands; this strategy is similar to a practice common to Hindu fasting

narratives where the woman gains the protection of a deity through ongoing devotion or through the garnering of boons. Fourth, women bring to their husbands objects or substances that carry religiomagical protection. Direct Participation by the Husband The simplest way to ensure that a person gains merit is to convince him or her to participate in merit-making rituals. Women often make religious requests of

their husbands. One young woman I know told her husband that she would only agree to marry him if he promised to go to the temple every day. A common vow before marriage is to go with one’s new husband to a particular pilgrimage site. In my experience, new husbands honored this vow, if possible.

In yet another example of religious requests, several older women I know asked their husbands to join them in a vow to stay for the four-month rainy season at the mendicants’ hostel at Satrufijaya. Contemporary Jain women also cajole their husbands into adjunct participation in rituals they perform. A husband’s appreciation of his wife’s rituals— indicated by supporting her in her decision to perform them, by supplying the necessary materials and funds, and by publicly celebrating them—garners him a modicum of merit, but significant stocks of merit can only be gained by some kind of direct participation. It is fruitful to think of the participation of men in


the closing rites of Jain rituals within this context. For example, if the husband arrives at the end of a puja in time to perform the closing rites—Arati, Mangal Divo, and Santi Kalas—then that husband is eligible for the merit of that puja. In my observation of Jain formal pujas, if the sponsor’s husband came at all, he would arrive just as the main puja was finishing and perform the closing rites

with his wife.'’ Only at the largest mahapijas did men come for the entire ceremony. There was a general consensus among laywomen that the presence of the husband increased the overall benefits to the family garnered from a puja, and in particular this allowed him to participate in the karmic benefits beyond the mere appreciation of his wife’s religious practice. Wives would periodically call their husbands to participate, if briefly, in a variety of religious ceremonies, especially those associated with marital happiness. Most pujas

were performed during the day, and men often did not have the time or inclination to attend them. In addition, only one couple can perform the closing rites for any one puja, limiting the number of these rites a man could perform even if he were interested and able to do them. However, although inviting their husbands to participate in rituals is the theologically simplest and most overt strategy women use for promoting their husbands’ well-being, it is not logistically simple. Wives often resort to covert efforts to enforce certain good behaviors in their husbands. Women control the food in the house and therefore have some control over their husbands’ upholding Jain food restrictions and the special restrictions on particular days. Many women explained to me the importance of making tasty Jain food at home so that their husbands did not want to go out to eat prohibited foods. Jain women also maintain the familys household shrine and ensure that worship supplies are always on hand. They make sure their husbands are aware of the Jain religious calendar, remind the men of occasional temple functions, and suggest possible observances.'* Women who perform

large fasts or pujas also see these acts as providing opportunities for their husbands to make donations or to participate in other ways without requiring the husbands’ initiative or much of their time. In all of these cases, women were able to ensure that their husbands benefited from performing Jain rituals and observing Jain food rules by creating conditions in which the husbands could most easily choose to uphold Jain expectations. These strategies directly benefit the husband through his karma reduction or binding of meritorious karma. Role Model

Jain women also understand that their religious virtue and acts serve as role models for others in the family.'? Women’s acts both educate and inspire


others toward being better Jains. In ways that were not so much about direct protection but were understood to promote the best interests of the family, Jain wives see their role as that of the moral compass for the family. In a Jain normative context, the best thing that one can do for someone else is to teach them Jainism and the proper performance of its rituals.'* In Jain sati narratives, the sati’s practices start a chain of events that benefit her husband and his lineage. In these stories, the wife’s acts (religious teachings, worship of Jinas or guardian deities, feeding monks, or fasting) are understood to be the cause of good fortune and are then imitated. Narratively, this might range from getting

a husband to perform a particular virtuous act to converting an entire family and sometimes even a whole kingdom. A Jain wife may be an active teacher of Jainism. In stories, satis regularly give sermons to their husbands, in-laws, and others, admonishing them to follow Jainism and often expounding on a particular point of Jain theology, so that the listeners are convinced of their wisdom and follow the sati’s example. In the Sulasa story, after their sons die, Sulasa’s husband follows Sulasa’s religious advice and performs many Jain rituals, which ultimately leads him to liberation. These satis who act as teachers are fulfilling a key role in Jain theology by teaching right knowledge, which will then lead others to right action. In practice, women are the primary teachers of Jain belief and practice in the family and are responsible for most of the religious education of children (Kelting 20o1b, 71-74, 115-117; Reynell 1985a, 143-145; 1991, 59). In one family I know whose Jain observances (and identity) had dwindled for several generations, a particularly religious and knowledgeable daughter-in-law revitalized them as Jains, taught them normative Jain practices and beliefs, and was credited with improving the whole family’s well-being. Women are routinely consulted (and listened to) on religious matters. Those religious issues which women do not control are brought to mendicants, not to their laymen husbands. For the overall moral development of the family, women’s religious knowledge is the primary locus of authority (Kelting 2006c, 133-135). Without being a teacher, a woman still can be a role model who encourages correct behavior in others. In sati stories, a sati often performs a ritual, and its

efficacy so impresses the intended audience that they begin to perform the ritual themselves. For example, in one sati narrative discussed at length in chapter 3, Subhadra’s special relationship with the guardian goddess convinces her marital family and subsequently the whole town to become Jains. In other cases, like that of the satt Maynasundari, the sati performs an extraordinary austerity, and this inspires her husband to perform lesser, but still efficacious, austerities. In my observations, I found that when Jain women performed long and difficult rituals, especially fasts, their husbands and other family members


often performed some smaller austerity alongside. This kind of solidarity is a common response to the respect garnered by women who perform grand fasts and to the Jain virtues that the whole family is reminded of by her fast. For

example, on the last day of the forty-five day Updhan fast in 2000, three separate families related to women performing the vow all decided to perform

some kind of fast along with the primary participant. It is also a nearly universal practice for men to make substantial donations on the occasion of their wives’, daughters’, and mothers’ completion of difficult fasts (Banks 1992, 86-87, 93, 189-192; Laidlaw 1995, 143-144, 185-186, 356; Reynell

1991, 64). The extreme austerities of a familys women are marked with increased piety on the part of other members of the family. In all these cases, women exert some influence over the religious practices of their husbands and

relatives, and therefore lead them to accruing merit and protection. These auxiliary acts are also central to the business of prestige building and public religiosity (Kelting 2009b). Finally, women afford their families the opportunity to encourage and appreciate the good acts of others by providing good acts to appreciate. Guardian Deities

Although the liberated Jinas do not act in the world, Jain guardian deities are seen as powerful forces whose blessings are actively sought. These blessings are fully transferable—one can ask for a blessing for someone else—and women

reported to me that they routinely made requests on behalf of others.'® In conversations with women about ways that they protect their saubhagya, many women spoke of their devotion to Jain guardian deities, especially the goddess Padmavati. There were a number of other guardian deities that Jains routinely

worshiped for well-being; the goddesses Ambika and CakreSvari and gods Manibhadra, Bheruji, and Ghantakarn Mahavir were most commonly named and represented in temples and household shrines.'? Among Khartar Gacch Jains, there are also the Dadagurus who provide blessings and assistance for those who worship them.'® Jains understand guardian deities as being capable of acting in the world, and Jains often credit them for their experiences of wellbeing. Jain rituals are understood to work simultaneously on the level of karma and on the level of pleasing the guardian deities. A woman who performs a

ritual improves her karma and also pleases the guardian deities, who are themselves understood to be celestial lay Jains. These pleased guardian deities then bless the woman or grant her requests. In contemporary understandings, when the guardian deities bless a woman, that blessing is believed to manifest


itself in her marital happiness. In requests, the woman is able to direct that blessing toward protecting her husband by asking the deity to protect her status aS an auspicious wife or her family’s well-being. One middle-aged woman attributed the general well-being of her family to her ongoing devotion to the goddess Padmavati. In more votive contexts, a woman might ask a deity directly for a particular kind of protection—health of her husband or children, conception of a child, and so on; if granted this request, she is enjoined to make a votive offering in thanksgiving. One older woman vowed to make substantial offerings to a powerful Manibhadra image in Pabal if familial problems were

resolved, while another vowed to get her husband to make an offering to Sankhegvar’s Padmavati if his health returned. Young women cannot make large gifts, but still do make vows to the guardian deities on a smaller scale; one

young woman vowed that she would bring a coconut and a veil to the local temple’s Padmavati if she were successfully engaged. After obtaining their desired results, they all fulfilled their vows and credited the guardian deities for their success.’” In my observations of contemporary Jain communities, laywomen focus considerable devotional attention on guardian deities. Ongoing devotional relationships with deities contributed to general well-being, while crises were addressed with additional votive offerings. Religiomagic Practices

Jains use a variety of religiomagical practices to protect themselves and, most important here, others. The two strongest forms of protection are those that are garnered from deities and those that are created by the practices associated with mantras and yantras. The ability to transfer the power of a deity’s protection or a ritual’s power to protect is an important part of the material culture of Jain ritual life. Sometimes the blessing of a guardian deity may be materially manifest, and the woman may be able to offer some of that blessing to a member of the family. This blessing can take the form of a blessed object—commonly a thread tied around the wrist, a thread necklace with knots, or an amulet—which is then worn by the person for whom the woman seeks protection.”” Images of the protecting deities may be hung in a house, pasted to vehicles, or placed in shops

to offer protection to the people using those spaces. The images are often acquired at pilgrimage sites and brought back not only for the person who completed the pilgrimage but also for others in the family. I have found that it is usually women who distribute these images to others, though men will get them for themselves when on pilgrimage." These protective amulets (bracelets,

necklaces, metal amulets hung on necklaces, key chains, images of deities adhered to houses, shops, scooters, and cars) are ubiquitous in Jain households.


Jains also understand the protective potential of the power of mantras and their material manifestations as geometric designs called yantras. The Navkar mantra is understood to have protective qualities and is recited in moments

when one wants protection. However, mantras generally are understood to work only for those who hear them. Someone can certainly recite a mantra to protect those within hearing (and women did this commonly for their children), but cannot protect those out of earshot unless the mantra itself is bound into an amulet. Grand worship ceremonies—including those associated with suardian deities such as a Padmavati mahapuja or the fire sacrifice on black fourteenth (kali caudas) to Ghantakaran Mahavir at Mahudi (Cort 2001b, 165166), or with yantras such as the Siddhacakra mahaptija—often include the

blessing of amulets. The recitation of mantras over the amulets (often performed by a Jain monk) “locks” the blessing into the object.** These amulets can then be worn by those who were at a worship ceremony and also by anyone who is given an amulet. Women commonly took home enough amulets from these events for themselves, their husbands, and their children. Extra amulets were saved to replace existing ones whenever they broke, or to offer to anyone who might need protection.

In addition to amulets, there are two primary substances that are said to carry protective properties: blessed sandalwood powder (vdaskep) and the liquid (praksal) that has been used to bathe images and yantras.*’ Vaskep is blessed

through mantra recitations by Jain mendicants, and it is used to bless Jains who come to pay homage to the mendicants. It is also a transferable blessing that mendicants give to lay Jains so that they may share the protective blessings of the mantra and the mendicant with others not present. Lay Jains commonly went to receive vaskep from mendicants before starting a new project, ritual, or

trip. Vaskep was brought from mendicants to bless and protect infants, the sick, the elderly, and the dying, and mailed to those overseas; in sum, vaskep can carry the blessing of the mendicant to anyone who cannot themselves go to the mendicant. The bathing liquid from the images (praksdl) is also a transferable form of blessing. This liquid carries with it the power of the yantra over which it has run (usually the siddhacakra, which is itself the physical manifestation of the Navkar mantra), which can then be used to heal and protect those who apply

this liquid to themselves.** When this bathing water is further empowered with mantras (as it is when the Moti Santi text is recited over the pouring pitchers of praksal in the Santi Kala which completes large worship ceremonies), the liquid is doubly powerful. This liquid could be brought home and applied to the walls of the house to protect the family and anyone who was not at the ceremony. This substance is known to be both healing and protective;


after a major ceremony women will gather to fill small containers to bring some home.” After some major ceremonies, the large bowl filled with this blessed liquid is covered and kept in the house of the patron for several days to extend the blessings and power of the event to the house and its inhabitants. In

my observation, this practice was widely believed by women to encourage conception.*° During one of the grandest ceremonies ever performed at the temple in Shivajinagar, a two-day Santi Sndatra mahapuja, several women had put objects inside the container where all the praksal and other offerings were collected for the duration of the ceremony. Once the ceremony was complete, these objects were collected and brought home to protect their houses. I was told that this was the very best kind of protective object one could possess, and if the object was a silver water-pot (kalas) it was then linked to the worship of lineage goddesses who also protect the family.

Although Jains clearly do participate in rituals in which merit is transferred from the performer to another person, Jain women were reluctant to assert the possibility of merit transfer themselves; in this, Jain women participate in the hegemonic discourse of elite scholars of karma theory that the women have acquired in filtered ways by reading publications and hearing sermons derived from normative texts. Instead, Jain women named other strategies for ensuring that their own religious practices can directly benefit others, particularly husbands and children. They often explained how they were able to gain merit and protection for their husbands by inducing their husbands to participate in the rituals, to perform other rituals after observing their wife’s piety, or to accept religiomagical objects and substances brought to

him. Without the participation of one’s husband, a woman can still garner boons from the Jain guardian deities that she can apply to the protection of her husband. Usually women utilize a combination of these strategies in a variety of rituals—most powerfully in fasting and puja complexes—in order to protect their saubhagya.

Fasting for Saubhagya Jain women fast for a number of reasons, with a variety of expected or hopedfor results. The results range from the most orthodox karmic understanding— to reduce karma—to more complex understandings associated with saubhagya

(Kelting 2006b, 192-195). Pearson (1996, 196-208) and Pintchman (2005, 186-190) likewise found that Hindu women understood their vows to act on multiple fronts, including both the personal spiritual benefits to the woman and the protection of her husband and his family, and generally providing a


social context in which women’s authority is accepted and interests honored.”’ Any Jain fast performed by a woman can work in multiple ways to protect a

woman and her husband. The woman herself benefits directly from the decrease in karma, and then perhaps she will receive a blessing from a suardian goddess, which can be shared. In addition, she and her family may receive blessed objects, which can be distributed. Her family may attend rituals, which allow them to share in the benefits of a woman’s acts. And finally, but most lastingly, her family may become more observant of Jain

rites and restrictions as a result of her example. In general, fast and puja complexes are effective for saubhagya because they reduce karma, garner merit for those involved, and provide opportunities for utilizing the four strategies discussed above. However, few of the many Jain fasts are specifically targeted at saubhagya. When asked generally which fasts are good for saubhagya, Jains named a

number of such fasts. The two most commonly named in Pune were the Navpad Oli (a fast arising from the narratives about Maynasundari) and Rohini fasts. There were other fasts named as effective for saubhagya; I was told by a number of women that the Pafiicami Saubhagya fast (which is discussed briefly in chapter 5) was very powerful for protecting the health of one’s husband. I was also told that the Aksaynidhi fast was helpful for financial well-being, and that even a simple one-day Ayambil would be helpful in promoting saubhagya.”* In a morning sermon in 2001, the monk Devguptavijay, who made his rainy-season retreat at the Shivajinagar temple, said that women should perform both the Candanbala fast (discussed in chapter 6) and the Rohini fast in order to be happy and bless their families (7 July 2001). Reynell (1985, 12'7-136) found that the Navpad Oli fast and the Aksaynidhi fast were named as Key fasts for the promotion of marital well-being among Jain laywomen in Jaipur.*” In

Patan, Gujarat, Cort (200rb, 140) was told that the Ayambil Oli, eight-day (aththai), fifteen-day (paksman), and month-long (maskhaman) fasts were effective for protecting one’s saubhagya, while in Jaipur, Laidlaw (1995, 225-228) was told Ayambil Oli and Rohini fasts were particularly good fasts for women because they were effective in the area of saubhagya. It is unsurprising that the two most commonly named fasts for saubhagya

are those associated with great satis known for being auspicious wives: Maynasundari and Rohini. The fasting instructions for both of these fasts themselves suggest that they would be useful for protecting husbands. In a sense, both the Navpad Oli and the Rohini fasts are strategies for bridging the gap between the expectation that women will perform rituals for the benefit of their husbands and the understanding within Jain doctrine of one’s ultimate karmic responsibility and the inability to transfer merit. The Navpad Oli fast


utilizes three of the four strategies named above. Jain women performing the Navpad Oli fast often cajoled their husbands into performing one ayambil fast—a one-sitting fast of bland food—during their fast, and expected their husbands to participate in the puja completing this fast. This four-and-a-halfyear fast provides ample time for the woman performing the fast to serve as a role model of ideal Jain lay praxis for her family and community. The Navpad Oli fast requires vows for fasting, daily worship including offerings, veneration of mendicants, mantra recitation, meditation, confession, and study of religious texts, fulfilling each of the six daily obligations (a@vasyak) and the additional karma-reducing acts focused on austerity and knowledge.*” The Navpad Oli puja provides the performer with both amulets and praksal, which women shared with their husbands. The Navpad Oli fast is a popular public fast with all the rituals performed communally, and it is linked to ongoing maintenance of saubhagya. Jain laywomen named the Rohini fast as the most difficult and effective of the saubhagya fasts, and it therefore demands exploration. The Rohini fast was the only fast that I was told was exclusively for women and that men should not perform it.?' The Rohini fast requires a fast on the rohini day (an astrological date) of each month for seven years and seven months.” Although, in fact, the fasting itself is relatively modest by Jain standards (a single one-day full fast per month), the longer full fasts are generally directed at decreasing karma and striving toward liberation rather than saubhagya.’’ What was difficult, women

insisted, was that one had to have the right sentiment and emotional state (bhav); while fasting, the faster cannot feel strong emotions, particularly nega-

tive emotions. The ability to have equanimity for one day per month is a requirement if one is to receive the benefits of universal and permanent equanimity, and is an unique feature of the Rohini fast. Equanimity was understood to be an integral part of Jain notions of perfection and the attainment of liberation. Thus, any woman who can successfully perform this fast is already accomplished in those liberation-directed (moksa-marg) virtues of equanimity and austerity.

This fast works in three of the four major ways in which Jain women circumvent the problem of merit transfer. First, the faster’s husband should join his wife for the closing ptja, make a substantial donation to his temple, and throw a feast for the whole congregation at the completion of the fast.** Second, for the duration of the fast, the husband and the rest of his family are made aware of the piety of his wife each month for a little over seven and a half

years. Third, performing this fast is believed to garner the attention of the suardian goddess, who will protect a woman and her happiness. The Rohini fast and the narrative suggest one further way to link the fast to a woman's


saubhagya through the protection of a woman’s equanimity and the prevention

of her sorrow; this strategy is one that circumvents the question of merit transfer by maintaining the performer of the fast as the primary beneficiary its merit. Thus, the Rohini fast prevents bad things from happening to the faster, which would include anything that would damage her cherished status as an auspicious wife. In the discourse of the Rohini fast, the identity of the woman is fully eclipsed by her identity as a wife, so that protecting her is the same as protecting her husband.*° Several Jain women told me very abbreviated versions of the Rohini story,

but they also referred me to sati narrative collections for more complete versions.°° The Rohini story is narrated in a popular published collection of sermons, Upadesaprasad (1993, vol. 5, 197-201), as follows. ROHINI’S STORY

In the city of Campapuri, King Maghava and his wife, Queen Laksmi, had eight virtuous sons and also one daughter named Rohini. Rohini was a lovely and auspicious child, and the king wanted a special groom for her. The king’s advisors said that Rohini should marry prince Asok, and so a groom choice was arranged. Rohini and Asok were married and returned to his home, and he was soon made king. They had eight sons and four daughters and they were happy for a long time. One day Rohini was looking out and saw a woman who was wailing because her son had died. Rohini did not understand what was going on—because she had never seen suffering—and asked her husband: “Husband! What is kind of drama is that?” and the king said: “Dear, don’t be arrogant!” Rohini then said: “I have wealth, youth, husband, son, and father, and so forth, [because I have] all this, Iam filled with happiness. I am not being arrogant, but I have just never seen this kind of drama before.” The king explained: “That woman's son has died, that is why she is crying,” and Rohini replied: “Where does one learn how to act like that?” The king said, “Look, I will teach you’ and he threw their youngest son over the rampart. But Rohini did not cry, and the king was amazed and disturbed. The goddess came quickly and caught their son on a throne. One day, two of the Jina Vasuptjya’s disciple-monks, Raupyakumbh and Suvarnakumbh, came to the city, and the king came to pay homage to them. He asked them: “From what past karma does my wife not experience any unhappiness?” and the monk told him that in a past life his wife, Rohini, performed the Rohini fast to


atone for feeding a monk polluted food, and because of this she cannot experience sorrow.°” At the end of his narrative, the monk said: “O King Asok, the merit of this fast is such that from the very moment of birth one does not experience sorrow or crying.” King ASsok, having heard the story of his wife’s past life, became a model Jain layman and enjoyed the rest of his blissful reign. After some time, ASok and Rohini went to the assembly hall of Lord Vasuptijya and became mendicants. After performing fierce austerities, they attained omniscience and then liberation.

In this narrative Rohini herself has no experience of sorrow, though she does feel joy in the fulfillment of her social position as an auspicious wife. She has the security of having a living father, husband, and son alongside wealth and the good health and beauty implied by having her youth. Her life is perfect. ASsok reprimands her for being arrogant about her good fortune; his reprimand is echoed many times when contemporary Jains correct someone who speaks too much of their good fortune, in order to prevent them from getting the evil eye. In the story, Rohini does not even understand what Asok means, because her life is so completely free from sorrow. They have a one-sided fight, with ASsok getting furious and Rohini not recognizing the negative emotions being experienced by those around her. Asok’s rash act of throwing his son off the ramparts is tempered by the son’s miraculous rescue. Rohini’s equanimity and the rescue of her son are both attributed to Rohini’s past performance of the fast. The monk explains that Rohini will experience no sorrow—a statement of both her equanimity and her luckiness. In an abbreviated version of the Rohini story told to Laidlaw, we learn that Rohini is impervious to sorrow of any kind: “As the result of austerities in a previous birth, Rohini is an extremely fortunate woman. She never had any kind of unhappiness” (Laidlaw 1995, 224).°° The story suggests that the fast will produce a sense of emotional equanimity in the face of troubles and an alleviation of troubles, as well. Rohini’s husband punishes her for not having the proper sentiment by killing their son (part of her security), but her religious acts from a past life grant her equanimity in the face of tragedy. Her merit also

protects her happiness and future financial security by causing a guardian

soddess to save the life of her son. The miraculous rescue of their son convinces the king that Rohini has some special karma, and for this reason he seeks the story of her past lives from a monk. The story tells us a few things about women’s piety.”” First, Rohini’s performance of this fast in her past life protects her, her husband, and their son in this life. Second, the terms of this efficacy are centered around the protection of Rohini’s equanimity and happi-


ness, rather than being framed around the effects it may have on her husband.

And finally, the story tells Jains that fidelity to religion will ultimately be rewarded in this life and in future lives by marital happiness and recognition of a wife’s authority and virtue in matters of religion.

The Rohini story provides the source for the important detail for the performance of the fast, which is not found in the fasting manuals: one cannot show displeasure, anger, or sorrow while performing this fast, or one cannot— at the very least—show any indication of unhappiness (Laidlaw 1995, 224). If one’s equanimity is broken, the fast is broken. Several women told me that this rule convinced them that they should not start the fast. It was also expected that on the rohini days, no one in the family should do anything that might upset the faster, since the results of the fast benefit the entire family.*” For the fast to be effective, the faster’s happiness and equanimity must be protected, therefore nothing bad must happen to her. In this way, protecting the fasting woman's happiness protects the family. The promise of the attainment of equanimity from the fast was something

Jains were happy to speak of publicly because, of course, equanimity is a prerequisite to liberation and therefore sits neatly within normative liberation ideologies. Laidlaw (1995, 225) was told by a Jain nun that the Rohini fast will prevent one from feeling any “mental distress,” and she went on to say that perhaps her own mother’s calm in the face of tragedy arises out of a performance of this fast in a past life. I, too, was told that this fast led one to calm equanimity. In one case, a woman told me that her mother-in-law’s peaceful and unflappable demeanor was the direct result of having performed this fast. Among Jain laywomen I spoke with, the Rohini fast was understood to be very

effective against long-term illness in oneself and one’s husband, but also against the attendant worries of such an illness. In at least one case, this fast was undertaken after a woman’s husband was diagnosed with cancer and the woman felt it gave her the equanimity to face her increasingly likely widowhood.*" Women always named the benefits of equanimity and contentment as

one key result of the fast, but they also credited the Rohini fast with the protection of a woman's saubhagya. The Rohini fast instructions directly claim worldly benefits as a result of the fast: “The fruits of this fast are never being a widow and the happiness of auspicious wifehood” (Taporatna Mahodadhi, 114). It is in only a few Jain fasts that the instructions actually name saubhagya as a potential benefit; most Jain fasting instructions state that the benefits of a fast are related to the progress of the faster’s soul toward liberation. Contemporary Jains feel comfortable discussing these benefits directly in private (though most are hesitant to do so in public).** No doubt this rarity arises from the tension within the normative


Jain community between the liberation ideology, which promotes becoming a mendicant as a means for achieving liberation, and the discourse of well-being,

which promotes merit making as a means for achieving a successful and fruitful lay life and rebirth (Cort 2001b; Laidlaw 1995).*° And yet the claims given in the Rohini fast instructions could not be clearer about the fast’s links to saubhagya. Though Rohini fasting instructions state that the fast will prevent widowhood and promote marital happiness, it requires some analysis to tease out how this happens. It is not immediately obvious how this claim and the details of the story are linked. Rohini suggests a model that inverts our expectation about how to attain saubhagya by focusing on the protection of the woman herself from suffering, which would mean that bad things—like widowhood, loss of children, and so on-could not happen to her.** The fasting narrative also tells us that nothing bad could happen to Rohini. Indeed, her equanimity when her husband threw their son off the ramparts is protected by the fact that the guardian goddess catches the son and thereby removes any cause for distress. This shift toward the sati being protected from bad things happening provides a model of achieving equanimity that is more appealing than a simple philosophical acceptance of misfortune as karmic fate as Sulasa suggested to her husband. This model is key to the ways that contemporary laywomen undertstood the efficacy of the Rohini fast and surely contributes to the popularity of the fast. One woman who had performed this fast told me that it prevented her

from experiencing any misfortune. In light of marital problems, the story suggests that women’s acts (now and in a past life) both create the equanimity to sail through the storms of marital trouble without distress and prevent the worst of marital troubles from happening at all. Probably the best-known Hindu story of wifely devotion is that of Savitri, who follows her husband Satyavat into death. Her devotion to her husband is rewarded with a boon (or three boons) from the god of death, Yama. He tells her she can ask for anything, except to get her husband back. Cleverly, Savitri asks for a hundred sons, which Yama grants. Savitri points out that as a chaste

and virtuous woman she cannot have these sons unless her husband is returned to her. This story is associated with a fast for the long life and prosperity of husbands (Tewari 1991, 31-33). Much like Rohini, Savitri uses the protection of herself to protect the life of her husband. Hindu women who perform the fast associated with the Savitri story, like the Jain women who perform the Rohini fast, hope to use the protection of their status as auspicious and virtuous wives to protect themselves and the lives of their husbands. Jain wives, like other married women in South Asia, prioritize the health and well-being of their husbands both as an act of wifely piety and in recogni-


tion of the centrality of that relationship for their own well-being. A woman's saubhagya is the focus of a number of fasts and related practices. Jain women use a variety of strategies discussed above to ensure that their husbands benefit from their religious acts and thereby protect their saubhagya. The Rohini fast presents us with two ways of thinking about women’s saubhagya practices: one, a woman can prevent widowhood by performing the Rohini fast, and two, the mechanism of this fast’s efficacy is to protect the woman from misfortune (which is elided with widowhood). However, even a woman's successful efforts

in protecting the life of her husband are no guarantee of her happiness; women’s notions of well-being extend beyond simply having a living husband, and it is to this concern that we now turn.

Jain Satis, Women's Agency, and Bad Marriages

Jain sati narratives provide a corpus of directives for maintaining well-being and resolving marital difficulties through Jain piety. In these stories, satis use their piety strategically to alleviate conflicts and solve marital troubles. Although Jain rituals work on the level of karma reduction and merit making, the stories suggest that piety also works by proving a woman's virtue and convincing her husband and his family to support, rather than reject her. This chapter centers around two stories, Subhadra and Anjana, which I commonly heard, but which were not associated with particular rituals.’ In essence, the power of these stories comes from their proposition that generic piety (rather than particular rituals) will solve a woman's problems. Their popularity seems to arise from their propositions about women’s agency and the narrative recognition of those concerns and fears that Jain women—like women in other communities—face in their married lives. Because of the centrality of marital happiness for the overall social and economic well-being of a Jain married woman, it is unsurprising that Jain women synthesize the discourses of Jainism and Indian wifehood, developing a blueprint of the agency for making the decisions that affect their lives and those of the people around them.

A variety of marital difficulties for women are neatly resolved in Jain sati stories, which set the wife at the center of action and as the primary agent of efficacy of rituals. In these stories, in short, women control their fates through their ritual practices. Sati stories work together with ritual practices and ritual texts to provide a foundation on


which wives may build their pativrata practices when saubhagya is the greatest concern, but these stories promise more than lessons in pativrata practices; they promise happy marriages, good fortune, recognition of a womar’s virtue, and ultimate reward (either heaven or liberation) as the result of Jain piety. Marital happiness was defined for me by Jain laywomen on many occasions. When I speak of marital happiness, I mean something greater than the

common definition of saubhagya, good fortune, which marks a woman as fortunate if she has a living husband regardless of the quality of the marriage that is experienced by her. Women spoke of saubhagya as the starting point— acknowledging the basic socioeconomic importance of having a living husband. Though saubhagya, in this simple sense, is still key to a woman's basic support in the patriarchal context of South Asia, recent scholars of Hindu women have begun to explore the wider possibilities of women’s desires and needs within marriage.* After naming saubhagya, Jain women added further considerations for marital happiness including: emotional and sexual intimacy with one’s husband, peaceful relationship with one’s husband, harmony with one’s husband’s family, children, economic prosperity, and some combination of love and romance.

Obviously not all marriages are happy at all times, and women discussed with each other, and with me, strategies to fix bad marriages.” There were socioeconomic and sociopolitical answers to family resource and labor distri-

bution problems and medical suggestions for lack of children, but these solutions often took the potential agency out of the woman's hands by assigning authority to someone else—usually male—to negotiate or make decisions on behalf of the woman’s interests.* Women did have certain recourses; a woman could return to her natal home as leverage to improve her married life or, less commonly, she could use her own assets (money gained by selling her personal jewelry or money given to her by her natal family) to alleviate their financial suffering. In intolerable marriages, there is the possibility of divorce or returning to one’s parents’ house indefinitely—a de facto divorce. Alongside these strategies, women also suggested to each other religious strategies—

fasts, worship ceremonies, pilgrimages, and so on—that might create the desired results. In these religious solutions, women are granted the agency to make decisions about what to do at each step of the act, and the acts themselves bind merit to her directly. These religious acts were often performed by the woman on her own behalf (like the Rohini fast), locating the power of the acts within her own abilities to act. Within the predominantly mercantile Jain community, whose business and marriage practices are based on notions of virtue, moral virtue has very real socioeconomic effects. Because of the centrality of virtue, Jain women can use their piety strategically to gain


power in their marital homes and also gain power for their marital homes, powers that they can convert into changes toward their ideal marriage. Many women I observed used some combination of externalizing strategies and consolidating religious rituals to change their unhappiness to happiness. When the desired result arose, it was usually attributed to the religious act rather than the mundane one. Even if the solution was clearly linked to a mundane act, the efficacy of the mundane act was still linked to the ritual acts performed by the woman, reframing even the most externalized acts as a result of the woman's piety. For example, one young woman whose marriage arrangements were not going well finally agreed to use a Jain wedding service group to

help her family meet suitable young men, while at the same time she performed a major fast and worship ceremony. Her marriage was soon successfully arranged, which she attributed to the fast. When I asked about the wedding service, she said that it would not have been fruitful without the worship. She felt that she was able to change her status through her own acts and get her desired results; Jain discourse on karma theory and piety supports her claim. In sati narratives, the problems that may arise within marriage are a backdrop for a discussion about the sati’s agency and the efficacy of her acts. These stories assert the potential of women’s virtue to fix even the most seemingly intractable marital problems.

Sati Narratives and Strategies for Creating Marital Happiness In the most intimate conversations with Jain women, there arose a pattern of particular concerns about marriage. The fears centered around bad marriage arrangements, infertility, abandonment and other forms of rejection by one’s husband (including—the least overtly discussed area—male adultery), and rejection by one’s in-laws, especially one’s mother-in-law. We will see in the stories of Subhadra and Anjana how good wives use their virtue to control their fates and fix their bad marriages. Their fasts and piety allow them to gain good

husbands or transform bad husbands into good ones, to have much-desired (and socially required) sons, to regain the love of their husbands, to gain the respect of their in-laws, and to lead to a general illumination of the greatness of Jainism, which converts others to the religion. Jain sati narratives are similar to ritual narratives (vrat kathda) recited in conjunction with Hindu women’s fasts. In these Hindu narratives we find a similar set of problems solved through the wife’s devotion (to a deity or a ritual practice). In chapter 2 we saw how the Rohini fast protects a woman’s happiness and therefore protects her husband’s life, which is key to her happiness.


The primary concern in Hindu saubhagya fasting narratives is likewise to prevent widowhood (recall the Savitri story and its accompanying fast), but other Hindu ritual stories center around marital happiness. For example, the story associated with the fast at T7j tells how Parvati is able to arrange her own

marriage by practicing intense fasting and asceticism until her marriage is arranged with Siva (McGee 1987, 230-231; Tewari 1991, 34-36). The Ciraiya Gaur fast is performed to make a husband love a wife; its accompanying story tells us that when a woman performed this fast her husband stopped beating her and began to love her (Tewari 1991, 65-66). In others, such as the recently popular Santosi Ma fast and its accompanying story, fasting promises intimacy with one’s husband (in particular a separate home), good relationships with one’s husband’s family, and overall familial well-being alongside protection of a

husband’s health and long life (Pearson 1996, 177). But most of the Hindu fasting narratives collected speak of preventing widowhood and/or poverty through the power of asceticism and the boons of pleased deities.” Although the Jain stories of Subhadra and Afijana were less frequently told than those of Jain satis focused on in other chapters, these stories were popularly portrayed in the edifying literature that many laywomen read and were occasionally retold as stories of good women for groups of women. These Jain sati stories resemble Hindu fasting narratives (vrat katha) with the addition of the competing discourse of renunciation and Jain liberation (moksa-marg) ideology. Though

the two stories in this chapter do not have links to rituals—as do most of the other Jain sati narratives I discuss in this book—the widespread knowledge of these stories suggests their significance as narratives of desire and agency. Subhadra Of the two stories given in this chapter, Subhadra’s was more commonly told to

me. I heard brief versions of this story on countless occasions told to me by young unmarried laywomen, married laywomen and, on occasion, nuns. Subhadra’s story centers around three of the worst possible problems that could arise in the early years of a marriage: deceit in wedding arrangements, conflicts with the marital family over religion, and accusations of infidelity or shamelessness. (This last will be discussed later in the chapter.) These are fears young

unmarried women named during the period in which their marriage is being arranged, and the story was most often told by and to unmarried women. The version below is drawn from a printed version, Mahdsati Subhadra Tatha Rajimati, in Virasenavijayji Ganivarya’s sati narrative series Mahasati, which

was circulating from 2000 to 2002 among the Jain women with whom I worked.°



Subhadra was born into a good Jain family—the daughter of the king’s minister. Subhadra was very religious, and her father wanted to marry her to a religious Jain of a good family. One day a young Buddhist man named Buddhadas was visiting her city, saw Subhadra, and fell in love. Buddhadas found out that Subhadra’s family was looking for a good Jain husband for her, so he changed his name to Jinadas and pretended to be a Jain. He stayed with some Jain monks, claiming to take a vow to live temporarily like a monk in order to impress Subhadra’s father. Jinadas/Buddhadas met her father and lied to him about all the Jain vows he supposedly had taken. Subhadra’s father was fooled and decided to marry Subhadra to Jinadas/Buddhadas. In all the excitement of her new life, Subhadra did not immediately realize that her in-laws were not Jains. One morning, Subhadra went to worship at the Jain temple. When she returned, her mother-in-law told her that her new family were not Jains, but Buddhists, and that from now on Subhadra must only worship at Buddhist temples. In defiance, Subhadra continued to worship at the Jain temple and pay homage to Jain monks. One day a Jain monk who had been fasting for a full month came for alms to break his fast. The monk was in pain because of a piece of straw caught in his eye. Subhadra wanted to help the monk, so she removed the straw from his eye with her tongue; her red forehead mark stuck to the monk’s forehead. When her mother-in-law saw the

red mark on the forehead of the monk she said to Jinadas/Buddhadas: “Look son! What kind of wife acts like this? She is shameless and that

monk is filled with lust.” Thus the mother-in-law stirred up trouble. Jinadas/Buddhadas believed that Subhadra was disgraceful and beyond any hope of redemption. Subhadra was uncertain what to do, so she vowed that she would stay in meditation (ka@yotsarga) until her name was cleared. The guardian goddess came to her and said: “Hey, daughter, tomorrow morning your disgrace will be banished. I will speak as a voice from the sky. Do exactly what I say,” and then the goddess left. The next morning no one could open the gates to the city. The king asked for any ideas, and out of the sky came a voice saying: “O king! Don't worry. Once a true woman (sati str’) draws water from this well with a sieve on a weak cotton thread and throws it at the gate, then


the gates will open.” After the king heard this he called for all true women to come and try to open the gate. No one could keep water in the sieve. Everyone began to worry. Subhadra told her mother-in-law that she would open the gate. Her mother-in-law became very angry and said: “O sinful woman! In just one act, you have already shamed our family, what more do you want?” Subhadra humbly said: “I will ask the sky-goddess. If she says ‘yes,’ I shall go open the gate.” Just then a voice came from the sky: “Go open that gate!” Having heard this, Subhadra went through the crowds of thousands of men and women. She drew water from the well with a sieve on a weak cotton thread and threw it on the gate. Three of the gates unlocked miraculously, but the fourth was left. The guardian goddess announced to the crowd: “I will only open the last gate when a true woman comes before me.” Subhadra came to bow before the goddess and the gate opened. Everyone saw the miracle. Then the mother-inlaw asked for Subhadra’s forgiveness, and her husband’s family converted to Jainism. At the end of her life, Subhadra became a nun, destroyed her karma by fasting, and attained liberation. (Mahdasati Subhadra Tatha Rajimati, no date, 61-66)

Pearson (1996, 248) was told a similar story by high-caste Hindu women in Banaras. This story was associated with the Jiutiya fast, in which it is a sister—

rather than a wife—whose virtue is tested. In the Jiutiya story, the sister was required to prove her virtue to her brothers by carrying water in a sieve and she could not do it, so she sat weeping. The deities Siva and Parvati felt pity for the woman and sealed the holes in the sieve, making it possible for her to carry the water. This Hindu story hinges on divine intervention rather than miraculous virtue. Although the sister’s virtue could have drawn the attention of the deities, they are said to address her because she is crying, demonstrating their compassion rather than her virtue. In contrast, even when the goddess is most involved in the Subhadra story, it is always Subhadra’s virtue that permits her to pass the

test and, having demonstrated her virtue, fix her bad marriage. Though the goddess prepares the test for Subhadra and informs her that there will be a test, Subhadra passes that test without any divine intervention or magic.

In shorter versions of the Subhadra story, the goddess’s role is further attenuated. When one Tapa Gacch nun told me the abbreviated story, she said: “Subhadra cleaned the monk’s eye with her tongue and removed the dirt that got in it. Her forehead mark stuck to him and everyone started talking, since

the monk had just been to her house. Later when everyone was locked out, from the heavens, the goddess said: ‘Whoever can bring water in a sieve and


throw it on the door, will open it.’ Subhadra could do it and from this everyone knew she was a sati.”” It is Subhadra’s innate virtue that allows her to miracu-

lously open the gates. Another Tapa Gacch nun who was sitting near by later added that Subhadra had done the eight-day fast (Aththai upvas), locating the success of Subhadra’s test in her own religious practices rather than exclusively in her wifely virtue. In her discussion on the links between laywomen’s piety

and that of nuns in the Terapanthi community, Vallely retells the story of Subhadra. In her version, Subhadra vows to fast, reciting the Navkar mantra until her reputation is repaired. It is her resolve that gains the attention of the soddess who proposed the challenge. She undertakes the challenge of the sieve while reciting the Navkar mantra (Vallely 2002, 230-231). In Vallely’s version, it is Subhadra’s fast and the efficacy of the Navkar mantra that allow her to prove herself.® In all cases, it is Subhadra’s virtue or her pious religious practices that

make the miraculous possible; the goddess merely sets the stage. These other tellings of the Subhadra story rely on strategies similar to those discussed in chapter 2: fasting and the religiomagic practices associated with the Navkar mantra, rather than potentially capricious divine intervention. Subhadra’s story draws our attention to two marital problems I will discuss directly—bad mar-

riage arrangements and religious differences—and a third, accusations of shamelessness, which I will discuss after introducing Afijana’s story.

Bad Marriage Arrangements

Subhadra’s story was often told to me by young unmarried women whose marriage arrangements were in process. The story reflects the kinds of fears that this group of women might have about their soon-to-be-determined future married lives. Subhadra’s father made a poor marriage choice—having been fooled by appearances—and she is now married into a Buddhist family, and to a husband who would lie, even about vows, in order to get his way. Although young women whose marriages were being arranged have mostly expressed to me concerns about whether they will fit into their new home and how much they will miss their families, these women did voice concerns about deception, learned from the accounts of friends’ and acquaintances’ marriage arrange-

ments. Stories of deceived parents were repeatedly referenced by young women when marriage arrangements were being discussed. Although the older generation exert considerable energy on determining whether or not the groom’s family is representing themselves accurately, it is assumed that some relatively benign blurring of the facts might go on; educational achievements and financial prospects might be slightly exaggerated and appearance adjusted to conform to norms. Love matches and familial conflicts


might be obscured, but these issues are the focus of much research.'° Families watch carefully for any signs of false representation about scandals.'* Subhadra’s father’s choice resonates with their fear that the groom’s family might grossly misrepresent themselves and that one’s own parents might be fooled by appear-

ances until it is too late. The story instructs the young women, if they find themselves in this position, to be firm in their religion, and all will work out for them. Some marital problems can be resolved through the use of strategic piety, but Subhadra first needs to protect her ability to practice Jainism at all. Religious Differences

Subhadra’s troubles continue after her marriage, as her mother-in-law prohibits Jain worship, which Subhadra feels she cannot give up. Tensions over the religious practices between natal and marital homes are real. Though most Jain women marry into Jain families with the same sectarian identity, sometimes women in the smaller communities (such as Sthanakavasis) are married into the dominant community (Murtiptijak), whose practices differ significantly.'* Nowadays, most parents take into account the sectarian identity of the families and the degree of religiosity of the two children, but as long as both are Jain these are lesser concerns compared to financial, educational, and overall family character considerations. Even in the best-matched arrangements, there are differences in the style and level of commitment between a bride’s natal and affinal homes. After marriage, there is also a shift from the relatively selfdetermined religious practices of an unmarried young woman to the expected religious behavior of married women, and in particular, married women of a new lineage.’ Unmarried young women begin to perform some of the practices associated with married women, but in a periodic and experimental way. The new vows, food restrictions, levels of temple attendance, and household rites are linked to the shift of expectations from daughters to wives and disrupt a young woman's sense of comfort derived from her familiar worship just as she leaves the comfort and protection of her natal home and its practices. Regardless of whether the young woman is more or less religious than her marital family, accommodation of her religious differences can be central to her marital happiness, especially when her personal practices are linked to her sense of her own control over that marital status. One newly married woman

told me that it was difficult to adjust to her more religious marital home, because she did not know how to cook the more restricted foods and was not

interested in religion, which was a major topic of discussion among the women in her affinal home. On the other hand, another newly married woman told me that she was very sad because since she married she no longer performed a full puja every day (she was expected to be home helping with the


morning work) and because the men in her affinal home ate onions, which are proscribed for Jains and which her more orthodox natal family did not eat or

cook. In both cases, being religious was highly valued. The more religious woman was able to argue that performing rituals was part of the labor of wives,

and ultimately secured more time for her worship. The less religious woman continues to search for aspects of religion in which she has interest and could become well versed. The adjustment to the religious life of married women directs the young women ultimately toward taking a greater role in religious

practices, even if the labor of early child rearing may diminish the time available for the practices for some years. The marital families in both cases began to accept the particular religious styles and interests of these two women over time, easing some of the tension, too. Acceptance of a woman's religiosity can be central to her happiness. One Jain woman who had a “love marriage” into a Hindu family attributed her husband's success to her continued Jain worship after her marriage. But she attributed her marital happiness to the fact that her in-laws permitted her to continue to identify as Jain and uphold basic Jain values in her new home. Her belief that her acts benefit her marital family resolved some of her concerns about having a different religious identity from her husband and his family. The

story of Subhadra suggests that a young woman can virtuously defy these changes, be rewarded, and ultimately recognized as virtuous, if she is being steadfastly Jain. Subhadra breaks a key social expectation that a new bride conform to the religious practices of her husband's family. Subhadra ultimately converts her in-laws so that she is now married into a good Jain family, as she should have been from the start.'* Were Subhadra less religious than her inlaws, the narrative could not posit her as a moral ideal, but as one who steadfastly maintains her religion against social pressure, she is a sati and a good wife. This story tells us a few things about Jain piety. One, Jain piety should be upheld even if it comes into conflict with social requirements. Two, Jain piety will be rewarded with both spiritual gain and worldly happiness. Three, the virtues of a good daughter-in-law can be channeled into the conversion of her husband’s lineage, leading to well-being and ultimately liberation for them. And, finally, four, one’s own religious acts can directly change one’s situation, turning flawed or bad marriages into ideal ones. With this in mind, we turn to the story of Afijana.

Anjana Sundari

The story of Anjana was widely known through the proliferation of Jain religious publications.’ Contemporary Jain women referenced this story in the context of their reflections on marital problems. The Afijana story intro-


duces a number of additional marital problems that will be discussed in turn: (1) rejection by husband; (2) childlessness and miraculous fertility; (3) accusations of shamelessness; and (4) conflicts with one’s mother-in-law. The story suggests a particular anxiety about being rejected by one’s husband and his family and accused of adultery. A brief examination of the Afijana story will frame my discussions on these problems among contemporary Jain laywoman. Below is a condensed version of Afijana’s story drawn from a book, Ek Managamati Varta: Anjana Sundari Caritra-Sacitra, which was circulating during the months of my research for this book.


Afijana was married to Pavanafijay, but before the marriage was consummated, Pavanafijay overheard a conversation that led him to reject Afijana: one of Afijana’s friends said that her husband was better than Pavanafijay.'° Afijana’s best friend defended Pavanafijay, but Anjana remained silent throughout the argument between her friends. Pavanafjay interpreted Afjana’s silence as a kind of rejection and was so insulted that he did not come to her on their wedding night to consummate the marriage. Afijana tried to figure out what she had done (in this life or a past life) that made her new husband indifferent to her. Her friends told her to complain, but she refused, saying that this was her fate and that she would stay at her in-laws and love him regardless of his rejection of her. Afijana lived her married life without ever even seeing her husband once. Pavanafijay, who was a virtuous man in spite of his behavior toward his wife, also led a celibate life, and so twenty-one years passed by. Pavanafijay went to war and left Afjana without a word, rejecting even her wifely farewell blessing. Afijana began a strict fast to correct the bad karma that had led to her unhappy fate. The night before the battle, Pavanafijay heard the pitiful wailing of a bird mourning its beloved. He felt pity for his wife and returned to see her for the first time. He arrived secretly at night, and the marriage was then consummated. Pavanafijay left in the morning without seeing his parents, but before he left, Anjana

asked him how she could prove herself virtuous if she turned out to be pregnant. Pavananijay said that he could not admit to having come back from the battle or he would be called a coward. However, he gave her a ring and told her to keep it safe in case of an absolute emergency. Anjana, who had amassed significant power (Sakti) from the austerities of being celibate for twenty-one years, conceived a child


that night. When her pregnancy became visible, people started to talk. Pavananijay’s parents did not believe her story and when she showed them the ring, they claimed that she had stolen it. They drove her from their house in shame, thinking she was adulterous, and sent her back to her parent’s house. When Afjana’s father heard that she was pregnant [presumably with an illegitimate child], he barred her from her natal palace. She and her best friend wandered the jungles until the child was born. When Afijana’s maternal uncle (mama) heard that she was in the jungle, he insisted that she come live with him until Pavanafijay returned. When Pavanajfijay did return, he was devastated to hear that she had been thrown out of the house and searched

everywhere. When he gave up on finding her alive, he went to burn himself to death on a funeral pyre in atonement for sending Afijana to her death. At the last second, his father came and told him that Anjana was living with her uncle, and they went to fetch her. Once they found Anjana, she immediately forgave everyone, saying that all this suffering was on account of her past karma. They lived happily ever after, renounced at the end of their lives, and attained liberation. (Ek Managamati Varta: Anjana Sundari Caritra-Sacitra 1993)

Afijana accepted her loveless marriage as her fate, but when her husband refused her the right to protect him (through the farewell blessing) she began a severe fast.'” Pavanafijay’s refusal to consummate their marriage is a rejection of the proper intimacy between a married couple, but his refusal to accept her farewell blessing is a rejection of her status as his wife. It is then that

Afijana starts to take control of her marriage by performing a fast, which results in Pavanafijay’s decision to consummate his marriage. One unmarried young woman told me the Afijana story as follows: “For twenty-one years her husband didn’t come to her and from that austerity she was able to conceive in one night. Still no one believed her until her husband returned and then they knew she was a sati.” Even in this condensed version we see some of the key concerns women have about marriage problems. In Vimalastiris version, which serves as the base story from which this telling is drawn, Pavanafijay suspects that Afijana was in love with someone else before their marriage and thus rejects her (Canto 16). In Vimalasiri’s telling, the concerns over the purity of the bride are central to Pavanafijay’s worries about his

marriage, but rather than accuse her of this infidelity, he simply rejects her. In Valmikis Raémdyana (Kiskindha Kanda 66), Afijana, who is married to the monkey Kesarin, is grabbed by Vayu, the god of the wind. Vayu seduces her with promises of a semidivine son, and thus Hanuman was conceived. In the


Hindu story, it is Afijana’s infidelity that blesses her with her son Hanuman, rather than her accumulated power from celibacy. Contemporary Jain tellings never suggest the possibility—even if only in the eyes of Pavanafjay—that Afijana is unfaithful.'* The episode shifts from questions of Afijana’s fidelity in Vimalastris version to a reconfiguration of Afijana in which her friends assume the guilt of the discussion, and even that discussion centers around Pavanafijay’s piety in the contemporary popular renditions. This shift may arise partly from the differing understanding of women’s religiosity in Vimalastri’s time period and that of contemporary Svetimbar views, but seems to me to indicate a strategy to maximize Afjana’s virtue as a Jain sati. The further her story gets from the Ramayana, the more it stresses her virtues as a sati.’”

Intimacy and Rejection

Within the discourse of arranged marriages, fear that one will be rejected by one’s new husband abounds. This rejection may take several forms: not coming to one’s wife to consummate their marriage, growing tired of coming to one’s wife, or not indicating any affection to one’s wife in private or in public.”° The sati narratives attribute a husband’s rejection of his wife mostly to unjust

accusations of shamelessness and infidelity or, in a few cases, to a general rejection of marriage and wives as the mark of worldly life to be renounced.** In conversations with married men, I have also heard less specific complaints about wives: that the wives have bad temperaments, that the couple is ill-suited

to each other, or that a wife is lazy. These complaints, however, are not reproduced in Jain stories. Nor are satis actually guilty of infidelity (as Anjana is in Valmiki’s Ramayana); they are falsely accused and then they prove their

virtue. Even the accusing mothers-in-law usually accuse from a reasonable misunderstanding rather than from malice. The story of Anjana illustrates the perils of a couple meeting before the wedding is completed. The possibility that things will go sour between a couple

was a subject of concern among older Jains who observed the shift toward engaged couples having a short courtship before marriage. The tensions lie between the ideal couple who meet at their wedding (and then of necessity and opportunity make their marriage work) and the “love match” encouraged by films, television serials, and magazines. The rise of romance in the media can justify itself by pointing back to the great romances of Indian classical literature and the royal prerogative of the “self-choice” (svayamvara) marriage, in

which the princess chooses her husband from a crowd of suitors.** These media are all quite popular with the young middle-class Jain women with whom I conduct research. Increasingly, television serials dominate their free


time.*” The negotiation of expectations between the “traditional” ideology of the gift of the virgin who knows nothing about the groom (kanya dan) and the “modern” discourses of romance and desire adds tension to the unstable period

between engagement and marriage, and sometimes extends into the early months of marriage. After marriage, the budding romance between a husband and wife is often seen rhetorically as a threat to familial solidarity, because the husband may side

with his wife over his father’s lineage in disputes, and he might choose to separate his nuclear family from the household (Bennett 1983, 219; Raheja 1995, 30-37). But for newly married brides, this very intimacy is often their desire. Raheja (1995, 43-50) found this hope for intimacy with one’s husband

expressed in songs through the sign of the fan, which represents sexual intimacy and is given in their dowry. If the husband feels close to his new wife, he may support her interests or, in worse situations, he may protect her from abuse or injustice by her in-laws. It is for this very reason that new wives look for signs of growing affection, which might indicate an advance in their social and emotional security in the unfamiliar world of the marital home. For a woman's natal family, signs of the growing intimacy between their daughter and her husband are sought in order to assure the woman's parents that their daughter will be happy (Raheja 1995, 50); they will subtly—and sometimes not

so subtly—question the new bride about her sex life with her husband. Although the husband’s family may be concerned about romance separating the son from his family, I have heard older men and women voice concerns about the risk that the couple do not grow to love each other. Despite the concerns voiced by grooms’ families about familial solidarity and the persistent

risk of smaller family units separating from the group, the troubles that arise from an unhappy couple were always named as worse: no children, strife in the home, inauspiciousness, and the potential for infidelity.” Although public physical displays of affection are not the norm in the Jain communities, there are public markers of affection by husbands for their wives: bringing her gifts, preferring her cooking, bringing her out to events, going on private outings, indicating her knowledge of one’s business, and intimacy with her brothers. Public gifts and private outings are the strongest markers of public affection, because both indicate that one’s husband is using family resources (money or labor) to please his wife. Raheja and Gold likewise found that gifts, particularly of veils and fans, were markers of sexual intimacy between husbands and wives in north India (Raheja and Gold 1994, 30-72; Raheja 1995, 43-52). These kinds of private gifts from one’s husband were understood to be intimate enough that women tended only to show me the gifts after securing a promise that I would not tell other relatives that their


husband had given it to them; gifts of affection were often hidden until after a woman returns from her natal home, where the gift is then produced as if it were a gift from her natal relatives. For women, it is harder to show any public affection and, because the affection is assumed, it signifies less. Restrictions about speech and decorum prevent statements or physical gestures of affection in any remotely public setting. However, women do show affection for their husbands through attention to their likes and dislikes—making their favorite foods—and showing preference for the gifts from their husbands. In small sroups, women will often affectionately tease their husbands as long as no elder in-laws are present. Day-to-day involvement in one’s husband’s business is likewise seen as public proof of private intimacy. Affection in private includes both sexual and emotional intimacy. The restrictions against public displays of intimacy between husband and wife are in no way expected to extend to the private spaces of marriage. Over the last fifteen years, women told me about late-night conversations about personal hopes, worries, and ambitions as a mark of the intimacy they had with their husbands. Occasionally women mentioned playing games (especially, cowries and carom) with their husbands. Conversations and playing games are also euphemisms for sexual intimacy and illustrate the interconnectedness of these kinds of intimacy in marriage. Sexuality is an expected pleasure of marriage,

understood to be an important marker of marital happiness, and, frankly, necessary for the continuity of the family line. I found there was quite a bit of good-natured joking about sexuality among married women—though not in front of one’s own mother-in-law—and women shared a vocabulary of euphe-

misms for sexual intimacy and romance that were widely referenced and accompanied by much mirth. A woman can show private affection for her husband by indicating availability for sexual encounters (for example, by arranging for their children to sleep elsewhere or offering to give him a massage), giving support to her husband when he experiences familial conflict, and disclosing personal feelings and history. Wholesale public rejection of one’s wife, as we find in the Afijana story, is scandalous, and I have only observed one marriage to dissolve in this dramatic way.”? Public displays of infidelity were virtually unheard of—though it may happen—because of the social stigma for both families.”° Less total rejections of a wife can be publicly marked in subtle ways: eating out, leaving one’s wife unaware of one’s schedule, not inviting a wife to an event, forgetting to bring a wife to a promised event, or slighting one’s wife's relations.” Should any one of these occur, a wife will feel rejected, and should it become a common practice, real concerns will develop about the marriage within their families. Individual acts of rejection were commonly covered up by wives, because to admit them


would make them even more vulnerable by drawing attention to their husbands’ lack of attention. Women rarely rejected their husbands in any public way unless the situation seemed intolerable; any woman who publicly rejects her husband will be assumed to be a bad wife unless his public behavior is seen to warrant rejection. However, if some of the conditions of marriage are intolerable, women can go to their natal families and refuse to return until some of their demands are met.2° Though few women take such extreme measures, a husband’s public acts of rejection were often the grounds for private marital conflict.

Private rejection can be even more painful for a wife, because it occurs

without the public eye of his family, which might otherwise censure the husband for his neglect.*” Unsurprisingly, because of the links between sexual and emotional intimacy, one common euphemism for sexual activities is “talk” (bat cit).°° Silence from a husband is devastating to a wife. These rejections are especially painful for a new wife who is hoping for a loving relationship and who is left particularly vulnerable to abuse in her new home. When a husband

and wife are estranged, the burden of proof of virtue lies with the woman. A close relationship with her husband is often a new wife’s best protection from criticism or other injustices in her marital home, especially before she bears children. Narayan (1997, 76) likewise found that women in Kangra believed that a husband’s protection and affection are achieved through a couple’s intimacy. A lack of sexual intimacy would prevent her from bearing the very children that could cement her position in the family should her husband or in-laws have a conflict with her. A wife may likewise choose to perform private acts of rejection in response to a husband's rejection or because she is unhappy in her marriage. These acts range from small acts, like giving him bad food—for example, over-salting his food or serving cold or stale food— to larger acts like refusing sexual access or speech. In my observation, because

the stakes for conflict with one’s husband are so high and husbands have greater power, women often channeled their anger at their husbands away from their husbands toward their children or other members of their marital family. In any case, though a certain amount of conflict is assumed in marriages, overall intimacy between a husband and wife is seen to mitigate the potential escalation of these conflicts into rejection.

The Perils of In/Fertility Childlessness is of central concern to most of the laywomen I have interviewed. The importance of children as emotional support and as status consolidators to

women when they are integrating into their marital home, and of sons as financial support for old age cannot be overstated. To have no children is seen

as a terrible fate to be avoided at nearly any cost. Women often cited other


women’s childlessness as the state of greatest sorrow and vulnerability. I have not

heard of any woman being divorced because of barrenness, but there is a lingering fear that barrenness will lead to her being rejected emotionally and sexually. Having no children leaves a wife outside of her husband’s lineage and makes her vulnerable to criticism about her family loyalties (Wadley 1995, 114). In addition, without children there are realistic concerns about financial and emotional security in one’s old age, and the childless couple often has less say in familial matters, because they are understood to be less invested in the future of the family. The worst state, of course, is that of the childless widow, and for all childless wives, this specter is ever-present. Once a wife becomes a mother— especially of a son—it is felt that she has security against the worst kind of widowhood.** Without intimacy with her husband, a woman faces the full range of fears about childlessness alongside the sorrow of an unhappy marriage. For most women, their first pregnancy and then the birth of a first child mark their full participation in their husband’s lineage (Dhruvarajan 1989, 119). The birth of a son makes the bond even stronger.** Afijana’s pregnancy is practically miraculous; she conceives in just one nightly visit from her husband after twenty-one years of celibacy. For Anjana, however, accusations of adultery destroy any potential of her pregnancy to bring her a sense of security in her marital home. In fact, it leads her in-laws to reject her completely. For Anjana, the affection of her husband would have indicated to the family that a child would eventually come, preparing the ground for their believing Afijana’s story. Children are read as an indicator of marital intimacy and a sign that the marriage is going well. Even married women with whom I felt comfortable discussing the possibility of birth control dismissed this option, saying that the couple had no son and therefore would not be using any. After a couple I know well had not conceived for three years (by using birth control, a choice they made without discussion with the extended family), I was told that they were not getting along well. When I asked what made people feel that way, I was told over and over: “There are no children.” When I retold the story to the wife, she laughed and said she’d tell her husband that he better take her out more often to reassure his family. He did make several public gestures of affection, but within three months she was pregnant, suggesting that the talk about them made them reconsider their decision.*’ Though anecdotal, this story illustrates the clear connection between child bearing, perceived marital happiness, and the position of a daughter-in-law. On the other hand, miraculous fertility can become the site of accusations

of infidelity. For example, in the well-known puranic story of Ganapati’s beheading, Siva accuses his wife Parvati of adultery when he returns and finds her son Ganapati guarding the door of her chambers (Siva Purana


2..4.13.15-32). The theme of the virtuous woman wrongly accused of adultery by

her in-laws is acommon motif in Hindu narratives. In the story of the Sword Husband, a woman is married by trickery to a sword. But, miraculously and

secretly, the sword changes into a husband at night. After she becomes pregnant, she is accused of shamelessness, which is only resolved when her husband displays himself to the village (Gold 1995b, 443-446).** In a story associated with the Hindu fast of Sakath (Ganes Cauth) there are striking parallels with the story of Anjana: a wife is wrongly accused of infidelity after she conceives a child during one secret visit from her husband. Her mother-inlaw does not believe her story. Her husband, however, sets up magical signs of her fidelity that same night, and when he returns, they show that she was faithful, and he fetches her home (Tewari 1991, 114-115). The critical difference is that where the Sakath story has the husband test his wife, Aijana’s proof is in her virtue and her husband’s belief in it; the ring he gives Afijana is intended to be evidence for his family, rather than a test of Afijana’s fidelity. Accusations of shamelessness (public adultery) follow Afijana’s pregnancy, the Sword Husband, the Ganes Cauth story, and also the incident between the

monk and Subhadra. In each case the wife is powerless to argue against the accusations, because her husband has either joined forces with his mother in making these accusations or is simply absent and unable to corroborate her evidence. These accusations are a justification for rejecting the wife. If the wife is clearly virtuous and her husband or in-laws reject her, her in-laws are seen to be at fault. However, if her in-laws can justifiably accuse their daughter-in-law

of shamelessness, the rejection is seen as correct and virtuous behavior. In Afjana’s story, the correctness of her rejection is doubly marked by her own father’s rejection of her. These stories focus on the miraculous fertility of the wife as the site of her suffering. In a sense, these stories are the crystallization of a woman's worst fears of rejection: that the best piece of evidence of her integration with her marital family that she could provide—a son—would be her undoing. In the Afijana narrative, both the miraculous fertility and the happy resolution of that worst case scenario are set in motion by Afijana’s virtuous religiosity, while her suffering comes at the hand of her parents-in-law because of her husband’s absence.

The Accusing Mother-in-Law

Mother-in-law/daughter-in-law conflict is a central theme in Hindu vrat katha literature (Narayan 1997; McGee 1987; Menzies 2004; Tewari 1991). In some cases, the daughter-in-law is suspected by her mother-in-law of acting intentionally to harm her marital family. Gold (1995a, 123-128) tells the story of the


Jangli Rani, who is rejected by her mother-in-law after she claims that the Jangli Rani is performing black magic. In the well-known story of Santosi Ma, which is connected to a popular Hindu fast, the wife succeeds in consolidating her husband's affections by proving to her husband that his mother treats him badly, which prepares him to take his wife’s side when she is abused by his

family (Menzies 2004, 421).°? Although most of these stories focus on the wronged wife, there are others that present the mother-in-law as the victim of abuse by her daughters-in-law whenever her sons are away (Menzies 2004, 414; Tewari 1991, 47-48). Story after story focuses on the conflicts inherent to this relationship as the central problematic and an assumed state of being that begins the narrative action. The trope of mother-in-law/daughter-in-law conflict has some of its roots in the sociopolitics of joint families and arranged marriages. Real-life conflicts between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law usually arise out of workload and resource distribution (Minturn 1993, 141-144), and it is in a womans best interests to work well with her mother-in-law (Fruzetti 1982, 101-102). The workload of a joint family is heavy, and the division of labor and resources is fraught with potential conflict. Though many mother-in-law/daughter-in-law pairs have close relationships, the structures of power within a joint family put stress on this relationship, as these two women also compete for resources and the attentions of their primary advocate in the family: the son/husband.*° The fear that one’s husband might side with his parents or brothers lurks whenever there are conflicts between a woman and her in-laws. Therefore it is in a wife’s

best interests to bind her husband’s affections to her while simultaneously pleasing her mother-in-law. In my experience, when some Jain women wanted to praise their relationships with their marital home, they often did so by praising their mothers-in-law. These descriptions can be divided into those which stress the mother-in-law’s affection for her son’s wife: “she treats me as a daughter” and “she’s a second mother”; and those which indicate that the mother-in-law is encouraging a close relationship between her son and his wife: “she tells my husband to take me out” and “she makes me go to events and she stays home to do the work.” Describing marital happiness through the mother-in-law is both a reflection of the politics of joint family life and a response to the assumptions based on the discourse of Indian families, which posits that all mothers-in-law are unkind to new daughters-in-law. It is also a socially acceptable way to describe the growing closeness to one’s husband without discussing any of the developing intimacy between

husband and wife in public. More intimate discussions occur between new brides and their mothers, sisters, sisters-in-law, and girlfriends, but usually in one-on-one or in small group settings. New brides often vehemently defend their


new mother-in-law, even if that defense weakens when the “honeymoon” period is over and the mother-in-law begins to expect the daughter-in-law to participate in household labor. Even later complaints were often targeted at the wives of the husband's brothers (jethani/devrani) rather than at mothers-in-law, possibly to avert any suggestion that the wife is at fault by not being properly obedient to her mother-in-law. Daughters wish to integrate their marital lives with their natal

homes and strive for links between the two; a daughter’s happiness in her marital home opens possibilities for further social (and economic) connections between the two families, while strife demands a response from her natal family, which may sour future relations, making it harder for the woman to move freely between her two homes.”’

Jain sati narratives participate fully in reproducing the South Asian folktale trope of mother-in-law/daughter-in-law conflict. However complex the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship may be in lived experience, many

Jain narratives indicate marital unhappiness through the unproblematized sign of the cruel and distrusting mother-in-law and marital happiness through the conversion of the mother-in-law to the daughter-in-law’s position or the mother-in-law’s admission of the errors of her past ways. Subhadra’s story

centers around her problems with her mother-in-law, and Afijana’s story, which appears to be mostly about marital relations, has her mother-in-law act

as the prime instigator of her banishment. Subhadra and Afjana are both finally fully integrated into their marital homes when their mothers-in-law recognize their errors and ask for forgiveness.

Strategic Piety in Jainism Strategic piety can be an effective tool for women to use to assert their moral virtue and, sometimes, moral superiority. This is not to argue that all piety is strategic, or that strategic piety is a cynical act by an irreligious woman, but rather than there are strategic uses of piety by women who are already identifed as religious. Similarly, strategic piety may be deployed by women in ways that assist them sociopolitically, not that they are necessarily deployed in the

name of that self-interest or in self-interest alone (after de Certeau 2002). Strategic piety can span acts as disparate as a woman taking ordination to effect a permanent break from her husband’s family to a woman's increased religious practice to create a more pious self. When the expectation of wifely obedience comes into conflict with religion, Jain narratives clearly tell the wife

to stick to her religion and bring her husband around. Mahmood (2005, 177-180) describes how one Muslim wife used devout prayer and blessings


to keep her husband from prohibiting her participation in the women’s mosque movement, drawing attention to the limits of seeing piety as a form of either compliance or resistance to male control. Orsi (1996, 204-207) found that immigrant Catholic women used prayer and public worship of St. Jude (of “Hopeless Causes”) to remedy personal crises, but that at the same time this piety served to indicate the level of a woman's despair, her attempts to control the situation, and her intention to publicly acknowledge the “hopelessness” of her experience in a community where silence on marital problems was expected. Jain women, likewise, engage in kinds of Jain piety that grant them a particular kind of social power, but the power of their piety resides in its support of their ability to perform the acts of good wives. However, a good reputation also grants the woman a more generalized social power in the sphere of community opinion. One’s social position in the Jain community is predicated on a complex interconnected relationship between status and virtue; a virtuous wife is an asset in Jain communities, but the rejection or abuse of a virtuous wife can damage a family’s reputation. Similarly, though women need familial approval for taking vows to perform fasts that take them out of the house for long periods of time, other practices were done by oneself. In my observation, women were not criticized by their husbands for being religious, even if that religiosity may diminish her attention to her other wifely duties, because it is part of the duty of wives to be religious. While both Subhadra and Afijana take ordination at the ends of their stories, the discourse of renunciation is not important in the narratives as told, which focus on marriage, virtue, and its challenges, nor is ordination suggested as the remedy for the women’s problems. Ordination most often appears as a kind of inevitable coda in which the woman takes ordination and achieves enlightenment—a Jain liberation-directed ideological gloss on the ideal life and a kind of “happily ever after.” However, these ordinations can also be read as a reminder to women that ordination is a virtuous possibility and, perhaps, a method of opting out of bad situations. Sati narratives rarely suggest that a sati acts to escape her marriage or husband or even, for that matter, to benefit herself; often the merit of acts is channeled toward the husband or the greater good of Jainism. And yet

there are significant exceptions in the Jain telling of the Ramayana; Sita renounces without making any attempt to convince Ram to renounce (Sulasa Candanabala 1987, 61-62), making a choice that has the full sanction of a Jain mendicant (Jain Ramayan 1989, 1045-1066).”° In 1994, there was an ordination in the suburbs of Pune of a middle-aged married woman whose husband was alive. At the time, laywomen discussed the ordination with great interest. Initially women spoke of how fortunate the woman was that her husband was allowing her to pursue her ambition of being


a nun. A few women mentioned that the woman was unable to bear children and therefore had no other obligations within the household. Later that month, women said that she was escaping a bad marriage. Reynell, too, reports of three

women from her sample who used nunhood to escape marriage (Reynell 1985a, 269-271). The first took ordination after twenty years of a childless and unhappy marriage. The second took ordination after a mere three years of marriage, admitting that she had been unable to have children and her in-laws had mistreated her. In the third example, the woman took ordination in her mid-thirties, leaving behind young children, and although her family was very religious, she showed a “marked lack of dedication” to being a nun (Reynell 1985a, 271). Her lack of interest and the presence of children suggest she was escaping marriage. In Shanta’s account of the life stories of nuns, two out of seven indicated that they took ordination after being married (Shanta 1997, 571-629). The Sthandnga Siitra (355/157) lists acceptable reasons why one might take Jain renunciation, including “in order to achieve a separation or divorce (vihagagaipavvayja, H. viyoga),” though this ranked lower than reasons that focus on spirituality.°? Fohr writes that it is relatively rare for a married woman to leave her husband and take ordination, especially if she has children. She reports that when this happens there is speculation about whether this is being done to escape a bad marriage, and that these nuns are less respected (Fohr 2001, 161). Thus for a woman who wishes to escape a marriage, renunciation is a viable but not especially attractive option, unless that woman is already very religious.*” But we must be careful about attributing too many women’s ordinations to a sort of de facto divorce. More likely, those women who are very religious and who find their marriages unsatisfactory find in ordination an answer to a seemingly insolvable problem. In most cases, however, a woman chooses to remain married and use her religious practices to improve her own reputation and the reputation of her

family, and thereby improve her situation. If a family has a good moral reputation, then the assumption is that the women in the family are moral and, if a woman in the family acts immorally, then the morality of the whole family is called into question.*' Conversely, if the family is seen as less moral, but one woman acts in especially moral ways, then the reputation of the family may be improved. In other words, it is considerably easier for a woman to ruin her family’s reputation than to improve it. Because of the downward tension in

the model, enormous concern is placed on the public acts and virtues of women. Grand fasts work karmically to reduce karma, but because the larger fasts also have public fast-breaking ceremonies, they publicly attest to a woman’s virtue in a grand ceremony (Kelting 2006b, 197; Laidlaw 1995, 356-358; Reynell 1991, 64) and may therefore improve the reputation of her husband’s


family, and she may, in turn, be rewarded by gaining more access to religious

activities and a release from some of her household duties. In Jain sati narratives, the sati’s virtue is likewise tested publicly and she succeeds; this then has the dual effect of proving her virtue and of illuminating the greatness of Jainism. This trope is common, of course, in Hindu narratives as well, but the public tests of the satis are more closely mirrored by the public performance and representation of contemporary Jain women’s fasting than the more private and domestic fasts of Hindu women. In both the Subhadra and Afjana stories, the sati uses her religiosity to prove her virtue against these accusations and is ultimately rewarded both by her in-laws and by the general public, who praise her virtue and ask for forgiveness. Jain laywomen likewise use religious behavior to prove their virtue publicly. Jain

consensus suggests a belief that public statements of religion indicate inner virtue (Kelting 2009b; Laidlaw 1995, 146; Reynell 1991, 63-65). Jain women negotiate public virtue in ways that hinge on this belief, using religious acts as a kind of strategic piety. One young unmarried Jain woman whose behavior had brought a whiff of scandal proceeded to spend the next year or so performing public fasts and rituals, and soon she was spoken of as one of the most virtuous

young woman in her neighborhood and the scandal was forgotten, not even arising during that young woman's marriage arrangements. At the same time as the young woman was performing all of her public rituals, privately she was given many sati narratives to read in what seemed like a bald attempt to create in the young woman an obedience to the expectations of Jain women. In another

case, the marriage arrangements of a young woman were taking so long that people were beginning to speculate whether there might be some scandal involved. When these rumors reached her family, she was encouraged to perform public religious acts in order to quell any comments about her virtue, and she was eventually married to a good family. These strategies both worked because of the powerful link for Jains between public ritual and private virtue. In both cases the families were considered quite respectable. Of course, that notion of respectability was drawn in part from these families’ public participation in Jain ritual life. Reynell likewise found that two older unmarried women

were encouraged to attend public rituals in order to protect their reputations (Reynell 1991, 63). Though most Jains are aware that religion might be used in these kinds of strategic ways, there is also a sense—though it would not be put this boldly—that the truly wayward would not be able or willing to perform these religious acts. This is especially true for fasting, which is seen as too difficult for many and impossible for those who are not virtuous.

After marriage, piety continues to be used strategically in order to gain power through the public sense of a woman as virtuous. One new bride I knew


whose status in her marital family was weak and who was targeted for private and some public verbal abuse, decided—on the advice of her aunt—to “become religious” (dharmik ban jao) in order to publicly garner support for her claims of unjust treatment.** All of these women described above performed Jain worship on occasion or regularly, but crises in their status vis-a-vis marriage led them to use religious practices strategically to protect themselves in the eyes of the public and their marital families, while they also hoped that the increase in religious practice would—through accrual of merit—also actually remedy the problems themselves.** Contemporary Jain women creatively integrate the sociopolitics of strategic piety with their beliefs in the efficacy of their rituals. Sati narratives tell us of deceit in marriage arrangements, poorly arranged marriages to inappropriate families, religious differences, rejection by the husband, childlessness, accusations of shamelessness, and conflicts with inlaws. In each story, the sati uses piety strategically and is ultimately victorious and rewarded for her virtue. The rewards usually center around a resolution of the marital problems with which the sati is faced. Jain satis are able to parlay

their virtue into marital happiness and at the same time work toward the benefit of their husband’s lineage—often by converting the family to Jainism or teaching them new rituals that lead to worldly and spiritual benefits for them—and working toward their own spiritual benefit. What remains unexplored are the mechanisms by which sati narratives and their associated rituals are used creatively in the complex context of real life marriages. How do these

narratives enter the ritual lives of women? Why do rituals related to sati narratives work so powerfully? How is it that they are so instrumental not merely in accruing merit generally but also in preventing or solving the particular problems of married life? How might the stories act as models for both rituals and identity? It is to the ways that sati narratives are linked to particular rituals and why those rituals work powerfully for Jain wives that we will now turn.

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The Perfect Marriage

Mayndsundari, the wife of King Sripal, is the paradigmatic wife of the Svetambar Mirtipajak Jain sati tradition.’ She is the women with whom laywomen I interviewed most often ritually identified; Maynasundari was what most of them wish to be: a happily married, religious, virtuous wife. Laywomen encounter Sripal and Maynasundari in ubiquitous narratives (medieval epic poetry, puranic-style retellings, medieval and modern hymns, contemporary novel forms, oral retellings, dramatic reenactments, audio cassettes, video dramas) and in rituals associated with the siddhacakra and the Ayambil Oli fast.* The narratives codify a paradigmatic model for virtuous wifely behavior, and the rituals extend the promise of making the paradigm actual through ritual identification: in the Ayambil Oli fast women embody Maynasundari enacting her fast, and in the Siddhacakra paja, couples “become” Maynasundari and Sripal, the paradigmatic sponsors of siddhacakra worship. In both, lay Jains accrue merit, but women especially invoke the power of religiomagic practices to create a happy marriage and to display that marriage’s virtue publicly.

Women consistently identified the ideal (adars) marriage with companionate marriage based in mutual respect and unity like that of Maynasundari and Sripal. In order for companionate marriage to be the ideal, the wife must come to the marriage with expertise, wisdom, and virtue; in essence, the perfect wife for the ideal marriage is the


dharmapatni (religious or dutiful wife). Mayna’s religious knowledge and virtue

render her a dharmapatni, proving her worthiness to be a contributor in a marriage based on mutuality. Sripal himself follows Mayna’s lead in worship-

ing the siddhacakra and achieves greatness. The two together exemplify a mutuality, which achieves well-being for their family and the status of a publicly religious couple. This goes beyond being a dedicated wife (pativrata), which is certainly good enough for a wife in a regular marriage. In the ideal marriage, the wife has an active role as the teacher of religion and model of virtue to be imitated rather than merely lauded. An ideal husband listens and learns and then imitates her good acts, and in doing so benefits himself and his family. Thus the ideal couple works together, especially in the area of religion.

It is one in which the strength of their companionate affection has the full approval of her mother-in-law, precisely because it is firmly rooted in religious virtue.

In the ritual culture of contemporary Jainism, women strive to reproduce this ideal marriage both by taking vows and performing worship that promise this result and by trying to serve as a dharmapatni, encouraging their husbands to perform rituals—especially those associated with these vows—alongside them. When a couple performs the large-scale ceremonies associated with the siddhacakra, they position themselves as the ideal Jain couple. The links between the story, fasting, and worship rituals give Jains a way to invoke, create, and reenact that ideal.

The Story of Sripal and Maynasundari

The story of Sripal and Maynadsundari is widely known from the Sripal Raja no Ras, the version written by Vinayavijay and YaSovijay in 1682, which was in most families’ book collection.? The required study of this epic poem—as far as I know, always the Vinayvijay and YaSovijay version—as part of the Ayambil Oli and links between the Ayambil Oli and the Siddhacakra ptjas accounts for much of the popularity of the story. Though less commonly performed, the Siddhacakra mahapija is the puja sine qua non associated with the Sripal and Maynasundari’s ritual cluster and its efficacy. The story itself is a moral adventure tale considered both efficacious and entertaining. I will give the narrative as told to me by one senior Jain laywoman on two days (24 October and 28 October 2001) during the 2001 fall season Ayambil Oli. This telling was based on that woman’s earlier study of the Sripal Raja no Rds when she herself performed the Navpad Oli fast.



Long ago in Ujjain, there were two sisters, Maynasundari and Sursundari. They were the daughters of the two wives of King Prajapal of Ujjain. Maynasundari was raised as a Jain, and Sursundari was raised as a Hindu. When it was time for them to get married, King Prajapal arranged a self-choice marriage for his daughters.* Sursundari chose a husband according to her taste and her father’s wishes, but Maynasundari refused. She gave her father a lecture on how she would be married to the husband that fate and karma determined. Her father got angry and decided to prove that he—not fate and karma—would determine her destiny. Earlier, Queen Kamalprabha and her son Sripal were driven from their palace in Campa city by a coup that killed the king, Ajitsen. Queen Kamalprabha and prince Sripal found refuge hiding among a community of seven hundred lepers. Sripal himself contracted leprosy, and the lepers then named him king of the lepers. Sripal’s mother, as a Jain laywoman, had consulted with a Jain monk who assured her that her son would have a religious wife (dharma patni) and that his leprosy would go away. Soon after Mayndsundari’s refusal to choose a groom, Sripal and the seven hundred lepers arrived at Ujjain. The king invited Sripal, king of the lepers, to the palace and offered him Maynasundari in marriage. Sripal said: “You should not marry such a beautiful girl to someone like me.” But the king said: “No, she said her karma will determine her fate, so she will marry you.” Thus Sripal and Maynasundari were married. Maynasundari’s mother was so upset that she left her husband and returned to her brother’s house. In her last conversation with Maynasundari, she told her to never give up her religion. Maynasundari insisted on joining Sripal in the jungle with the lepers, rather than staying at home in a safe palace. People began to disrespect Jainism; after all, it led Maynasundari to disrespect her father and to be married to a leper. After their wedding, Maynasundari insisted that they perform worship to an image of Adinath, the first Jina, and get the blessing of a Jain monk. When she did worship (pija), a flower fell from the image into the folds of her sari.’ After their worship they went to seek the blessing of Municandraji.° Maynasundari told the monk: “People are saying bad things about Jainism because of my marriage [to a leper].”


Maynasundari asked the monk what she could do to help people understand the truth about Jainism, and asked for a mantra. The monk told Maynasundari to recite the Navkar mantra and to perform the “nine times nine” ayambil fasts: for nine days, twice a year, for four and a half years. “At the end of this fast,” he said, “you will see that your husband is a prince.” Sripal and Maynasundari together performed this series of fasts—thereafter called the Navpad Oli fast. Sripal was cured of leprosy, and he was revealed to be not merely the king of the lepers but the prince Sripal, son of Ajitsen. The water left over from their worship was then used to cure all the other seven hundred lepers. After everyone was healed, Sripal and Maynasundari returned to his mother and touched her feet. Srip4l’s mother was thrilled to see her son healthy again and to meet her lovely and auspicious daughterin-law. Then Maynasundari’s mother arrived and, not recognizing her now-healthy son-in-law, wept, ashamed that Maynasundari had shamelessly taken a new husband. After Maynasundari’s mother realized it really was Sripal, Sripal’s mother told Maynasundari’s mother the story of how Sripal had come to be a leper. Maynasundari’s mother insisted that they teach Mayna’s father that he had been wrong to fault Jainism by showing him what great husband Sripal turned out to be! Maynasundari then went to live in her uncle’s house (mamanu ghar) with her mother-in-law, who loved her like a daughter, and Sripal sailed to another country to make his fortune. While Sripal was traveling, he was kidnapped by a merchant who needed to offer a human sacrifice in order to propitiate the goddess who was preventing his ship from sailing out to the ocean. Sripal convinced the merchant to let him try reciting the Navkar mantra instead, and it worked. The merchant let Sripal go and rewarded him with half of his fleet. Sripal built a temple to celebrate his release and good fortune. With the aid of the Navkar mantra and his worship of the siddhacakra, Sripal was able to achieve great wealth, and both he and Maynasundari had good health and happiness. They remained devoted to Jainism, and after eight happy lives as a married couple, Sripal and Maynasundari reached liberation. With the exception of a monk’s sermons during the Ayambil Oli festival, this version of the story included many more details than most of the oral tellings I collected. (The narrator herself had performed the Navpad Oli ptja and was


particularly attached to the story of Maynd and Sripal.) Likewise, most other oral tellings did not include any episodes from Sripal’s life after he was healed. The laywoman’s focus on that particular episode from Sripal’s later adventures was surely connected to the widespread belief that the temple Srip4l built after the episode of the wind goddess was in Thane, near Bombay. It is thought that a temple in Thane, whose interior walls are covered with bas-relief panels narrating Sripal and Maynasundari’s story, is in fact that same temple. It is very likely that my interest in the temple prompted this teller to insert that episode as a coda. In October 2001, during the Ayambil Oli (24 October-1 November), when

the elderly laywoman told me her version above, the resident Jain monk Devguptavijayji also told the story of Sripal and Maynasundari. Devguptavijayjl’s version was very similar, but in his version Maynasundari—not a monk—

convinces Sripal to perform the Ayambil Oli with her; he also continued the story with several episodes from Sripal’s wanderings in his sermons on the

latter four days of the festival. Each episode focused on how the Navkar mantra and the siddhacakra miraculously saved Sripal. Laidlaw recounts the story as told by a Khartar Gaccha nun during the Ayambil Oli, which follows the same more abbreviated form as the version given above, but without any episodes of Sripal’s adventures (Laidlaw 1995, 226). The version given in a

monk’s sermon and reported by Cort (2001b, 162-163) also ends with the miraculous healing of Sripal and the seven hundred lepers. Despite the extended focus in the Sripal Raja no Rds on Sripal’s adventures after his marriage and the use of these later stories by monks to fill out the nine days of sermons during the Ayambil Oli festival, virtually all other tellings of this very popular story ended with the miraculous disappearance of Sripal’s leprosy.’ The story, then, centers around Mayna’s piety, her teaching Sripal about religion, and her performance of the worship that leads to his being healed. In most tellings, it is clear that Mayna’s virtue and knowledge—not Sripal’s—are at the center of the story. One Jain couple I know bought a VCD, Maindsundari: Jain Katha (2004), while on pilgrimage in 2004 to a Jain temple near Ujjain, the city of Mayna’s birth. The VCD was quite popular and was passed from house to house before it was given to me. Parallel with most versions, the video begins with the king offering his daughters the choice of their husbands and ends with the curing of Sripal and the lepers of leprosy. The video emphasizes two narrative moments

with intensified pathos: one, when Mayna’s father marries her to Sripal, and two, when Sripal later tells Mayna to leave him before she catches leprosy. In both cases, Mayna gives a short speech on wifehood, stressing the importance of staying with Sripal in happiness and in sorrow and how it is her duty


to serve him. In the second scene, when Sripal insists that she leave him, Mayna explains that she has nowhere else to go because, she says, “a wife has

no home but that of her husband”—a trope made realistic by the manner in which her father casts her out of her childhood home. After Sripal agrees that she can stay, she tells him that they must go on pilgrimage to worship the siddhacakra yantra. As in most oral tellings, it is Mayna, without any instruction from a monk, who determines the correct ritual. After she worships the siddhacakra (alone) she brings the blessed bathing water (praksal) down from the mountain and sprinkles it all over Sripal and the lepers, healing them instantly. It is clear that in the video, Mayna does this worship knowing full well that the praksal will heal her husband and the lepers. Sripal gives a short speech praising Mayna as a wife, which ends with his saying that he “comes to her door to worship her,” suggesting that it is Mayna whose virtue is exemplary and worthy of veneration. Although Mayna spends a good deal of time telling

Sripal that as his wife she should worship him, throughout the video she is represented as brave, knowledgeable, virtuous, and authoritative—in essence, a dharmapatni—a person worthy of veneration. Although Vinayvijay and Yagovijay’s Sripal Raja no Ras is the authoritative

version among these Jains, oral and other written versions of the story share a form that differs from their version in a few significant ways. Most important to our discussion, most versions of the Sripal and Mayndsundari story center around Maynasundari as the heroine. It is her knowledge of Jainism and the proper rituals which lead to Sripal’s cure and their happiness and prosperity. Even when tellings included Maynasundari learning the worship from the monk, the tellers are clear that it is Maynasundari’s correct knowledge and ritual practice that leads them to that monk. Because these tellings of the story

center on Maynasundari, most versions begin with her argument with her father and end when she heals the lepers; the many adventures of Sripal are not included, and the climax of the story is the miraculous healing as a result of Mayna’s piety and fasting. With Maynasundari foregrounded, one can read this story as the story of the perfect wife.

Maynasundari as the Ideal Wife This story provides us with several key episodes that serve as normative models of wifely virtue. To begin with, Mayna is understood to manifest all the virtues of a devoted wife (pativratda). In line with mainstream western Indian values of pativrata discussed in chapter 1, the Sripal and Mayndsundari story tells us that a good wife is faithful to her husband regardless of his flaws (leprosy), that she


performs any and all rites that may protect or assist her husband in his ambitions, and that she performs this job (preferably with the help of her mother-in-law), despite his long absences and—though this detail was never

included in any oral tellings or sermons—his subsequent marriages to Mayna’s co-wives in the Sripal Raja no Rds.® We have seen in chapter 2 that

one important way in which women protect their husbands is to make sure that they perform the correct rituals, which in a Jain context, leads to merit from the ritual accruing to the husband. Maynasundari is the paragon of

this strategy within Svetambar Jain ritual and narrative traditions. Her husband performs, because of her influence, worship of the siddhacakra and is rewarded enormously. His mother is likewise blessed by the ritual knowledge, and also by the care she receives from Maynasundari as a widowed mother-in-law whose son is abroad. Maynasundari extends the protection

of her natal family (through her uncle—mama) to her mother-in-law while also tending to her every need. She is the perfectly devoted wife and daughter-in-law.

The stories depict Maynasundari as considerably more than devoted: they offer her as an ideal, the dharmapatni. Maynasundari’s virtue begins in her

childhood. Before she is married, she is devoutly Jain. Her fidelity to her religious beliefs and the philosophical views she has studied put her in direct conflict with her father. Vimalvijay’s sixteenth-century Mayndsundarini Sajjhay (also called the Navpadni Sajjhay) is performed as part of the nightly confession during the Ayambil Oli festival.” The story of Mayndsundari and her sister, Sursundari, is told in a way that juxtaposes Mayna’s knowledge of Jain philosophy (and therefore correct knowledge) with the incorrect knowledge of both

her sister and her father, setting up the foundation for portraying her as a dharmapatni later in the narrative. O Mother Sarasvati, give me the pleasures of speech. So I may sing of Maynasundarisati, bring the correct sentiment to my heart. Keep the Navkar in your heart, and your heart will be filled with joy. Maynasundari and Sripal received the bounty of their fruitful religion. In Malay, in the city of Ujjain, there ruled a king, Prthvipal, lord of the people. The king had two delights, his matchless wives, These wombs gave birth to the pair: Sursundari and Mayna. Sursundari went to the pandit, learned his science and was turned toward falsehood,


Maynasundari learned the meaning of Jain philosophy and adopted the correct views.’” The king said: “Dear daughters, Iam bent with age, ask me for your heart’s desire and I will give it to you.” Sursundari asked for a husband and to be married at an auspicious time and place; Maynasundari pronounced: “As my karma wills it, so it will be.” [Her father replied] “Your karma has come to fruition, you will marry this kind of husband, daughter; Hold fast to your philosophy and marry this leper.” She undertook the Ayambil fast and removed all forms of leprosy, She, who had the best knowledge, was the true teacher of King Sripal.

Jain Sajhaymala 1986, 333

Maynasundari’s conflict with her father in the tellings of the story fits neatly into a genre of South Asian tales about daughters who preach to their fathers. "’ More significant to our discussion is the manner in which Mayna’s disobedience shows the reader that she is well versed in Jain philosophy and that her position is correct. It ends with an idealized statement about the religious wife (dharmapatni)

who, having correct knowledge, is best suited to teach her husband; Maynasundart is the “true teacher of King Sripal.” It is through her instruction,

the sajjhay insists, that Sripal becomes the model layman. In Navpadna Upasako, a question-and-answer-style manual for understanding the Navpadji and the story of Mayna and Sripal, the author writes that Sripal knew nothing of the true knowledge (tattva-jnan) and had not even reached the stage of right views (samyak-darsan—the marker of basic Jain identity) before he married Mayna (Navpadna Updsako 1998, 39-40). Sripal, it continues, learned all this

by listening to his wife. Mayna is a dharmapatni—the moral and religious instructor for her husband—and Sripal wisely accepts her authority. After their marriage Sripal follows Maynasundari’s guidance in matters of religious practice, much to his great benefit. Throughout the story Maynasundar'’s piety is not challenged by Sripal. The fact that Sripal accepts her advice readily circumvents the kinds of challenges for a good Jain and a good wife that we saw in chapter 3 in the narrative of Subhadra and others who choose fidelity to religion over obedience to their husbands when they experience a conflict between the values of the marital homes and their own religious beliefs.

In this sense, the ideal Jain layman is a student of his wife in religious matters. Within Hindu discourse, we find many stories in which wives teach


their husbands the error of their ways, but in most of these stories the husband must be convinced by misfortune or cunning of the value of his wife’s religious knowledge. Gold (Gold 2000, 222-223) tells one story of Mother Ten (Dasa

Mata) who is identified with Laksmi and whose worship falls in the spring festival cluster following Holi. In this story, a king destroys the Dasa Mata string (a knotted white string worn by those who complete the Dasa Mata fast) which his wife wears instead of her gold and silver jewelry, and he shows no respect for his wife’s concerns about insulting Dasa Mata. Great misfortune

befalls the king; finally, he accepts his wife’s lecture on the importance of the Dasa Mata string and submits to his wife’s order to get supplies for the worship. Elsewhere Gold (1995b, 43'7) writes that the Mother Ten stories posit that success arises out of both grace of the goddess and cunning of the wife. Harlan (1992, 158-163) writes about contexts in which the Rajput women

with whom she did her research understood there to be a conflict between obedience to husband and the duty to protect the husband and his lineage. Rajput women’s stories often tell of women who shame their husbands into doing their duty as warriors. This disobedience is only acceptable because it both supports the husband’s duty and is contextualized within that same pativrata’s devotion to her husband, which proves her good intention (Harlan 1992, 168). Hindu satimata stories include restrictions that must be obeyed by

the husband’s lineage, many of which are “tailored to ensure that men will learn their responsibilities as men” (Harlan 1992, 158). In all of these stories, the women do know their duty and they are capable of asserting a kind of limited authority over their husbands. Gold (2000, 223) adds: “husbands who deny or suspect their wives’ religious knowledge and practices are fools who will eventually learn the hard way to know and act better.” Many of the narrative trajectories follow the same path: a husband fails to recognize his wife’s ritual

knowledge, calamity ensues, the husband comes to his senses, the wife instructs her husband, disaster is narrowly averted. Hindu women’s domestic manuals, all written by men, instruct women

to be obedient even if her husband is asking her to perform an act that would otherwise be unlawful or socially unacceptable (Leslie 1989, 324). Leslie discusses the loci of authority in Tryambakayajvan’s late-seventeenth- to early-eighteenth-century women’s manual, Stridharmapaddhati: for men, authori-

ty lies with their fathers, their mothers, and their teachers; and for women, the authority resides with their fathers-in-law, their mothers-in-law, and their husbands (Leslie 1989, 157, 322-323). The text makes it clear, however, that parents and parents-in-law come before teachers and husbands. In her study of nineteenth-century domestic manuals written for the middle-class Bengali elite, Walsh (2004) found that although the manuals encourage


women to learn modernity through the global discourse of domesticity, they argue that domesticity should be learned from one’s husband. Prior to these manuals—and outside middle-class urban elites—women were expected to learn the rites and practices of wifehood from elder natal and then affinal women.'~ The seemingly reformist language that gives women recourse from the power of mothers-in-law grants all knowledge and authority to a woman's husband instead (Walsh, 2004, 63-68, 105-111).'* In each case, however, the wife is the one who learns and who submits unquestioningly to the authority of her husband and/or his family. Maynasundar1'’s story differs from Hindu fasting stories, nineteenth-century domestic manuals, and from most Jain sati narratives in one key way that Jain women repeatedly pointed out to me: that is, that her husband Sripal believed her immediately, and by following her religious advice he achieved health and prosperity. Not only does her husband follow along, but his mother also sees the value of Maynasundari’s knowledge and likewise joins her. The acceptance of Mayna’s religious authority by Sripal makes their marriage mutual and blessed; Jain laywomen described the ideal marriage to me, in

part, as one in which the husband defers to his wife’s religious expertise and joins her in performing religious acts, granting her power in an important sphere of domestic life. In my observations, when men wanted to diminish their wives’ authority, they denigrated religious rituals; interestingly, they did not discuss their wives’ inability to understand business, finance, or politics (areas under male control) but set about eroding the value of the expertise their wives do have.’* In this context, Sripal’s unquestioning acceptance of

Mayna’s religious expertise and his continued commitment to Jain rituals srant Mayna’s authority in the domestic sphere—in a kind of equality with his financial acumen. Since much of Sripal’s financial success derives from his

worship of the siddhacakra and recitation of the Navkar mantra—both of which he learned from Mayna—one could attribute the worldly success of the couple to her religiosity in general. This was a common belief among contemporary Jains; women (and also men, though to a lesser degree) attributed good fortune to the meritorious acts of their family’s women.’° The Sripal and Maynasundari story provides a counternarrative to wifely obedience and silence; granted the story’s premise involves an ideal wife—a premise that could give contemporary Jain husbands a loophole through which they could escape deference to their wife’s religious expertise—the fact remains of the possibility of one’s wife being a Mayna, a dharmapatni, and that the path to success lies in following her lead. During the 2001 Fall Oli festival, Devguptavijayji, who was resident in Shivajinagar for the rainy season, gave a series of nine sermons—one for each


day of the festival—which focused on the Ayambil Oli fast and the story of Sripal and Maynasundari. On 26 October 2001, the fourth day of the Oli festival, Devguptavijayji expanded on this theme of the religious and perfect wife. He dramatized a dialogue between Sripal and a monk (using his vocal inflection to distinguish between the two): [SRIPAL SAID:] Dharmapatni, dharmapatni, dharmapatni! Tell me brother, tell me, what is a dharmapatni? What’s a dharmapatni> [THE MONK SAID:] What did you say? A dharmapatni is the kind of wife you

have in your home (dharmapatni teri gharma patni). Dharmapatni. Dharmapatni. Dharmapatni is a dutiful/religious (dharma) wite (patni). She follows her duty (dharma), but after that she does more. In her religious duties, she does more than is required. That’s what she is. [SRIPAL SAID:] What does that mean?

[THE MONK SAID:] About religious knowledge, about devotion, she knows

everything, and more. Son, there is much to gain from learning all that a dharmapatni knows. In his sermon, Devguptavijayji proceeded to localize the narrative by naming women in the room as dharmapatnis; he named a few of the most pious and devoted women in the congregation, and the crowd nodded. The husband of one woman skeptically looked up at Devguptavijayji, and the monk told him that he should listen to his wife on matters of religion. The sermon continued focusing on the benefits of having a dharmapatni and how, after the conversation with the monk, Sripal listened to Mayna, his dharmapatni, and because he listened he was healed and gained good fortune and prosperity. Later that fall, during an auction related to Devguptavijayjis twentieth anniversary as a monk, he referred to a women who was bidding heavily in the auctions as Maynasundari.'° Ina brief essay on the nature of dharmapatnis in a contemporary lay manual, Tapa Gacch monk Ratnasenavijayji expounds on the proper wife for a Jain layman. Addressing Jain laymen, he writes: “A religious woman will raise your children correctly and encourages her husband to perform Jain rituals beside her. If you have the misfortune to marry a woman who is not of your religion, have her

worship with you. But only a woman who is a pious Jain may be called a dharmapatni. In history dharmapatnis have led lives of austerity and restraint and nowadays you may still meet such a woman’ (Cintanmoti 2002, 48). To marry any woman who is not already a religious Jain is to suffer misfortune that can only be partly overcome through the non-Jain wife’s compliance. It is not enough for a wife to perform the rituals properly, ideally she must be an instigator


and educator of Jain piety. Throughout Ratnasenavijayji’s description, he is clear that dharmapatnis still exist, that a Jain layman should strive to marry such a woman, and that having married her he should listen to her.

Ayambil Oli Fasts: Making a Happy Marriage

Religiously minded contemporary Jain women often overtly emulated Maynasundari and positioned themselves as dharmapatnis. These women not only performed the Ayambil Oli but also cajoled their husbands into performing the Navpad puja and sometimes even fasting alongside them. Three husbands I know independently referred to their wives as dharmapatnis who made the husband’s lineage more religious and orthoprax. Unsurprisingly, it was even more common for men to describe their mothers as dharmapatnis to their fathers. When a woman brings religious knowledge to a family, it was always described as a virtue.'” In the context of wifehood and child

rearing, the dharmapatni becomes the moral compass of the home. Jain laywomen’s efforts to emulate Mayna are clustered around their performance of the Oli fasts (Ayambil or Navpad) as a strategy to create a happy marriage and siddhacakra worship (daily, Navpadji puja, or Siddhacakra mahapwja) as the locus for maintaining and displaying that happiness. In chapter 2 we saw that fasts—like the Rohini fast—are part of how women protect their husbands and therefore their own well-being, and in chapter 3 we

saw that Jain piety is credited with creating marital happiness. The Navpad Oli fast is a key fast women named as fortifying their saubhagya, but also contributing to familial prosperity (the fast causes the return of Sripal’s noble identity and status) and marital happiness (Sripal respects Mayna’s ritual knowledge and she begins married life with a grateful mother-in-law).

Though the earliest narratives suggest that Mayna and Sripal performed

the fast together, most of the contemporary published versions and all of the oral tellings had Mayna performing the fast on Sripal’s behalf. The Mayndasundarini Sajhay (given above) ends with the couplet:

She undertook the Ayambil fast and removed all forms of leprosy, She, who had the best knowledge, was the true teacher of King Sripal.

Jain Sajhaymala 1986, 333 Likewise, in the daily liturgical texts associated with the Navpad Oli fast found

in the fasting manual for that fast, we find a concluding verse that credits Mayna’s worship with all of Sripal’s success.


Mayna recited the Navkar and worshiped the Navpad, and Sripal slowed. His sickness gone, he obtained equanimity, and in his ninth birth he will achieve liberation. Navpad Olini Vidhi 1995, 24 The shift toward Mayna performing the rituals on Sripal’s behalf is, of course, a

source of authorization for women who wish to do the same for their husbands. In most versions of the story, Mayna completes the fast and Sripal is healed. There is no exact description of how this healing is affected, but there is a special note that the blessed bathing water is used to heal the seven hundred lepers. In the Mainasundari VCD, Sripal is completely uninvolved in Mayna’s worship of the siddhacakra—he claims no knowledge of what she is doing and

does not even take darSan of it—and she is able, by sprinkling the blessed bathing water on him, to heal him.'” The act of sprinkling the bathing water allows Mayna to transfer the blessing. In my experience, women only discussed bringing bathing water home in the context of the Santi Snatra puja, where it is used to bless either a house or sick people. For the basic maintenance of a happy marriage, laywomen relied on the efficacy of their fast and the hopes that their husband might join them in the final Navpadji puja. In spite of the problems about acting on behalf of others outlined in chapter 2, women felt

sure that their fasting and worship would benefit their husbands whether or not they were involved, and often cited the story of Maynasundari to justify their claims. Other scholars have found that the story of Maynasundari and Sripal was a key example of direct merit transfer in Svetambar Murtipajak Jain texts and practices (Cort 2003, 141-142; Reynell 1985a, 127).

The Navpad Olini Vidhi can be found in most homes and provides the details of the fast.*° In its simplest sense, the Navpad Oli involves performing nine rounds of the Ayambil Oli (which itself is nine consecutive days of ayambil fasting).** Each of the nine days of the Ayambil Oli is linked to

one of the positions on the siddhacakra yantra.“* There are many ritual injunctions associated with this fast, but most important are those restrictions associated with an ayambil fast. The ayambil fast consists of a single sitting of tasteless food.*? Much of the fast’s austerity (and therefore efficacy) derives from the tasteless food: there was a strong consensus that single-sitting fasts in which one eats ordinary (seasoned) food are considerably easier. The ayambil fast is the fast of choice for longer fasts because the tasteless food brings the fast closer in austerity to a full fast by removing any pleasure in the reduced eating, while the intake of calories means that one can perform longer fasts than are possible with no food.** There are additional suggestions for those


who perform this fast who wish to increase the benefits of the fast through heightened observance, including observing celibacy on fast days. The austerities in this fast are a decrease in food but also a renunciation of the very pleasures that mark a happy marriage. Like other major Jain fasts, the faster is required to perform temple worship (in this case, centered around the siddhacakra), morning and night confession, twice-daily examination of their clothes for bugs and other small creatures, thrice-daily veneration of the twenty-four Jinas, and the veneration of living mendicants. Unique to this fast is the requirement of studying its originary story, the Sripal Raja no Ras. The Sripal Raja no Ras serves as a fasting narrative (vrat katha) for the

Navpad Oli; its study is required, and the narrative itself tells the faster the reasons for, the method of, and the possible results from performing the fast.”° This epic narrative poem is, of course, not included in the pamphlet, but most homes as well as the temple had copies of the poem. In order to complete the reading by the end of the nine days, which is enjoined upon all fasters, many

fasters (and other women who wish to benefit from hearing the story) meet in the afternoon to have the most proficient readers read the text for the group. The time commitment of this requirement and the fact that one would read the whole text nine times before completing the fast makes the link between the story (and Maynasundari) and the present performance (and the faster) much stronger in the minds of those who perform it than in other fasts.

Whereas the Navpad Oli fast was performed virtually exclusively by married women, the instructions address both men and women, indicating both that men are not prohibited from performing this fast—as they are from performing the Rohini fast—and that some men are even expected to perform it. In my observations and also those of Cort (2001b, 162), Laidlaw (1995, 225), and Reynell (1985a, 12'7; 1991, 57), itis unusual for men to perform the Navpad Oli, which reflects both the understanding that long fasts are mostly a women’s

practice and also that the most commonly understood goals of this fast— marital happiness and well-being—are goals under the province of wives. However, occasionally older men will perform ayambil fasts, and women performing the long fast were often able to convince their husbands to perform a single day’s ayambil fast, though rarely any of the attendant practices. The women who did not successfully cajole their husbands into participating—the

majority—assured me that their fast created a happy marriage regardless. Women who successfully cajoled their husband into a single ayambil fast and also into performing the Navpad puja—rather than simply sponsoring it financially—stressed the problem of merit transfer and the need for the husband to actually perform some of the ritual in order to benefit from his wife’s austerities. This participation not only ensures that merit binds to the


husband but also positions the couple as an ideal couple who worship together for the benefit of their marriage, as Sripal and Maynasundari did.

Desired Fruits, Promised Results

At a basic level, the rituals associated with Sripal and Maynasundari are effective because of the power of the Navkar mantra and the siddhacakra yantra—also called the Navpad or Navpadji—in particular and because of the accumulation of merit from performing Jain worship and austerities in general. While the Navpad Olt fast also benefits the performer by decreasing karma, the focus in the siddhacakra ritual complex is on merit making and auspiciousness. There are many tales of the powers of the Navkar mantra, but the power of the siddhacakra yantra is illuminated primarily through the experiences of Sripal and Mayna. When Jains imitate the worship of Sripal and Mayna, they do so with the hopes that they will receive the same kinds of benefits. Thus the efficacious results of this worship and the attendant fast are saubhagya, marital happiness, prosperity, and health—especially protection from skin diseases. Siddhacakra puja and the Ayambil Oli are linked over and over again to the good fortunes of Sripal and Mayndsundari. Whereas other puja texts claim

the efficacy of granting health and well-being, those results arising from worshiping the siddhacakra were the ones most commonly named by contemporary Jains as effective.*°

In its broadest application, the worship of the siddhacakra is said to be powerful in a wide variety of contexts drawn from episodes in Sripal Raja no Ras. In Navpadjt Stavan, performed as part of the Navpad puja liturgy, the powers of the siddhacakra and the results and efficacy of its veneration are given in detail. Keep the Navpad in your heart, and everything will be happy. Remember the Navpad with every breath, all your sorrows will go away.

Love the Navpad with all your heart and the eighteen afflictions will vanish.

Coughs, tuberculosis, and the misery of sickness, none of these will happen to you. Acts of enemies, ocean, fire, dropsy, and fear of imprisonment will vanish. Thieves, cutthroats, witches, and hags, these will all go far away. The childless will have sons, the poor will gain wealth;


Fully free from desire, after meditation, these men will go to liberation. Srimati recited this glorious mantra and turned a snake into a flower garland. Amarkumar, by keeping the Navpad in his soul, obtained the highest joy. Mayna recited the Navkar and worshiped the Navpad, and Sripal slowed.

His sickness gone, he obtained equanimity and in his ninth birth, he will achieve liberation. Enlightened teachers, liberated ones, mendicant leaders, preceptors, mendicants, those of great qualities, Correct views, knowledge, acts and austerities, these are the qualities of the Navpad. Unendingly keep the siddhacakra in the heart, and the speaker will not return [be reborn]. Defeat sorrow and one’s wishes are fulfilled, bow with devotion. Bhavasagar says: “Those who worship the Siddhacakra, Their souls, having experienced its good qualities, will wear the garland of auspiciousness.” Navpad Olini Vidhi 1995, 24

The Navpad is granted the power to destroy many terrible things and to solve several problems of worldly life (childlessness, poverty, sickness). This list

also stands in for a totality of afflictions, which are destroyed through the overarching power of the yantra. In Ratnasekharstri’s (1371 cE) Siddhacakra mahapija liturgy, the opening

descriptions of the worship of the siddhacakra delineate the benefits of the puja, the notable virtue of which is that they adapt themselves to one’s position:””

If one correctly performs the Siddhacakra puja and [Navkar] mantra in front of the [siddhacakra] yantra, one will obtain all the things they desire. From propitiating the siddhacakra, one gains health and wealth. One receives the fortunes of one’s position. Women obtain a sood women’s status, sons obtain good sons’ status. Auspicious wives obtain the goal of auspicious wifehood. Respectable people obtain the respect and honor they desire. Rulers obtain the great kingdoms they desire. If one does the Siddhacakra fast, men gain a prosperous, lovely, fortunate kingdom. By means of the power of the siddhacakra


yantra, dangerous poison, malaria, and bubonic plague are destroyed. Corrupting leprosy and other like diseases, and tuberculosis are quickly calmed down. (Siddhacakra Yantroddhar Brhat Pajanvidhi 1993, 13-15)

In this text, the term “desire” (vancitam; Gujarati gloss, vdncit) is utterly conventional. “One receives the fortunes of one’s position” glosses this efficacy most clearly; it is the conventional ideals of a subject position that this worship

rewards, not, as we commonly understand the term (after Freud) in English,

the psychological desires of an individual person. There is no room here for unconventional desires: a son will not obtain the power to overthrow his father, nor will a wife subvert her virtuous husband, and so on. In a sense, the siddhacakra’s power serves to intensify the natural order and its existing hierarchies. One cannot be, generically, an ideal person; one can only perform,

in an ideal way, the duties of one’s subject position. Seen in this light, the yantra’s generalized healing is also in the service of removing obstacles to self-realization within one’s subject position; Sripal cannot inherit his kingdom until his leprosy is cured and he is recognized. Thus his healing returns him to

the position in which he belongs, and his continued worship of the siddhacakra grants him the fortunes of his correct position. The worship of the siddhacakra, then, works on two levels: one, to ensure that a worshiper is returned to his or her correct subject position, and two, to shower the good fortunes associated with that position on the worshiper. Though this posits a wide array of possible rewards, the connection of the worship with the story of Maynd and Sripal leads the sponsors to perform this worship as couples

in order to create ideal marriages and to reap the rewards of that ideal marriage. In 2008, one young woman’s family sponsored a Siddhacakra ma-

hapuja right after her wedding and invited the newly married couple to perform the worship in the roles of Sripal and Maynadsundari; the parents told me explicitly that the purpose of this puja was to ensure that their daughter would make the transition to wifehood smoothly and then be happily married. During the course of a Siddhacakra mahapuwja (5 January 1999), the ritual specialist (vidhikar) interspersed ritual instructions and translations with explanations of what was going on in each part of the puja. At the start of the puja the ritual specialist gave a lengthy background for the puja and its efficacy. He said: “We do this to create happiness for ourselves, for our families, and

for everyone who comes to the ptja. We make ourselves auspicious, our families auspicious, and the whole congregation auspicious. It will illuminate

the greatness of our enlightened and pure religion for all who hear the ceremony. ... May I have peace, may the family here [gesturing at the sponsors]


have peace, may the body be healthy and give peace to all life.... Mayna and Sripal did the worship, veneration, and rituals of the siddhacakra and thereby

worshiped the five highest ones and destroyed the sorrows of the world. This is the puja we are doing today.” His claims for the benefits are focused on merit and auspiciousness but also on health and peace. The ritual specialist suggests a clear link between health and well-being similar to that found in the story.

Later in that same Siddhacakra mahapuja, the ritual specialist gave a long discourse on the various ways siddhacakra worship can heal the body, calling

that worship “religion medicine.” In their most specific context, because of the centrality of the miraculous healing of Sripal’s leprosy, the siddhacakra worship and the Navpad Oli fast are credited with removing skin diseases. In the Navpadjt Puja, one hymn tells us: Maynasundari and Sripal kept the vow at that time. It was fruitful and changed his body to a golden hue. Navpad Olini Vidhi 1995, 40

In contemporary contexts, many Jains assured me that siddhacakra worship would prevent leprosy and also the less medically serious, but considerably more likely, leucoderma; leucoderma, which causes white skin patches, is particularly abhorrent because of its psychological links to leprosy.”* Because of its unsightliness and because of the links to leprosy, it can seriously mar one’s wedding arrangements.~” Thus the fear of leucoderma stems in part from its being one of few illnesses (along with chicken pox) that leave disfiguring

marks and can seriously damage one’s marriage prospects. Contemporary Jains told me that pilgrimage to Maynasundari’s well in Ujjain and bathing with the water there while performing an ayambil fast will cure any skin disease. Unmarried women (and unmarried men) are acutely aware of the power of siddhacakra worship and its praksal to prevent leucoderma, and of the

significance of healthy-looking skin in their marriage prospects. Thus the protection against skin disease is instrumental in protecting the natural order in which young women (and men) from good Jain families are well married and thereby prosper. Siddhacakra worship, having healed the worshipers, can then grant them prosperity and marital happiness; in some cases, the granting of prosperity can be seen as instrumental in ways that mirror the instrumental understanding of health. The language of the texts often focuses on prosperity gained, but recall that the description of the siddhacakra’s efficacy in the puja manual

suggests that women will receive women’s desires. These desires are not named (though the text mentions auspicious wifehood and offspring), leaving


contemporary women room to locate their own desires under the rubric of this worship’s efficacy. Women regularly named the Oli fasts as ones that create marital happiness for a woman generally. One married woman told me that she had performed the Ayambil Oli in order to have a marriage just like that of Mayna and Sripal.*° The Navpad Oli was also performed by two unmarried young women in order to secure good husbands, and after their marriages they both assured me that the Navpad Oli fast garnered them the merit they needed to achieve their marital happiness. Accounts of women linking their marital happiness to the Oli fasts were legion. Likewise, two more women explained to me that after marriage a woman should worship the siddhacakra every day in the temple, as Maynasundari did, in order to have a marriage like Mayna and Sripal. After performing the Siddhacakra mahapuja, one woman told me that

the ceremony would make all the marriages in the family happy, fruitful, and prosperous. In all cases the links between the happiness of Sripal and Mayna’s marriage were invoked as the example of the efficacy of siddhacakra worship, and women were explicitly imitating Mayna in order to recreate that ideal marriage.

Ritual and devotional texts support the links between the rituals, the Sripal and Maynasundari narrative, and the state of auspicious wifehood and successful manhood granted by the worship. The importance of Sripal and

Mayna as the primary performers of the Navpad Olt and the Navpad puja includes both the ways in which they serve as the paradigmatic worshipers whose acts are imitated, but also as the example of the efficacy of this worship. In essence, they are the perfect worshipers, while at the same time

their happiness and unity as a couple is the result of this worship. This loop explains the complex way in which contemporary Jains imitate Sripal and Maynasundari in an effort to correctly and most efficaciously perform Navpad puja, while at the same time hoping that their worship will make them more like Sripal and Mayna in terms of familial well-being and marital happiness.

The Ideal Marriage When I asked Jain laywomen about the ideal marriage, they usually named Sripal and Maynasundari.*’ When asked why this couple was ideal, they often spoke of the importance of a husband and wife working together as a team. The ideal of complementary spheres and skills suggested areas of expertise (especially domestic labor and religion) for women as legitimate while maintaining the socioeconomic power of husbands, who control money and exter-


nal decisions. In my observations, women did control much of the domestic

labor by choosing and cooking meals, by determining domestic needs (both foods and other goods), by distributing domestic labor and free time, and prioritizing tasks. Women also performed most of the ritual observances of the home and determined who performed which rites and when. The expectation of most men was that the women of their family would be sure that all the necessary rituals were performed and that the women would inform them of what was needed to do so. When the ritual involved large expenditures of capital, labor, and time, women—usually through their mother-in-law—still needed to consult their husband (or head of household) before beginning. In the ideal marriage, a husband would respect his wife’s expertise, srant her authority in these areas, and hold these religious practices in great esteem.

The Couple in a Joint Family

In chapter 3, I discuss the question of what constitutes marital happiness and intimacy, and how these are linked to bonds of affection between husband and wife. In the context of specific unhappy marriages, women told me that a bond of intimacy between husband and wife that cannot be disrupted by his family protects a wife and therefore makes for a happy marriage. But when asked abstractly about what constituted an ideal marriage, they told me that there would be respect and affection between the husband and wife with the full blessing of his parents. Women were clear that ideal marriages would include a good relationship with one’s mother-in-law as well as a close tie with one’s husband. The goal then seems to lie somewhere between—a form of companionate marriage intimate enough on its own terms to resist disruption

from outside, but not so intimate that it disrupts the other bonds both are obligated to maintain with the male lineage: the husband is also a son and brother; and the wife is also a daughter-in-law. In less than ideal circumstances,

a couple might, out of necessity, retreat to a bond of intimacy to maintain happiness, but the ideal marriage would successfully balance that intimacy with the larger familial context. One can see, then, how the power of the Siddhacakra ptija widens to involve other social positions; the ideal marriage necessarily involves more than husband and wife receiving the good fortune of their position. In the most popular Bengali domestic manual of the nineteenth century, Conversations with the Wife, the author of the manual posits that within the ideal marriage a woman has four roles: partner, lover, confidant, and soul-

mate. This manual asserts that these dyadic roles are compatible with the


expectations of the extended family, whose service is subsumed within (and ultimately subordinated to) the wife’s relationship with the husband (Walsh 2004, 59-61). With more Indian women watching soap operas on television and the increased representation of romantic marriages in Indian media and film (Dwyer 2000, 138-142, 149-153, 156-162; Mankekar 2004, 418-424), itis no wonder that young unmarried women and new brides wish for romance in their marriages. It is only later that women tended to articulate the importance of companionship rather than romance for their general wellbeing. In common parlance, the “love match” is simultaneously the most romantic model and the most divisive one. Though many young unmarried women spoke of how they would like a “love match” in the abstract, most ultimately participated in and agreed to marriage arrangements organized by their parents, partly because a “love match,” though romantic, is often understood to lead to familial rejection, leaving a woman vulnerable outside her expected social position. When describing the perfect marriage, most laywomen stressed that the couple would be religious and perform rituals together. For a woman, deep involvement in ritual practices by the husband indicates a respect for the area of knowledge she controls. No woman I have spoken with actually expected or

wanted her husband to do housework—with the exception of those who wanted their husbands to perform some child care—but all wanted their husbands to be involved in familial rituals. Within the public culture, rather than the markers of intimacy within the context of the home and family, it is the performance of rituals together which marks the intimacy and connection between a husband and wife. The husband and wife working together religiously also lends religious prestige to the couple, and that prestige can have tangible effects on their socioeconomic well-being (Cottom Ellis 1991; Singhi 1991). The importance of having a married couple perform a ritual together has its roots in Vedic ritual culture, but in that context, the sacrificer’s wife provides both auspiciousness and fertile power to the rite (Jamison 1996, 30-42). For Jains, the primary worshipers are women and the presence of the husband is not credited with adding any particular power (except for a prestigious luster), but rather performing the ritual together guarantees both that the husband will benefit from the ritual and that the couple are a religious couple: virtuous, pious, and prosperous. Siddhacakra Pijdas: Embodying the Ideal Couple

After Sripal is healed, he and Maynasundari perform the siddhacakra worship together, and it is this companionate worship, which is reproduced both in


visual images and in conversations I had with Jain women, that distinguished

this couple from others in Jain literature. In those contexts in which their marriage—rather than Mayna’s virtue—is the focus, the texts speak of their worship together, rather than her teaching and cajoling him into worship. Contemporary hymns often draw attention to the fact that Sripal and Mayna worshiped together as a couple and thus were rewarded as a couple: She was wed to the leper Sripal and the two went to the Jain temple. Meditating on the Navpad, those two both met with victory. Gunagunahat no date, 32

Throughout the hymns and prayers associated with siddhacakra worship, Sripal and Mayna are the ideal worshipers. One widely available book on the worship and powers of the Navpadji takes the form of short essays describing Sripal and Maynasundari’s acts as a definitive guide for a Jain couple’s behavior (Navpadna Updsako 1998). Even when one hymn given as part of the Navpad puja liturgy speaks of King Srenik (another paradigmatic mythological Jain king) performing the ayambil fast, he does so because he is told of the glorious results obtained by Sripal and Maynasundari. King Srenik asked Gautam: “Who has done this fast before? How is the nine day ayambil fast done? Who obtained their happy wishes?” Gautam spoke sweetly, saying: “Listen to what I say, King Srenik. His disease destroyed, Sripal and Maynd obtained liberation.” Navpad Olini Vidhi 1995, 55° In the context of the siddhacakra, even the great religious King Srenik is called upon to imitate them. Sripal and Maynasundari are likewise visually marked as the great siddha-

cakra worshipers. In the Siddhacakra Yantroddhadr Brhat Pijanavidhi puja collection, there are two plates of the Siddhacakra mahayantram and the Navpad mahayantram.”° In both plates, there are two supplicants represented at the base of the yantra: Sri Sripal Maharaja and Mahdasati Sri Maynasundari. These plates are intended to be guides for the performance of the associated formal ptjas, as these yantras are reproduced as part of the puja (figure 4.1). In contemporary temple paintings of the siddhacakra yantra, the supplicants are always identified as Sripal and Maynasundari. At the Munisuvrata Temple

(usually called the “Sripal temple”) in Thane, Maharashtra, there is a large three-dimensional image of the Siddhacakra mahayantra in the center of the

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portrayals of the procession of the sati (Courtright 1994, 32 fig. 1; Noble and Sankhyan 1994, 381 plate 5H). This visual congruence joined in my thinking with a genre of Jain devotional songs I had been collecting since 1993 called cundadi git (or veil songs) whose protagonist is always Rajul.” The popular songs and visual materials gestured at the discourse of satimatas while staying within the bounds of Jain ideologies of renunciation and nonviolence. Within the sphere of Jain discourse, Rajul verges perilously close to being a satimata.

This chapter will examine a number of tellings of the Rajul story in a variety of genres and, when appropriate, contextualize those tellings in contemporary ritual. The version of the Nemi and Rajul story that is most familiar to Jain laywomen is drawn from the eighteenth-century Svetambar Miartipujak layman Devcand’s Nemandathno Saloko, which is recited annually on Sravan

bright fifth.*° In my observation, it was recited by most of the married women in the congregation, and they believed that reciting this text (or even

just listening to its recitation) helped ensure one had a happy marriage." Devcand’s version includes extensive homey details about the preparations (and the women involved in the recitations savored these passages) and performance of Nemi and Rajul’s wedding. Though the text lingers over each step of preparation, for our purposes in this chapter we will focus mostly on Nemi’s rejection of Rajul and its aftermath. I summarize the general story below. RAJUL'S STORY

After much cajoling, the Jina-to-be Nemi was engaged to Rajul, the daughter of King Ugrasen. When Nemi’s wedding procession arrived at Rajul’s home on the day of their wedding, he was blessed by Rajul’s mother at the threshold of the door. Then Nemi heard the crying of the animals to be killed for the wedding feast, felt compassion for the animals and disgust for the world, and he decided to renounce. He turned around and left his bride, Rajul, standing at the threshold of her house. Rajul lamented her fate, but after fifty-one days, when Nemi obtained omniscience and it was clear that he was not returning, Rajul resolved to follow Nemi to Girnar and renounce with him. Finally, Rajul and Nemi achieved liberation at their deaths on the same day and were, in a sense, reunited.

Rajul and the Ideology of Renunciation Although few lay Jains are familiar with the actual text of the Uttaradhyayana Sutra, the second of the Svetambar milasitras, it is known to most Svetambar


Jain mendicants, who are expected to study this text in their first year of mendicancy (Cort 2001a).'* The Uttaradhyayana Sutra (22:1-49) contains the

earliest extant version of the story of Nemi and Rajul (here she is called Rajimati). In this version of the story, the goals served are the celebration of compassion, the glorification of renunciation, and the vilification of the (female) body. The Uttaradhyayana Sitra telling serves as the key source for the basic frame of the story; later elaborations by monks are clearly informed by this early and authoritative telling. The Uttaradhyayana Sitra version begins with a brief description of how

the wedding is arranged and the wedding preparations leading up to the moment of Nemi’s renunciation. After Nemi renounces, Rajimati follows him immediately, framing her renunciation as a response to the shame of being abandoned by Nemi, saying: “it is better I should turn nun’ (Uttarddhyayana Sutra 22: 29).'° There is no engagement with what it might mean for a Jain woman to be jilted in this way, but there is a recognition of how narrow

her future options might be; nunhood appears better than spinsterhood or abandoned wifehood. In her abandonment, the quick decision of Rajimati to renounce flattens any sense of narrative tension; her decision is so automatic

that it can be understood to represent a normative ideal, a kind of pure conventionality: the choices are clear and the correct answer is obvious. Rajimati does not show much interest in renunciation at this point in the story—

she shows more an air of resignation.'* However, after the last section, in which Rajimati’s fidelity to her vows is elaborated, the story is resituated within the ideology of renunciation. The climax of the Uttarddhyayana Sitra version reminds the reader of the

centrality of renunciation and the importance of being steadfast in one’s renunciation. On her way to Mount Raivataka (Girnar) [where Neminath is] after herself renouncing, Rajimati is caught in the rain and ducks into a cave to dry off. She removes her clothing to let it dry. At this point she is seen by the monk Rathanemi, who is also Nemi’s elder brother. He approaches her. telling her to first have an affair with him and then become a nun after they have enjoyed all the worldly pleasures of this rare human birth. Rajimati does not accept Rathanemi’s proposal but instead gives him a sermon, which transforms Rathanemi into an ideal monk.

The Uttaradhyayana Sitra’s version centers around this sermon on the importance of renunciation, which climaxes with an oft-repeated image: “Fie upon


you, famous knight, who want to quaff the vomited drink for the sake of this life; it would be better for you to die” (Uttaradhyayana Sitra 22: 42).'” Rajimati continues to lecture him for three more verses on the need for self-control. Rathanemi is convinced by her sermon, and they proceed to practice austerities until they both attain omniscience and liberation from rebirth. Though the Uttaradhyayana Sutra version of the Nemi and Rajul story is referred to by the name “Rathanemi,” telling the reader that the key character—the one whose transformation is relevant to this telling—is Rathanemi, it is clearly the rhetorical power of Rajimati’s sermon that takes the center stage. In equating her embodied self with “vomit,” Rajimati sees herself as already used by Nemi, her husband, though rejected by him, that is vomited. Rajimati is the abject consequence—the collateral damage, as it were—of Nemi’s renunciation. But it is Rajimati’s recognition of her own abjectness that is genuinely instructive, not Nemi’s renunciation or Rathanemi’s renunciation. Rathanemi’s redemption, then, comes from his rejection of Rajimati’s worthless and vile body. She describes herself as vomit, worse than leftovers than have not been ingested; but in doing so, Rajimati upholds the moksa-marg ideology, which

sees the material body as something to view with disgust and ultimately renounce. Nemi rejects food (the flesh to be served at his wedding) and renounces, and by renouncing he rejects sexuality (the flesh, as it were, of his beautiful bride Rajimati); this act echoes in the Rathanemi episode where Rajimati tells Rathanemi to reject sexuality (in the form of her body) because it is rejected food (vomit).'° Rajimati’s redemption in the Uttaradhyayana Sutra comes from her renunciation, her rejection of the potential pleasures from her vomited (viscerally rejected) body. Her recognition of her low and inauspicious status as a “vomited bride” is evidence of true Jain wisdom, and she uses it to both protect herself from Rathanemi and to convert him to correct Jainism.

From Vomited Bride to Abandoned Wife The Uttarddhyayana Sutra does provide the potential for reframing Rajimati in pativrata discourse. Interestingly, in ways that indicate some recognition of the liminal state Rajimati occupies, her actions are seen to protect her family and

lineage, even though she has renounced them: “The daughter of the best king, true to self-control and her vows, maintained the honour of her clan and family, and her virtue” (Uttarddhyayana Sutra 22: 40). Rajimati’s protection of her virtue extends to her protection of Rathanemi’s virtue, as well.’ Thus Rajimati’s rejection of worldly life and its pleasures as named by Rathanemi ultimately protects Nemi’s lineage by maintaining the virtue of both their


daughter-in-law Rajimati and their elder son Rathanemi.'* The body hate prominent in the Uttaradhyayana Sitra narrative is diminished (or removed) in later tellings of the story and replaced by Rajimati’s renunciation as a continuation of her steadfast devotion to Nemi. As soon as Jain writers begin to sympathize with Rajimati, room opens up for an emotional reality of her as a woman; any narrative that characterizes her with an interior life will inevitably create tensions between the idealization both of detachment for renouncers and of passionate attachment for wives. Hitavijay’s Rajimati Sahay tells the story of the Rajimati and Rathanemi episode.’” But here, Rajul’s sermon is about her fidelity to Nemi and the pitfalls of lust in general, not the rejection of her own body. Even considering the origin of this encounter, which clearly sets the hymn in the context of renunciation, we see Rajimati as a pativrata.*® This sajjhay focuses on Rathanemi’s offers of romantic love and Rajul’s resistance, not to romantic love in general but rather to infidelity to her husband, Nemi: Bow to the feet of the true guru, Rajimati Sati! She kept unbroken celibacy, and enlightened her brother-in-law. With veneration and love for her lord, that lovely woman went to Mount Raivat.

On the road, it rained and lightning flashed in all four directions. Her silk veil (cunadt) wet, she went into a nearby cave. Her younger brother-in-law (devar) saw this and abandoned his meditation and his intelligence. That monk said these words: “Having seen these eyes like a deer’s, Lust (madhura) has taken control of me, I have fallen in love with you.”

[Rajimati answers:] “Abandon this childishness! Is this not the way to hell?

Temptation is a horrible passion, will you fall into the ocean of desires?”

[Rathanemi replies:] “Beautiful One! Listen and learn this, a lotus has taken root in my heart. Tell me, fearful one, what is the sin in this?” [Rajimati answers:] “Youth is aflame, so knowledge stays separate from lust.” [Rathanemi replies:] “The days of our youth are few, O moon-faced one! Taste the nectar of them!

[Rajimati replies:] “Why do you have such a low opinion of that great ascetic of the Yadav family [Neminath]?


I am not bound to you, go gain the benefits of the assembly hall. Because of the Jina’s great honour, Indra held the yak-tail whisk.” [Rathanemi thinks:] “This woman of our proud lineage, whose acts are the picture of purity was left behind [by Nemi]. This sati’s well-spoken lesson, lifted love out of the ocean of emotion.” “Those who protect a man’s chastity, [are] equal to Indra” said the Jina.

Hitavijay says: “Thus Rajul was brought to the eternal place of liberation.” Bow to the feet of the true guru, Rajimati Sati! Jain Sajhaymala 1986/1987, 405 Rajimati’s speech suggests to us both the social problem of the jilted bride and the emotional position that Rajul sees herself in. Rajimati first tries to convince

Rathanemi of the sin of lust, but he continues to press his suit. Then she reminds him that she is devoted to Nemi and that his seduction stains the virtue of his lineage. Pride of lineage ultimately convinces Rathanemi of Rajimati’s virtue, and she is granted liberation, it argues, because she was able to protect Rathanemi’s virtue.

In Devcand’s Nemanathnno Saloko, Rajul’s interstitial status is clearly articulated by the threshold of the house. Nemi arrives at the door of Rajul’s house and is ritually welcomed by his future mother-in-law when she performs a ritual (ponkhana) that both removes the evil eye from the groom and accepts him as the groom (Jadav 1975, 48-50). At contemporary weddings, I have observed that this rite is directly followed by the bride garlanding the groom (in a symbolic self-choice marriage—svayamvara). The rite at the door starts the

rites of the wedding proper and marks the shift from preparations for a wedding to the marriage itself. In the Nemanathno Saloko, from the point at which the ponkhana is performed for Nemi, Rajul is referred to as a queen (rani) rather than the unmarried princess (rajkumdar7), illustrating the belief that from this moment on Rajul is a wife.”' It is immediately after that moment that Nemi hears the animals crying and renounces. Rajul sees Nemi turn away, and she laments and gives a speech in which she sums up her humiliation: My eyes are lowered in shame, The rubbing of turmeric (pithi cola) was done, The procession set out after having come here, without shame. Nemandathno Saloko, 69


The rite of turmeric rubbing (pithi cola) mingles the groom’s substances with

the bride by rubbing—or pouring, if it is mixed in the bath water—the turmeric that has been rubbed on the groom onto the body of the bride. This is an act of bodily intimacy, which links the couple bodily and sexually, and Rajul is devastated that she has been abandoned after this rite has been done. Jains listening to this story would be aware of the significance of this act and would recognize that Rajul’s purity has been compromised.” At this moment, then, she is no longer an unmarried princess, and neither can she be said to be purely virginal; though the rites have not been completed and the marriage is not yet consummated, the couple has been bodily and socially comingled in ways that are irreversible. To be abandoned at this moment is catastrophic: she is not able to marry someone else, because she is as good as married. She has no home; she is not fully integrated into her marital identity because the wedding rites remain incomplete and she is not living with her husband’s family.*’ As a result of Nemi’s renunciation, Rajul is suspended between these two identities

of virginal daughter and wife, much in the same way she is suspended at the doorway: she can now no longer stay at home, having let go of her childhood identity, nor can she step out into the world, where she has no place.

The Devoted Lover There is an important shift that occurs in medieval Jain poetry about Rajul and Nemi, in which Rajul is no longer the vomited bride/nun but a devoted and suffering lover who awaits—in vain—her lover’s return. In medieval poetic forms of phdgu (four-month rainy-season poems) and bdrahmdsda (twelve-

month poems), Jain monks wrote of the love of Rajul for Nemi. The oldest known phagus and viraha barahmdsa (twelve-month poems of separation) were Jain works dedicated to the story of Nemi and Rajul (Vaudeville 1986, 17).°* In these early tellings the Rathanemi episode is decentered, and Rajul’s renunciation is presented as the perfect example of not abandoning love; she gives up the world of marriage but maintains her connection to her husband, albeit in a reformulated structure.”? The phagu and barahmdasa poetic forms

describe each month in turn, linking the natural environment and seasons with the states of emotion in the protagonist. Though the barahmasa poems sometimes use the twelve-month form to describe the religious or agricultural year or as a narrative epic lasting a year, Jain versions focus instead on the suffering of the lover in separation and the trials of chastity. Vaudeville translates Vinayacandrasiri’s early-fourteenth-century poem Rajal-Barahmdadsa—the


first of the Jain barahmasas of separation (Vaudeville 1986, 37)—as her example of the many barahmasa poems dedicated to Nemi and Rajul.”° Right after Nemi leaves Rajul, she and her girlfriend begin their twelvemonth conversation. In the month of Shravan, the clouds roar loudly and my body is burnt in the fire of Separation Flashes of lightning, to me, are like devouring monsters: O my friend, how shall I survive without Nemi? Vaudeville 1986, 98

Rajul’s suffering is not focused here on shame and disgust—as it is in the Uttarddhyayana Sutra—but rather on separation. This genre uses lush poetic detail to lend emotional expression to a moment that in the Uttaradhyayana Sitra is represented coldly and without emotional content. Further, the barahmasa poetry centers Rajul’s virtue around her fidelity rather than her detachment from the world. Devcand’s Nemanathno Saloko represents Rajul’s lament as well, turning

from questions of fate, to a startling embodied exclamation of her love for Nemi.

“From where did my fate arise; It must be the evil eye that made this happen,” Queen Rajul laments. “You cannot know the timing of your karma’s results”; Waiting through eight births for her beloved, And in the ninth of nine lives, this young woman is soiled. Return and live the ninth with your beloved, Nem,... She went to Nem and grabbed his feet; “I want to be with my beloved!” Nemanathno Saloko 66-68, 74

One can see a certain ambivalence here: on the one hand, strictly Jain reflections of fate and karma, and the echo (in “soiled”) of the abject, instructive

body; on the other hand, the exchange ends with the passionate grabbing of feet and exclamation. Clearly, it is not a cold consideration of her low state in the context of moksa-marg ideology that leads her to Nemi. To the extent that Rajul’s decision to follow Nemi is narratively prompted by passion, these retellings of the story become less centered in moksa-marg ideologies of passionless equanimity and are more devotional; the listener


is presumed to identify with Rajul herself, and the representations of her following Nemi into mendicancy shifts away from theories of the body (and the instructive shock value of vomit) to the discourse of devotion. The texts become less didactic, and more characterized: Rajul’s decision to renounce is the decision of a particular person in a particular context, not a logical, normative outcome exemplified in

the object of a body. The tension in this transformation lies in its injection of romantic love—rather than merely the acceptable emotion of disgust with the worldly (vairagya)—into what had been an exemplar of Jain moksa-marg ideology. The context of Rajul’s lament borrows is discourse from that of the pativrata/bhakta: “I want to be with my beloved” and, later in the same text: “Eager to go and join her Beloved, Ugrasen’s daughter has taken leave of all” (Vaudeville 1986, 105), both of which echo the exclamations of the satimata when she hears of her husband’s death: “I am going to follow my husband” (Weinberger-Thomas 2000, 22).

Paralleling this emotionally wrought devotion, there is a hymn in a contemporary stavan collection, Gunagunahat (1987, 73) titled “Rajul’s Lament’.

“What fault of mine is in this, why did you abandon me and go so far away? Come back, O beloved, my eyes beg helplessly.

The waters of hope fill my eyes.”

Rajul laments while reciting Nem’s name in her heart. “We will meet again in liberation, O Lord, I remain yours and you are my destiny.” Rajul sees that Nemi, having renounced, is no longer her husband in this lifetime, but she asserts that they will be joined again after death—“in liberation’—because of their linked destinies. Creeping into the story along with the emotional content are echoes of the other regional hegemonic discourse involving wives following husbands—that of the satimata. Rajul’s participation in sati discourse has its roots in early versions of the story and develops in the context of Jainism as a western Indian tradition. As Nemiis marked as the Gujarati Jina,

so too Rajul is defined as western Indian and marked by the particulars of pativrata and sati discourse in that region. All elaborations and contemporary uses of the story suggest a Jain response to the seemingly contradictory ideologies of devotion to husband and renunciation which are ultimately resolved through the invocation of sati discourse. Sati discourse was a key representation of fidelity in medieval Jain texts as well as in Hindu literature, and this model of fidelity flourishes in the telling of the Rajul and Nemi story.


Renunciation as Death, Renunciation as “Going with’ One’s Husband The rite of “going with” one’s husband into death has parallels with certain narrative moments in and visual representations of Rajul’s renunciation. Nemi’s renunciation leaves Rajul a functional widow, and her own renunciation ultimately remedies that flaw in much the same way that a satimata’s death redeems her flawed wifehood. Nemi and Rajul’s ordinations invoke of the discourse of a sati following her husband into death. She follows Nemias a

wife even though she no longer has a husband, which resonates with the symbology of the Hindu satis who remain auspicious wives after their husbands die. My argument here hinges in part on the ways that Jain ordination as a social death dissolves marriage, on the visual cues present in the ordination of a Svetambar Jain nun, on the use of sati discourse in medieval and modern Rajul texts, and finally on the temple images and popular visual representations of Nemi and Rajul’s renunciation. Renunciation in brahmanical Hinduism carries with it strong symbology of death and rebirth (Olivelle 1992, 92). Renunciation signals that the Hindu ascetic is socially dead, in part, by dissolving the ascetic’s marriage and ending his dharmic requirements (Olivelle 1992, 90). The renouncer specifically invokes his own death by performing a symbolic funeral for himself.”’ Jain ordination includes the same basic steps as Hindu renunciation except for the symbolic funeral. Though Jain ordination rites do not include a funeral, we can see within the ritual the shadows of death imagery in the dispersal of worldly goods and the shared social disengagement, which dissolves familial obligations.*® In addition, like Hindu renunciation, Jain ordination severs all social and legal ties—including marriage—between the renouncer and his or her family. Jains resist the overt image of funerals in ordinations, however. Funerals

are very inauspicious, and Jain mendicants do not carry any of the potential inauspiciousness that Hindu ascetics do.*” Jain mendicants are completely isolated from inauspiciousness.*” That said, Jain ordination clearly frames itself as a separation from family and normal social intercourse.*’ For the purposes of our discussion, it is this social “death” that is relevant because it is Nemi’s social “death,” which leaves Rajul as a kind of widow. Though many scholars have described the ordination of Jain mendicants using bridal imagery (Holmstrom 1988, 20; Shanta 1997, 460; Singhi 1991, 150; Vallely 2002, 91),

this interpretation is weakened by the visual and gestural discourse of Jain


ordinations.** Much of the imagery interpreted as deriving from weddings fits more comfortably in the discourse of sati. In essence, it is inauspiciousness that is absent at a Jain ordination; by using sati discourse, death imagery that

may be associated with Hindu diksa is elided in much the same manner that widowhood is elided in Hindu satimata narratives and visual discourse. In a sense, becoming a nun prevents Rajul’s widowhood by transforming the inauspiciousness of a woman without a husband into the auspiciousness of a woman on the path of liberation. To frame my argument, I will start with a description of the rite of dying with a husband. This rite is described in devotional Hindu satimata narratives with characteristic stages. First, after the death of husband, the sati gives a statement of intention to die as a sati (Harlan 1994, 83; Major 2007; Weinberger-Thomas 2000, 21); as a result, sat (a form of power associated with the

virtues and vows of devoted wifehood) begins to rise in the woman’s body, making her hot to the touch.?? Second, the sati refuses to dress as a widow. Harlan (1996, 237) describes the moment when the sati dresses in her

wedding finery as the moment at which she begins to be a sati, and thus the auspicious and lovely ornaments (srngar) of the sati feature centrally in satimata songs. The Hindu sati’s denial of a separation from her husband is marked by her wearing wedding clothes, rather than a widow’s simple clothes of mourning. Third, on the day of the cremation, the sati takes her last bath and then

dresses herself as a bride: with henna on her hands, a wedding sari, her wedding veil, wedding jewelry, and with her hair loose. Though some of the early European accounts of “suttees” describe her as dressed more like an ascetic (Major 2007, 36), other European and Indian accounts and virtually all contemporary narratives, images, and accounts center around the sati being dressed as a bride with loose hair. The sati’s self-representation as auspicious bride (and its iconization) is key to the religious logic of the rite (Harlan 1995b, 270; Weinberger-Thomas 2000). She is not a widow; she continues to be a wife because her vow and her self-immolation symbolically compress ritual time, so that there is no moment of widowhood between her husband’s death and the

mingling of their bodies (as ashes) at the cremation (Courtright 1995, 188-189; Harlan 1994, 81). Fourth, as the sati leaves her home for the last time to go to the cremation

srounds, she places her hand (or hands) in kunkum paste and leaves a handprint (or a pair of handprints) at the threshold of the house. These handprints are preserved and venerated.** After this is done, she cannot return to her house ever again.*”


Fifth, when her husband’s body is processed to the cremation grounds, she follows the body to the cremation ground either on foot, in a bullock cart, or

on horseback. This procession is usually accompanied by drumming or a band, and many appreciative viewers who throw rice, betel nuts, and coins and offer her coconuts. When she arrives at the funeral pyre, she distributes her special jewelry to those closest to her (Harlan 1992, 151; Major 2007; Weinberger-Thomas 2000, Io1, 138) along with blessings and curses (Harlan 1992, 138-153).°° She circumambulates the funeral pyre and then seats herself with her husband’s head on her lap. The pyre is lit, it is argued, by the power of her sat even when someone uses a torch to light the wood, too. It is only at her death that she becomes a satimata (Harlan 1994, 81). Future worship of her as

a satimata focuses on representations of her cremation or icons such as the trident, each draped in wedding veils and marked with both kunkum and sandalwood paste (Noble and Sankhyan 1994; Weinberger-Thomas 2.000, fig. I5). Though no Jain in my research has ever asserted any such connection, the ordination of a Jain nun provides the viewer with visual cues that resonate with

the Hindu rite of becoming a sati. In February 1994, I was able to attend most of the rites surrounding the ordination of a young unmarried Marwari woman, and I have since observed parts—particularly processions—of several others. It is from this observation, interviews, and the accounts of others (Banks 1992, 78; Shanta 1997, 4600-466; Vallely 2002, 77-114) that I draw this picture of Jain ordination. Svetambar Jain ordinations for nuns seem to invoke bridal imagery.’’ During the procession leading to the ordination itself, the Murtipijak initiate is dressed in fine silks—usually a red wedding sari—with gold and pearl jewelry, and with both her hands and feet hennaed (Banks 1992, 78; Shanta 1997, 460).°° In times past, young Terapanthi women would also wear a bride’s wedding veil, though this practice has been banned by the present leader of the Terapanthi order (Holmstrom 1988, 20; Vallely 2002, 91).”” This apparent wedding imagery is disrupted, however, by several key visible prac-

tices—loose hair, the particular rites of the threshold, the procession of women, and the blessings and gifting performed by the woman renouncing—which run counter to the visual discourse and practices of Jain weddings. In the days leading up to her ordination, the Jain initiate is dressed in fine

clothes and féted, and her hands and feet are covered in henna. Before the ordination itself, the initiate takes her last bath and is dressed in wedding clothes and jewelry with her hair loose, and is led in procession to the rite.*° The Hindu satimata presents a similar visual image, processing to the rite dressed in wedding finery with loose hair. In both cases, the loose hair is a statement of feminine power (Sakti), which these auspicious women share with


goddesses. Though the ordination itself involves removing all the renouncer’s

hair, she approaches the rite with the symbolic statement of her feminine power.*' Loose clean hair invokes not the bride—whose hair would be carefully dressed and covered—but goddesses, satimatas, and feminine power (Sakti). When the Jain initiate is prepared to leave her home for the last time, she

is asked to step in kunkum paste and leave red footprints as she leaves the house. After the footprints have been made, the initiate cannot return to this house again (except perhaps to gather alms). The sheet on which these footprints are made is then carefully stored in the family cupboard and saved as

a special blessing, which is believed to protect the well-being of the nun’s renounced family. There is a similar rite performed at weddings in Rajasthan in which a new bride steps in kunkum paste and walks across a sheet as she enters her marital home for the first time.*? Similarly, I observed that when new brides entered their marital home for the first time, they sometimes marked the wall of the house with their handprints as a statement of their blessing. Occasionally, when a family entered a new house for the first time (especially if it was of new construction), the eldest saubhagyavati marked the

walls with her red handprints in blessing. These blessing evoke the image of the marks (especially the footprints) of Laksmi, which are drawn at the threshold as if she were entering the house to bless it. However, the reversal of the direction at a Jain diksa (leaving rather than entering) is relevant. The red

footprints are not made after the diksa rite when the woman is at her most auspicious, nor are they made as she enters the space where her diksa will be performed. Neither are red footprints made by a bride as she leaves her mother’s house, which would parallel the case of the diksa footprints. Finally, the initiate’s footprints are made in kunkum, not saffron, in spite of saffron’s

clear links to renunciation. Though it certainly differs from the satimata’s handprints at the threshold of her marital home, these footprints at leaving resonate with that threshold mark more than with the entrance of an auspicious woman into the home, particularly because they are said to be a mark of her intention to leave and never return. Sati processions and Jain ordination parades share some of the visual discourse of the royal procession (the chariot, the musicians, umbrellas, and so on), but the salient signs (other than the umbrella) of the royal procession

are absent from both: elephants, fly whisks, shoes, turban, and throne (Gonda 1966, 35).*° Although Jain texts and rituals engage deeply with the

model of the cakravartin and the kingly patron (in particular, the king of the gods, Indra/ Sakra, and the mytho-historic Jain kings; Kumarpal and Sripal), the discourse of Jain diksd of men is an explicit rejection of kingship.

The varsiddn (year-long giving) procession is in imitation of Mahavir’s


renunciation, which, though it may draw on the idiom of kingly procession in its use of chariots and bands (the imaginary of what resources Mahavir might have had), ultimately is a leaving behind of the social world, including kingship. In addition, kingly processions are performed by kings; in other words, the diksa of a Jain monk may be read as a reversed kingly procession, because it is aman dressed as a king (in imitation of a king who renounces). However, as a rule, queens do not process except when they choose to die as a sati. Sati processions, then, are a kind of royal procession, but one that differs in form, content, and intention from the king’s procession. Jain ordination processions are accompanied by bands playing auspicious music, and the sides of the road are filled with onlookers who benefit from seeing the culmination of Jain religious values. The procession itself represents another rupture from wedding imagery. Although men process to their

weddings in Jain and most other South Asian groups, women are never processed. A bride is carefully kept out of the public eye until the wedding begins, and even then attempts are made to obscure the public view of her face and body through veiling and a protective cordon of relatives. In a Jain ordination, the initiate is seated in a silver chariot and processed through the streets not merely as an icon but also engaging with onlookers, throwing handfuls of rice, almonds, and coins to the onlookers. This distribution of worldly goods is justified as the year-long donation (varsidan) performed by the Jina, Mahavir, himself when he renounced. Though the objects thrown to the onlookers are actually the rejected wealth of the initiate, each item collected was instead seen as a form of blessed object returned from a holy or divine person (prasad).** Others approached the initiate with coconuts, which they would hand to her

and which she would return to them in an exchange that was understood to bless the coconut as a kind of prasad. The blessed almonds and coconuts (as well as flowers) that the initiate distributed were carefully brought home and placed in house shrines alongside distributed photos of the woman ordained. The procession begins with a chariot bearing a Jina image. Jainism can be read as a mortuary cultus centered around the worship of deceased perfected beings (Babb 1996, 103; Granoff 1992, 189-195). Thus, because the ordinations of nuns are explicitly linked to Rajul’s story, we can read the procession such that the initiate, in imitating Rajul, follows the Jina—the deceased perfected being standing in for Nemi—in a way that echoes the sati following the corpse of her husband. After her vow to renounce—marked by her acceptance of the mendicant’s cloth broom—she retreats to renounce her final possessions. Before retreating, she circumambulates a Jina image three times and then offers blessings to all of those who have come to watch her diksa (figure 5.3). As she removes her


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not perform the rite of sindhur dan, in which vermilion is placed in a woman’s part of her hair by her groom in a symbolic deflowering of the bride (Ahearn 2001, 91-97; Bennett 1983, 86-87).'° This rite, which Jain women named as the one in which the bride’s body is symbolically transferred to her husband’s family, occurs before the wedding ceremony. The groom’s family arrives at a gathering of the bride’s family with gifts of jewelry and saris for the bride. The bride’s family accepts these gifts, and the bride is brought in and seated in the

front of the gathering. The groom’s sisters then remove the bride’s jewelry (given by her natal family) and dress her in the jewelry given by the groom's


family (figure 6.1). This transfer of her body to the groom's family as an object of control and appreciation can be traumatic; each time I have observed this

ritual, the bride silently cried through much of the ritual. During the rest of the wedding rites, the bride is usually either thoughtful or even smiling until the time of separation from her natal family, when again her body—this time literally—is tearfully transferred to her groom’s family. The display of the inscription of a woman’s body as wifely effects an irreversible shift in her identity; even if she were to cease to be a wife (through divorce, widowhood, or renunciation), she would not return to the state of an unmarried young woman (kumdari). This public inscription is followed by the private and more intimate inscription of her body as wifely when the couple consummate their marriage. When I have seen brides the day after their wedding and, presumably, after

the consummation of their marriage, they seem to be happy and excited, though still nervous about the coming changes in their lives.’ They have not seemed traumatized, and those with whom I was close enough to ask about how they felt, all blushed at a question, which brought attention to their new bodily status, but said they were happy. Puri (1999) found that the middle- and upper-class women she interviewed had not experienced trauma at the consummation of their weddings, either. Of course, with the consummation of the marriage, the bride’s body has been intimately and indelibly inscribed as wifely; but that inscription was private, fully expected, and, perhaps, even desired. The inscription of a women’s body is at the heart of the discourse of wifehood, as

her body serves as the site of her transformation through gesture, dress, and the symbols of body transfer.

Resisting Parental Control Models of agency that derive from resistance have been widely critiqued by scholars (as discussed in chapter 1), but this does not mean that there is no

notion of resistance among Jain women. Not only did occasional young women articulate resistance to social expectations: “I am not marrying that suy or “Even though my parents would like me to marry, I am committed to becoming a nun,” but young women creatively used acts of compliance to undermine the increased patriarchal control during the time leading up to marriage. From the time of the onset of puberty—marked by a girl’s first menstruation—and a young woman’s engagement, her body is being disciplined into a wifely body in preparation for the assumed marriage. Among

contemporary Jains there is a strong separation of notions of biological


puberty and a young woman's readiness for marriage; women are usually setting married in their early twenties—eight or more years after their first menstruation. Therefore notions of a young woman’s readiness for marriage are linked to her completion of studies, her emotional maturity, to signs of interest in married life (interest in learning married women’s skills or spend-

ing time with engaged relatives), and the familys preparedness for her wedding. These older brides are less frightened of marriage and are considerably more knowledgeable about at least some aspects of married life.’ In a

Jain context, the assumption of marriage is tempered by the possibility, however unlikely, of ordination. Critiquing the representation (in Khandelwal,

Hauser, and Gold 2006) of renouncers as the sole agents of what she calls “breaking away,” Gold (2006, 251) writes:

Some authors in this volume have argued persuasively that women bound by many culturally sanctioned social constraints find a mode of agency when they choose a path of renunciation. I want to simply add that there may also be women who find it possible to break away, at least partially, without saying so. That is, there may be women who never depart from society or domesticity but whose lives express in various fashions and to various degrees, a kind of shadow renunciant way of life. These women may deliberately if subtly evoke renouncer models both to seek spiritual fulfillment and to find freedoms beyond given behavioral norms. While this still celebrates women who “resist” rather than comply with social norms, it also illustrates how complex the relationship between resistance and compliance may be in lived experience. Contemporary young Jain women illustrate Gold’s point well; unmarried Jain women perform rigorous nunlike vows and fasts, which grant them both the freedom that unassailable virtue affords a woman and the viability of their explorations of nunhood. During the years while a young womar’s body is being inscribed as wifely,

these same young women destabilize that identity through the embodied adoption of ritual practices that invoke the discourse of nunhood. There are two sati narratives of virgin nuns (bdla-brahmacari), Brahmi-Sundari and Candanbala, whose performative tellings illustrate how unmarried young Jain women engage with the question of renunciation in embodied ways. The story of the sisters Brahmi and Sundari is embedded in the larger narrative of the conflict between their brothers: the universal ruler Bharata and the great saint, Bahubali.’? The sati narrative, even when told in its most elaborate form, was brief. Below is the version found in Sulasa Candanbala, a sati narrative collection recommended to me by a young Jain unmarried woman.



Adinath had two wives who each had a set of twins. The first had a son, Bharat, and a daughter, Brahmi, and the second had a son, Bahubali, and a daughter, Sundari. When Adinath gave his first sermon, hundreds of his sons and grandsons took ordination at his hand. Brahmiasked her brother Bharat if she could renounce, and he gave her permission. Sundari asked her brother, Bahubali, if she could renounce, and he granted her permission, but her half-brother, Bharat told her not to renounce. He was now the head of the family, so Sundari obeyed him and became the first Jain laywoman. After many years, Bharat returned and saw that Sundari was very gaunt. He was told that she had been eating only dry food (ayambil) since she was denied ordination. Seeing that she had really renounced already in her heart, Bharat gave her permission to renounce, and Sundari rushed to Adinath and joyfully took ordination. Sulasa Candanbala 1987, 93-94

On the rare occasions when this story was told to me, it was usually illustrative of the commitment some people had to renunciation, and how they resisted male family members who tried to deny them the choice of renunciation. The

story centers around perseverance in the face of thwarted ambition, and it describes the dangers of preventing a young woman’s ordination if that is what she wants. The story takes the standard form of the ordination narrative in which the young woman pines away until she is granted ordination: a goal from which she never wavers. It reads a bit like what one expects from texts written by mendicants in which the desire for renunciation is clear and uncomplicated except for the testing of the aspirations of the diksarthi that prove her worthiness. A Jain nun typically tells the story of her ordination (and that of her superiors) as an unquestioned and unwavering goal (Shanta 1997, 577-579, 585-588).°° Young Jain women in the congregation displayed a fascination with the “secret ordination” (cupi diksa) of two Jain mendicants whose travels brought

them routinely through Pune; these young women spoke of the courage these renouncers must have had to renounce without the blessings of their families, while at the same time adult Jain men and women repeatedly spoke of these two renouncers as impulsive and criticized the mendicant orders for allowing secret ordination; this rare generational gap illuminated romantic notions of resistance held by the young women and concerns over the breakdown of proper parental authority it represented to the adults.


There were a few young unmarried women who told me the story of Sundari with some relish, describing in detail the way that her body withered when she was denied access to her ambitions. I was struck by their fascination with the way that Sundari literally embodied her choice to renounce; they went

into such detail about Sundari’s body that it eclipsed the narrative. In my observations, pining and fasting were among the few tools of resistance used

by young unmarried women who were unhappy with decisions made by parents and uncles about their marriage futures. Loss of weight was character-

ized as a symptom of unhappiness and, also, the evil eye. Formal fasting requires the permission of familial elders (usually grandmothers or mothers) and frequent requests for fasts were investigated and discouraged, lest they be evidence of some kind of unhappiness or a sign of interest in renunciation. I have written elsewhere how overly enthusiastic fasting made Jains in one young unmarried woman's congregation speculate about whether she wanted

to become a nun (Kelting 2006b, 196-197). The families of prospective srooms are watchful for signs of scandal, but also for signs of unhappiness, which might indicate a dislike for the groom’s family or interest in becoming a

nun. Pining and fasting, then, can have some effect on a young woman's prospects, and usually garners the attention of female relatives (and brothers)

who may advocate on behalf of the young woman. If a young woman wishes to fully separate herself from a parental decision, the most effective, socially acceptable way would be to announce the intention to renounce. Weinberger-Thomas (2000, 22-23) notes that the vow to die a sati is irrevocable and is itself effective of the change of status. The same may be said of announcements of the intention to renounce. Thus, the announcement of the intention to renounce

cannot function as leverage, because it is nearly impossible to reverse such an announcement once it has been made publicly; rather, it is the possibility of such an announcement that might carry weight. Young Jain women creatively use this possibility to counter the pressures of compliance in matters of marriage

arrangements, but we must be careful not to assume that the decision to renounce is primarily a form of resistance, for Jain discourse about women can

be as powerfully shaped by the ideologies of renunciation as it is by that of wifehood.

Jain women engage with the possibilities of nunhood through the performances of rituals, which partially embody the life of a nun and which afford them the opportunity to explore the possibility of nunhood without stating any

intention. When a young woman is considering renunciation, a process of “othering” the body begins, in which the young woman begins to separate her sense of identity from her body, a kind of disembodiment, which expresses itself in fasting (Vallely 2006, 233). Vallely (234) describes fasting and its


disembodying as a practice of both nuns and laywomen, starting around the age of ten. She argues that for laywomen it is not necessarily a sign of worldly detachment; however, in the period before marriage this fasting, especially if

the young woman performs difficult fasts, is evidence of her interest in renunciation. In my observation, as well, intense fasting is read as an indication of interest in renunciation, but young women creatively used this interest both to seriously consider renunciation and to garner a modicum of agency regarding their marriage arrangements.

Trying out Nunhood Many unmarried young Jain women engage with the possibilities of nunhood even if they ultimately resolve themselves to wifehood. Fohr (2001, 168-169) notes that those who are contemplating ordination may choose to do so before marriage, because after marriage it is more difficult to renounce, and because

those who renounce before marriage are held in higher esteem and are considered more powerful. When speaking with a young Gujarati woman awaiting her ordination into the Tapa Gaccha, having publicly stated her intention to renounce, Fohr asked if one should take ordination before getting married and she answered: “Yes, if you wait until after your engagement or marriage, then it is very difficult and you will bring grief to people like your husband” (Fohr 2001, 171).”* In this and other interviews with nuns who had renounced before marriage, Fohr found that among Svetambar Jains it was clear that one was choosing whether to be a wife or whether to renounce; to be an unmarried adult woman would be unacceptable. One Marwari Sthanakavasi nun she interviewed put it this way: “There is a rule in our Marvari [culture] that when a girl reaches twenty years of age, she gets married or takes diksa.

She should decide what she wants to do. No one will keep an unmarried (kunvart) older girl in their house. [When I reached that age,] I told [everyone] that I did not want to get married, [that] I would take diksa” (Fohr 2001, 170). Though spoken by a Marwari woman, the idea of a deciding moment when a young woman chooses renunciation or marriage was widespread in my observation with both Marwari and Gujarati women.

Vallely (2002, 91-92) mentions that for Jain girls the role of attending ordinations in creating an impulse to renounce—even if it is not acted upon—

is fueled by the majesty of the ordination as an event. In a similar sense, I observed girls and young women likewise impressed by the importance and attention granted to a young woman during the period of her engagement, wedding, and the early days of marriage. In Reynell’s work on Jain women in


Jaipur, she gives several reasons—prestige, access to further education, charismatic nuns, the hard work of early wifehood, fear of child-bearing—why an

unmarried woman might choose to be a nun (Reynell 1985a, 249-260), but equally important for our discussion, she also notes that there are reasons— deformity, infertility, lack of dowry—why a woman might end up a nun even if she might have preferred to be a wife (Reynell 1985a, 263-268).** Reynell’s lists indicate that both nunhood and wifehood are constructed as ideal lives between which young women choose. In practice, many young women engage with both wifehood and nunhood and ultimately see themselves as choosing to marry. To illustrate my point, this discussion will now turn to contexts in which young unmarried Jain women

embody ideologies of renunciation as an exploration of the possibility of nunhood.”? This engagement with nunhood can involve complex vows or less difficult fasts, both to be discussed below. There are a number of rituals in which Jains choose to temporarily act like mendicants, ranging from the simplest, a vow to live like a Jain mendicant for a day (posadh), to the most complex, a ritual in which one vows to live like a Jain mendicant for forty-five days while performing a fast (Updhan fast).** Laidlaw (1995, 174-179) writes

that, for the most part, the Updhan fast was undertaken by middle-aged or older lay Jains as a rite of passage he likens to “training for retirement.” These older Jains have fewer obligations in the home or business. Cort (2001b, 137)

observed that this vow was taken primarily by women, and suggested time restraints as a reason why more men could not perform it. Older women with daughters-in-law available to do the housework might be able both to take the six weeks away from home and to perform the time-consuming daily rituals that they would be expected to undertake after completing the vow. Tambiah (I976, 200-203, 268-312) describes the temporary vows of monkhood undertaken by Thai boys and young men in the Theravada tradition as a kind of lifecycle rite that can contribute to the upward mobility of a Buddhist layman by providing him with education and religious clout. Laidlaw (1995, 176-177) argues that it is different for Jains; Jains do not permit temporary monkhood

(or nunhood). The Updhan is not renunciation, he argues, but practice for taking lifelong formal lay vows (Laidlaw 1995, 177). This interpretation could work for the elder Jains who take the Updhan vow, but in my observations few, if any, of the Jains who performed the vow—old or young—took the lifelong formal lay vows. Further, half of the forty-four participants in the Updhan fast

in Pune were unmarried young women, suggesting that this performance must be evaluated in a different light.*? In Pune, these young women appeared to be performing a kind of temporary nunhood and one that could (and in a few cases, did) prepare them for renunciation.


The participants in the Updhan vow act as if they are novitiate nuns, and gain valuable religious skills while being able to explore the experience of being a nun without voicing any particular intention.”° I saw this vow fuel the explora-

tions into the prospects of renunciation among several young women. As opposed to fasts undertaken for well-being such as the Navpad Oli fast discussed in chapter 4, the Updhan fast is rhetorically constructed for goals that fit under the umbrella of the path of liberation. At the completion of the Updhan vow, there is a major four-day program celebrating the participants’ achievement. The most significant moment of this celebration is when the fasters are garlanded

with the garland of liberation (moksa-mala). This blessing signifies a kind of mini-ordination, as the presiding mendicant garlands each participant after they have completed all of the rites. A person can only wear this garland of liberation one time in his or her life, as the garland symbolizes a participant's transformation into a new identity, which is irrevocable. As part of the completion of the vow, each participant agrees to a number of austerities in order to expiate errors

committed before and during the vow. In addition to these austerities, many Updhan participants take lifelong vows at the end of the Updhan.’’ During the Updhan, participants learn some of the gestures and movements of mendicants, which they then continue to perform to some degree after the vow is completed. The vow requires the thrice-daily examination of one’s clothing, objects, and space for insects, and penance for any injury caused

to these insects. During the time of the Updhan, this requirement disciplines the participants’ bodies to avoid unnecessary movement, and to perform the characteristic gesture of brushing the ground with a cloth broom before they move—an act performed even in their sleep during this vow. This discipline heightens the participants’ awareness of their bodies beyond the already constrained expectations of women in this community, and profoundly affects their body practices, at least for the duration of the vow. They also learn the movements associated with the rite of confession (especially the choreographic gestures of prostrations), which those who have completed the vow thereafter

continue to perform in the manner that nuns do—clearly marking them during congregational performances from then on. Laidlaw (1995, 177) states that the Updhan is specifically not related to ordination and, in the sense of a permanent vow of renunciation, I agree; for

unmarried women, the Updhan seems to be an exploration into nunhood. That said, Divyaprabhasriji, the nun who guided the women at the 1999— 2000 Updhan near Pune, spoke to me explicitly about the connection between

the Updhan and ordination, explaining that it serves as “practice” for those who might consider ordination. After the Updhan is complete, the faster is permitted to recite certain prayers that form part of the ritual confession that


only mendicants and those who have completed an Updhan may recite. In a sense, those who complete the Updhan can serve as surrogate mendicants at

events where mendicants are not present. Although married laywomen performing the Updhan did not speak of it as practice for ordination, they did see it as being like a mini-ordination (diksd jaisi hai) that increased their commitment to liberation-directed praxis while permitting them to remain laywomen. Among married women, there may be some for whom the adoption of religious vows associated with nuns (twice-daily pratikraman, lifelong restricted eating, and celibacy) grant them an interstitial position conforming to the ideologies of renunciation and liberation, while living as wives; these women must get permission from their husbands or mothers-in-law to take lifelong vows, however, because they explicitly draw a wife’s attention away from marital duties. Widows often adopt these nunlike vows, for which they need no permission from their families, as part of their focus on spiritual liberation once their focus on wifehood is over.

To what extent, then, does the Updhan function as an opportunity to explore the possibilities of nunhood for these unmarried women? Of the twenty-one unmarried young women who performed the Pune Updhan fast

in 2000, there was only one who at the close of the Updhan stated her intention of becoming a nun, another who chose to become a nun in 2003, and one other, still unmarried, continues to struggle with the decision.”* These

are only three women, but this is nearly fifteen percent of the unmarried performers of the vow, which is well above the percentages of women who choose nunhood from the total of all young women (approximately one every

out of fifty thousand).*” Most of the young women who performed this Updhan are now married. However, it would be an error to assume that the resolution in marriage for these women indicates that they did not consider nunhood. In fact, three of the young women who performed the Updhan in

2000 and subsequently married told me that during the Updhan and the period following the completion of the vow, they seriously considered renunciation. None of these women spoke of this consideration until after they were safely married, despite the wide range of intimate topics they were willing to

talk about with me.*” The exploration of the choice between marriage and ordination is one that was only rarely and discretely discussed until after it was

made. In these postmarital conversations, it became clear to me that the Updhan was a kind of trial nunhood for those who were considering ordination before they made the choice to get married. The Updhan and its fast breaking can fortify a young woman's marriage prospects by proving her virtue and her family’s prosperity (Kelting 2006b, 196-198), while at the same time allowing her a safe context in which to consider the option of renunciation.


The Candanbala Fast We now turn to the performance of the story of Candanbala and its accompanying fast. Although a few young women might choose to undertake a vow like the Updhan, much the same kinds of benefits—for example, karma reduction, merit making, display of one’s virtue, performance of family status—can be gained from shorter fasts where the participants do not live as nuns and that do not carry the risk of making a young woman seem too religious.*’ For young women who are not as clearly exploring the possibility of nunhood, other rituals, which also invoke the discourse of renunciation without the same level of commitment, are commonly performed. The young women who performed the Candanbala fast in 2000 and in 2001 in Pune were

manipulating the discourse of renunciation to creatively embody wifehood through their performance of the rituals associated with this fast and its narrative.

Candanbala’s story stands alone in the virgin nun sati (bdla-brahmacari satt) narratives as the one most widely known and told. Candanbala’s story was

told to me by both women and men from all demographics. Among young unmarried women, it was sometimes the only sati story they told. Her story, like that of Maynasundari and Rajul, was told to me many times both casually in ritual contexts, and when I asked about the narrative. The story’s popularity

may arise from its relationships to Mahavir, to a popular fast, and to its apt representation of the paradoxical emotional landscape of Jainism (Kelting 2007).°* Perhaps this story is particularly appealing to unmarried young women because it reflects the state that these women are in: a state of incipience between protected innocence and the maturity expected as they separate from their natal families. They, like Candanbala at the climax of her story, stand

at a threshold. Until they do marry, the joys of marriage are not available to them; even in conversation, these young women are not permitted socially to discuss their own marriage, desires, or sexuality in any way. These young women stand on the threshold of wifehood, not yet married, but fully expected to become wives.

I include below the version of Candanbala’s story found in a popular sati narrative collection, Sol Mahdasatio (1998, 166-187). CANDANBALA’S STORY

In Campa city, a daughter, Vasumati, is born to King Dadhivahan and Queen Dh§arini, both Jains. When Campa is sacked, a camel trader srabs the queen—who dies on the spot—and Vasumati. He decides to


sell Vasumati as a slave in KauSambi. When she is about to be sold into

prostitution, she is saved by a troop of monkeys. Then a Jain merchant named Dhana sees Vasumati and realizes that she cannot be an

ordinary slave, but must be a kidnapped princess. He buys her and decides to raise her as his own daughter until her family finds her. Because of her beauty, they call her Candanbala (Hair-likeSandalwood). One day the merchant’s wife sees her husband touching Candanbala’s hair as Candanbala washes his feet and suspects it is the first step toward her husband taking a second wife. Soon after this, the merchant leaves home to travel for business. The merchant's wife then

has Candanbala’s hair shaved off, and has her bound with chains and locked in a distant corner of the house. When the merchant returns three days later, he asks after Candanbala, and his wife lies to him that she is outside or asleep. Finally, the merchant finds Candanbala shaven, chained, with tears in her eyes, and having not had anything to eat or drink for three days. He searches for something for her to eat, but there is only a winnowing basket full of lentils (udad dal). Candanbala vows that she will eat only after giving food to a monk. At this very moment, Mahavir comes seeking alms. He has been fasting for five months and twenty-five days awaiting a suitable donor: a princess who is now a slave standing on the threshold with her head shaved, dressed in white, crying while sorting lentils in a winnowing basket. Candanbala stands in the doorway of her room with the winnowing basket full of lentils and calls to Mahavir that he should take alms. He refuses her because she is not crying and she begins to weep. Because she then fulfills all the criteria of his vow, he returns to take alms. At the fulfillment of his vow, the gods shower them both with gold, her chains break off, her long beautiful hair miraculously returns, and she is known immediately to be the princess Vasumati. Candanbala’s blossoming womanhood prevents her from staying a daughter.”” Her developing beauty and its implied sexuality lead her adopted mother to no

longer see her as a daughter, but to see her as a potential co-wife. This transformation from a daughter to a potential wife of someone else happens to all Jain women, and all Jain parents must recognize this potential sexuality in order to identify readiness for marriage arrangements. The implied incest in the Candanbala narrative suggests the potential of sexual misconduct—here in its worst form, incest—in a woman who is left unmarried for too long. To leave a daughter unmarried is to court trouble; an unmarried daughter may become


involved with someone and create a scandal, which hurts her marriage possi-

bilities and the reputation of the whole family. Jain parents control their daughter’s sexuality through social constraints and the discipline of her body. In this way, religious rituals are a safe place to display one’s marriage-ready daughters without risking scandal. However, they do not desexualize her as Candanbala was desexualized—for Candanbala ultimately does not become a

wife, but a nun; rather they use strict rules about being outside the home, chaperones, and other social restrictions to protect their daughter’s reputation while allowing her incipient womanhood to be recognized among the female relatives of potential marriage partners. Because of Candanbala’s wrongly perceived potential sexual misconduct, she is transformed into a person outside society, invoking slavery (the binding of chains and the shaved head) and widowhood (the shaving of her head and

also, according to popular tellings, dressing her in white clothes). All the imagery, whether of slave or widow, effectively removes her sexuality as a threat. Candanbala turns her neglect into a religious act by declaring that she will not break her “fast” until she has fed a worthy mendicant. In this way she gains a kind of control over her suffering by retroactively declaring it to be her intention. After her vow is completed, she returns to her beautiful state, and her identity as a princess becomes known—she is ideally suitable for marriage. Candanbala’s virtue is proven and she is reintegrated into the household as a daughter, but an adult daughter soon to leave either for marriage or renunciation. Candanbala soon renounces, abandoning her status as a princess as well as her beauty and her potential wifehood. Though few women included in oral tellings the renunciation coda to the story, they were all aware that Candanbala later renounced, because they were also aware that she is named as the head of the nuns under the Jina, Mahavir.** In the representation of Candanbala’s ultimate beauty and marriageability,

the story of Candanbala mirrors the discourse of the marriageable young woman who renounces anyway, the nun who could have married a prince. In lay culture, on the few occasions when nuns were spoken of in negative terms (and this was almost exclusively done by laymen) it was usually said that these were women who could not get married or whose families did not want to pay dowries. The lavishness of the ordination itself and descriptions of the good

marriage prospects rejected by the nun counter any suggestions that the ordination is covering up some inability to get married. Vallely writes of one nun who was especially beautiful that her very beauty was seen as evidence of her spirituality—she had much to renounce (Vallely 2002, 109)—in much

the same way that she was told that the nuns (and monks) came from rich families. Vallely writes: “Renunciation is meaningful only within a context of


abundance, and a life of detachment can be best observed in a vicinity of wealth’ (Vallely 2002, 88). In February 1994, at a ordination in Pune, several male relatives of a future nun approached me and pointed out that the young woman was beautiful and educated, that “she could have married anyone.” This served both to remind me of all that she was renouncing (to demonstrate her commitment) and to draw my attention toward their recognition of her potential wifehood (to illustrate her agency, and that her family had given her all that she needed and could have paid her dowry) to demonstrate that she was not pressured by her family to renounce. Candanbala’s story invokes the ambivalence that young women feel about their approaching marriages, about the simpler choice to be a wife and the less

common choice to be a nun, and about the restrictions that surround their bodies as they become potentially sexual. It is Candanbala’s budding sexuality

that prompts her foster mother to imprison her. In a way that parallels this story, young women’s lives are constricted and controlled in an effort to prevent

their sexuality from being a threat to family honor and to the marriage prospects of that young woman and her unmarried siblings and cousins. Young women I spoke to did talk about the constraints they felt after the onset of puberty and even more so as marriage arrangements were beginning. One young woman whose marriage prospects were not very good spoke of her life as being like that of an animal in the zoo: “locked up and sometimes people come to look at me.” Another young woman whose prospects were quite good

told me that she felt as if she were bound to her house while her marriage arrangements were taking place. In both of these cases we see how the young women felt bodily bound by the new restraints on their actions and used the image of imprisonment to describe their experiences.”” As in most substantial Jain fasts, the Candanbala fast’s fast breaking is

marked by a public function. This three-day fast ends with a ceremony in which the fasters reenact the climactic moment of Candanbala’s story.*° They approach the threshold of a makeshift hut with their hands and feet bound by chains, wearing all-white clothing with their hair loose in order to feed a Jain mendicant before they themselves break their three-day fast (figure 6.2). As

they stand in for Candanbala, a mendicant stands in for Mahavir; there is a presumption, too, that some approximation of Candanbala’s good fortune will also ensue. One common fasting manual, Taporatna Mahodadhi, gives instruc-

tions: “For the fast breaking of the Candanbala fast one needs to have on hand a winnowing fan whose corner is filled with boiled lentils and with this

one offers alms to the monk. One’s feet and hands should be bound by a skein of thread or silk which falls off after giving the monk his alms” (Taporatna Mahodadhi 1989, 161-162).°”’ Feeding the monk signifies successful


ae SE .........____ EE —_ me | Riie. _aatocicn eae eX Soe wo

< | me De) i Neh e

BT ae

8 Rap | él go ~ BSwil th = FIGURE 6.2. A participant in the Candanbala fast offers alms to a Jain monk before breaking her own three-day fast. The ritual fast-breaking is an imitation of Candanbala’s offering alms to Mahavir. S1i Ajitnath Jain Temple, Pune, 2001. Photograph by Steven C. Runge.

completion of the fast, which results in freedom from bonds—here, both the literal bonds of the thread and the figurative bonds of karma. Because the sponsoring mendicant has also been fasting, the offering from the fasters actually—and not just figuratively or dramatically—breaks the mendicant’s fast. Feeding monks and nuns is always meritorious, as is giving food to anyone who is breaking a fast. Here, these two acts are combined making the offering to the monk especially meritorious. The ceremony then does not merely portray or signify the salient features of Candanbala’s story, it also makes an effort to make those features real, suggesting that the merit and the breaking of the karmic bonds for the participants is also real. The instructions for the ceremony make no mention of a dramatic reenactment of the Candanbala story or, for that matter, hair, princesses, or any results.°> However, these elements seem to be standard in the two dramatic fast-breaking ceremonies I observed in 2000, sponsored by the Tapa Gacch nun Divyaprabhasriji and the other in 2001 by the Tapa Gacch monk Muni Devguptavijayji, both of which were similar to ones observed by Reynell in Jaipur (personal communication). As the drama unfolds, it will become plain that the “skein or thread of silk” is understood to be shorthand for a host of


dramatic actions. I will use the 2001 Candanbala fast as the basis for my description because it particularly highlighted the participants’ embodied performances of this fast.”” In the days leading up to the 2001 Candanbala fast, Devguptavijayji pointedly inserted references to the Candanbala narrative into his morning sermons. On the day before the fast-breaking ceremony, he made a special point of saying that those who were offering him alms as part of the Candanbala fast breaking should have tears in their eyes.*” On the day of the fast breaking the women who

had completed the fast were gathered in the mendicant’s hostel (upasray) dressed in white and accompanied by their families. The day before, there had been an auction for the privilege to be the first ten of the “Candanbalas” to offer alms to the monk, and a small stage set comprising a small cloth-walled,

thatched-roof hut was constructed. The almsgiving to Devguptavijayji was embedded in a dramatic retelling of the Candanbala story. When it came to the climactic moment in the narrative when Candanbala offers alms to Mahavir, the “Candanbalas” stood up one by one and prepared to have their hands and feet bound so that they could offer the alms from the winnowing basket in the doorway of the hut, according to the ritual instructions. Devguptavijayji, who, it

must be said, is a bit of showman, left the hall so that he could enter in the manner in which he would normally do when on begging rounds. When he saw

the tears in the faster’s eyes, he accepted the lentils. As I observed the fast breaking, each young woman in turn did cry, and most cried copious tears, which began as they stepped to the threshold of the hut.*' While observers (married or widowed women) spoke of the weeping as appropriate demonstration of the devotional sentiment in the young women (Kelting 2007, 132), I was struck by this uncharacteristic display of emotion and its concentration in the performances of unmarried young women exclusively. Thus, the young women performing this fast so effectively embodied Candanbala’s body practices in order to successfully complete the fast that they produced tears—presumably a reflection not merely of body practice but also of deep-seated emotion. Most of the fasters who participated in the Candanbala fast were young

women of marriageable age. Some of them told me that this fast would help them be more beautiful—especially by giving them more lovely hair— and make them more eligible as potential wives (Kelting 2009 a). The expectation was strong enough and widespread enough that Devguptavijayji joked

about how those who performed the fast would have beautiful hair. In the Candanbala fast we find the closest parallelism between the story and its

ritual practice. I found widespread belief among the young women who performed this fast that the parallel experience would, by binding the same kinds of karma, create the same results as those experienced by Candanbala: in


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FIGURE 6.3. Candanbala wall painting showing her miraculous feeding of the Jina Mahavir and her spontaneous reappearance as an auspicious free woman. This image of Candanbala visually borrows from satimata images. Amijhara Parsvanath Jain Temple, Junnar, Maharashtra.

sum, that they would be beautiful and marriageable and that they would become, in some senses, eligible princesses. The results of Candanbala’s vow and almsgiving to Mahavir are widely represented. Though some temple paintings only show the moment before the alms touch Mahavir’s bowl, in the many images that illustrate Candanbala’s miraculous moment we find that not only has her hair grown back beautifully but she is also be-jeweled, dressed in a red sari, with her lovely hair loose. Her release from bondage is a return to the world of wifehood. She is not portrayed as a girl but rather as a fortunate woman whose husband is alive (saubhagya-

vati), in a manner similar to a satimata. In a temple wall painting, both representations of Candanbala are presented side by side (figure 6.3).** The young women who performed this fast wanted to likewise achieve that good fortune and have long and happy marriages. Candanbala is not a nun, and yet her austerities and the rejection of her beauty suggest nunhood. On the other hand, the fast requires a faster to make a donation of food to a mendicant—the quintessential laywoman’s act in Jainism; thus for all her austerity and her subsequent renunciation, Candanbala is positioned as a laywoman whose status in society in ambiguous. Unlike


the Updhan fast, there was not a sense that the Candanbala fast indicated any profound tendencies toward renunciation. When young women embody Candanbala, they perform a kind of abbreviated nunhood, which, in the paradoxical logic of the collision of womanhood and Jainism, allows them to become women—women who will marry. Where is Candanbala’s renunciation in all this? In the story, it is reported summarily, not narrated in the dramatic fashion

of her return to womanhood. Renunciation, I would argue, remains in a similar place in these young women’s lives: it is not absent, but only exists as a dramatic reenactment or a reported possibility; for most young women, it is

something to keep in mind, but not something to imagine with too much specificity. To be heroic like Candanbala is to be a marriageable Jain princess— that is, a woman who could choose not to be a wife. To illustrate this tension between ideologies centered around Candanbala,

I will describe the climax of both a Jain ordination and one dramatic performance of the Candanbala story, which preceded the 20o1 fast breaking. The climactic moment of the ordination of a Tapa Gacch Jain nun happens when she receives the cloth broom, which represents her acceptance of her mendicant vows (Kelting 2001b, 55). When the broom is dropped in her hands, the new nun spins holding the broom aloft, with her soon-to-be removed hair swirling around her in the rajoharan dance (see figure 5.3). In 2001, one of the young women performing the Candanbala fast wrote and performed a short

play based on the Candanbala story, and at the climactic moment when Mahavir accepts her alms, her chains broke off, her hair was let loose to swirl

as she spun round and round holding up her winnowing fan. This young woman—who had attended many ordinations—superimposed the celebratory choreography of renunciation onto Candanbala’s celebration of her return to

freedom and beauty. The Candanbala drama was a negative image of the rajoharan dance at a nun’s ordination; on one hand, a nun dressed in bridal clothing holds the broom—a symbol of her renunciation—and on the other, a young woman dressed like a nun (all in white) holds aloft the winnowing fan— a symbol of wifehood and, in this case, the donor of alms. The Candanbala story and its paired dramatizations could be said to define what it is to come of age as a Jain woman. Candanbala’s transformation follows a symbolic transformation from girl-princess to slave to daughter to incipient wife to an ambiguous status of slave/widow/nun to adult princess with only one moment of volition—when Candanbala decides to fast until she has fed a

monk. It is only in her piety that Candanbala can assert control over her identity as she moves into adulthood and, as a result of her piety, she is given choice: she can stay a princess and marry or she can renounce and become a nun. Her metamorphosis into an agent comes about because of her passionate


attachment to freeing herself from karmic attachment and devotion to the order of Jain mendicants. Young Jain women were given freedom to embody themselves in the context of religious rituals, and they participated in these enthusiastically. Through their ritual practices, these women convert the discipline of their newly adult bodies into religious acts similar to Candanbala’s conversion of her punishment into a meritorious fast.** The bodily constraints,

then, become virtues, and a young woman can channel the merit of her compliance toward whichever identity she is about to choose. But these ritual embodiments are not simple identities with clear archetypes like “wife” or “nun” but rather identification with a young woman whose identity is ambiguous. The ambiguity of Candanbala mirrors that of young women, and both are alternately given freedoms based on parental assumptions about their maturity and virtue and on controls based on perceived risks of scandal. Candanbala’s character vacillates suddenly and dramatically between “freedom” and “captivity,” both literally and karmically. This movement back and forth between

freedom and captivity was likewise articulated among young Jain women who were approaching marriage.


Jain satis do not cross gender lines or the imagined boundary of modesty (purdah); the border crossing for Jain women is between wives and nuns. The tension experienced by young Jain women is that created by the opposing

ideologies of wifehood and renunciation. It is here that Jain sati discourse enters into an arena that falls outside the possibility of Hindu discourse. The possibility of satis as antimarriage ideals (as we see in Sundari’s story and also in the renunciation coda to Candanbala’s) would be in too much conflict with pativrata discourse to be really integrated into the Hindu sati discourse with its absolute and unifocused centrality of pativrata. Harlan draws our attention to this problem in her writings on Mirabai, who does not conform to the pativrata model and is therefore rejected as a potential sati (despite some very compelling mythic parallels) (Harlan 1995a, 209-210, 220-221). There is, as I mentioned earlier, a counterdiscourse of renunciation in Hinduism, but it does not exert pressure on women; women who choose to renounce in Hindu commu-

nities do so against the pressures to comply with the ideology of wifehood (Khandelwal 2004, 181-182). For married Jain women, nunhood exists as an escape clause from marriage, but not one they are likely to invoke. For unmarried young Jain women, nunhood stands in opposition to wifehood, and

both ideologies exert their influence on these women’s body practices and


explorations of what it might mean to be an adult woman. These explorations occur just as the young women are incipient adults being inscribed as future wives by the social expectations of proper body practices. Unable to put these explorations into words, young women strategically deploy apparent compliance with the ideology of wifehood—through the performance of premarital fasts—while creating space for their experiments with embodying nunhood and wifehood in ways that grant themselves the choice between the two. These explorations mark a period of great insecurity about one’s future. The young women who awaited their marriage arrangements often filled their time with religious events and fasts. There were two outbursts of tears associated with the 2001 Candanbala fast, which were not part of the fast breaking proper, and which illustrated the emotional upheaval experienced by young women as they and their cohort of sisters, cousins, and friends are one by one married. Recall the day before the fast breaking, Devguptavijay instructed the participants to imagine being unable to feed Mahavir himself, which should

bring on tears. After his moving description of Candanbala’s lament, one young woman who was performing the fast herself began to sob during the sermon. While outbreaks of emotion are usually socially discouraged, conver-

sations after the sermon repeated that her tears were evidence of her good sentiments (bhadv) and indicated the young woman's high level of virtue because she felt such empathy for Candanbala. The young woman herself told me that she wept because she understood how desperate Candanbala felt when

she was rejected; she then told me about the anxiety she felt about her own marriage arrangements. At the fast breaking the next day, when the line of “Candanbalas” had all given their alms, Devguptavijayji asked a young woman from the audience to come up and offer him alms. She had been incapable of performing the fast (and her parents would not let her), being quite seriously underweight; during the fast-breaking, she had started to sob, because all her cousin-sisters were participating. Devguptavijayji invited her to make the alms offering, because he saw her tears. She entered the hut, had her hands and feet bound and, while weeping, offered him lentils from the winnowing fan. Afterward, everyone seemed to agree that Devguptavijayji had done the right thing in asking her to make the offering, because it was clear that the sentiments (bhav) of both the mendicant and the young woman were correct. It is perhaps a stretch, but

after many conversations with the young woman, it seemed to me that her tears were partly a reflection of being left behind as her cousin-sisters crossed over the threshold into adulthood. By way of a final example that illuminates the tensions of young women’s

embodiment of satis, let me describe a program held in honor of Neminath


and Rajul on Sravan bright fifth in 2006 in Shivajinagar. The program opened

with a brief puja to Neminath followed by a short drama depicting Rajul’s wedding preparations and Nemi’s rejection of her. These were followed by a “Rajul contest” and a Rajul song singing contest. The drama centered around a scene in which Rajul and her mother anticipated Nemi’s arrival while the mother worried that Rajul would be struck down by the evil eye because of her sood fortune. They were informed that Nemi was not coming, and they wept together until Rajul decided to renounce, upon which the drama ended. For the

Rajul contest, girls and young unmarried women were asked to reenact the role of Rajul in some way. For the Rajul song-singing contest, which wrapped up the program, contestants were asked to prepare their favorite hymn associated with Rajul.** The Rajul contest had fourteen contestants: eight girls and six young unmarried women.” The girls mostly recited short speeches or sang short songs and retreated. The young unmarried women wrote and performed more complex dramatic reenactments of the Rajul story; the six performances

by these young women were each at least ten minutes long, fully choreosraphed, and melodramatically rendered. The pathos of Rajul’s experience of being rejected was represented with copious tears running down the young women’s faces while they wept and lamented, slumping to the floor. In each

case, I was struck by the powerful representation of emotion these young women brought to the performance, when these same young women giggled through most of their other public performances. The performances of Rajul seemed to function as a catharsis; several of the young unmarried women in the audience were also overtaken by tears. The emotional outbursts of these young women were very uncharacteristic of Jain programs, and none of the other women present—young girls, married women, or widows—showed any

hint that they might themselves begin to cry. The weeping of these young women and their friends in the audience resonated for me with the tears shed as part of the Candanbala fast, and led me to reconsider the links between these two ritual performances. Candanbala and Rajul are satis who stand at the threshold; Candanbala is described as literally having one foot inside the threshold and one foot outside it, while Rajul is described as standing under the door garland. These two satis represent incipience. They are about to transform: Candanbala into a marriageable princess and then ultimately a nun; and Rajul first into a bride, then, after being rejected, into a kind of widow, and finally, as she prepares to leave, into a nun/sati. These two narratives are the favorites of unmarried young women, who themselves are in the process of transformation. Nearly all the participants in the Candanbala fast and almost half of the Rajul contest contestants

were young unmarried women, who were themselves at the threshold of


marriage and who identified, however briefly, with two satis whose paths are not straight and simple, but complex and seemingly out of their control. Both Candanbala and Rajul take control of their futures (Candanbala by taking the vow to fast and Rajul by deciding to renounce); while standing at the threshold

they recapture their lives and their futures. The young unmarried women themselves choose to reembody these two satis’ transformations at the very time that their own lives are beyond their articulation, control and, perhaps, even understanding. In both cases the reenactments of the sati stories focus on the sati on the threshold. However, the differences are telling; in the Candanbala fast reenactment, the young women break their chains and let loose their hair, materializing as marriageable, while in the Rajul contest, the participants reenact her lamenting and sorrow (and in one case her resolve to renounce, but not the actual transformation into a nun).*° The young women were in each case dramatizing and, especially in the Rajul contest, romanticizing the satis’ agency, but stopped short of identifying with nunhood—an end few of these young women seek. This exploration of nunhood is not a resistance to marriage (as renunciation might be), but rather a complex engagement with the possibility of choice. Though I met several young women who, after they were married, said that they had considered ordination before they were married, all claimed (and | believed them) to be happy with their choice to be wives.*” In fact, they seemed

markedly more content that the other new brides I observed. One young married woman reported to me one day that a nun had asked her whether or not she had ever considered becoming a nun. She told me that she had, in fact, thought long and hard about renunciation and that she had hoped that she would want to be a nun, but that the desire to abandon the world (vairdgya) had

not arisen in her despite her piety. She finally decided that she would not become a nun and became a more willing participant in her marriage arrangements; her marriage was successfully arranged, and she seems a very happy wife. Two young married women who told me that they were unsure about whether they were happy in their newly married lives, on the other hand, had told me that they never considered being nuns at all. There are a number of explanations. Perhaps the period of contemplation of renunciation gives these satisfied young wives a sense of agency that gets them through the difficult

period of adjustment. Or, perhaps, the young women who contemplated ordination were the ones whose marriages were not easily arranged and thus they were grateful that they were able to get married. Or, perhaps, the unhappy wives were those young women whose prospects seemed good enough to make renunciation seem like an unnecessary option and to make promises that marriage could not fulfill.


At the very least, for young women on the threshold of marriage, the Candanbala fast and the Rajul contest seemed to serve as sites for expressing the complex explorations of their choice between marriage and renunciation. As marriage age approaches, young women’s bodies are inscribed as wifely, while they themselves choose to embody both wifely and nunlike roles. This embodiment allows them to communicate through complex choreographies

their anxiety about the transformation of their persons, their ambivalence about these changes, and in the end, their resolve to marry or occasionally to renounce. This sense of agency fuels much of Jain laywomen’s discourse about being wives, and though the histories told by women who have been married for some time often comply with the discourse of wifehood, the choreographies of young unmarried women tell us a story of negotiation and experimentation.

Conclusion The Pleasures of Jain Wifehood

During many years of research, which developed into this study, I was struck by the seeming incongruity between the difficulties and hard work of being a Jain wife and the satisfaction with being wives that women expressed to me over and over again. The pleasures of Jain wifehood seemed linked to the Jain notions of the value of laywomen in general, the agential discourse of wifehood in the Jain tradition, and the texts and rituals that celebrate wifehood. Much of this

book focuses on the ways that Jain women negotiate the seemingly paradoxical imperatives of Jain wifehood’s ideologies: pativrata and liberation. The narrative trajectories of the Jain satis grant laywomen precedents for adapting what is considered meritorious behavior in one context—moksa marg—to being meritorious in another— pativrata and saubhagya. The choice to be a wife, made in the context of powerful tensions between these ideologies and performed in the fasts and rituals associated with Jain satis, results in a rescripting of moksa-marg practices—associated with renunciation—into practices appropriate to wifehood and family. Though these two rest uneasily together, they are woven into a coherent discourse of Jain wifehood. The narrative and rituals associated with the sati Maynasundari best illustrate this process of integration, and were the ones most often named as central to the performance of Jain wifehood. The Ayambil Oli festival—which, it may be recalled, centers around the story of the Maynasundari’s marriage with King Sripal—ranks second only to Paryusan for the expression of Jain normative values as Jains


gather to fast and to venerate the siddhacakra, itself a representation of all that is worthy of worship in Jainism. The significance of the normative value placed

on the Ayambil Oli must be seen side by side with the overt celebration of wifehood and marital happiness that are reenacted and fortified by participation in the festival. Women participating in the Ayambil Oli are conforming fully with normative Jainism and its veneration of liberated beings, mendicants, and the tenets of Jainism; this is not an act of resistance in any way, and yet it serves the individual interests and desires of women in the context of a patriarchal society. The ideal companionate marriage of King Sripal and mahasati Maynasun-

dari and its ritual creation and display at the heart of the Ayambil Oli posit a mandate for wifely virtue. Maynasundari’s ritual practice, of course, brought

her husband and his mother from leper colony to their rightful place as the prosperous rulers of Campa. Insofar as she brings good fortune to her marital family, she is positioned like a Laksmi of the house. Jains, like Hindus, posit the new bride as the goddess Laksmi entering the household (Reynell 1985a, 131). The new bride is auspicious and considered lucky; if prosperity follows the wedding of a son, his wife is often referred to as a Laksmi of the house (gharlaksmt). The Jain bride embodies this conception of Laksmi, but Maynasundari as the perfect Jain wife serves as a dharmapatni; although she certainly brings good fortune and well-being to her new home, she brings these boons through normatively Jain channels by teaching and modeling virtuous behavior, from which each person benefits.’ Through a Jain woman's being a pious role model and her teaching of liberation-directed rituals, she garners marital happiness by improving the virtue of her husband and his family, which earns them merit. Maynasundar1’s liberation-directed worship also works magically with an alchemizing of liberation-directed practices into worldly results. Rather than creating tension, ultimately, in the context of wifehood, the two paths underwrite each others’ legitimacy; the wifely practices of Jain wives (such as the Ayambil Oli or other fasts) result in liberation-directed outcomes, such as karma reduction, and their liberation-directed practices can also result

in wifely merit. For the wife, the satis’ demonstrated potential of liberation integrates liberation-directed practices with their meritorious results both in the here and now of wifehood and an individual wife’s soul’s movement toward

liberation. In this way, the heroic wives of the sati narratives are multivalent, operating as role models for women considering renunciation, who find in the satis psychologically credible stories of decisions to renounce; for any lay person, who finds in the stories models for living virtuously in the world in

ways that reinforce, rather than conflict with, the difficult austerities of Jain virtue; and for the devout wife, who develops an integrated praxis that


simultaneously works toward her liberation and toward her marital well-being. A woman's Jain piety can simultaneously reduce karma, gain merit, and protect the well-being and status of her family, and it is the sati’s multivalent heroic

virtues that allow her this capability of resolving a tension basic to Jain doctrines of virtue.

The choice to be a wife arises out of these tensions, as they are explored and negotiated by unmarried women, who almost always choose to channel the benefits of those rituals toward a good marriage. Throughout the Jain sati

narrative literature, Jain piety is prescribed to prevent or fix the kinds of problems women face in their marriages. Jain women use karma reduction to protect themselves and thereby their husbands in the Rohini fast, and they use the religiomagic practices associated with the siddhacakra yantra to make happy marriages, which in turn allow one to be more religious. The inevitable coda of renunciation or rebirth as a future Jina reminds us that these same practices ultimately lead to the realization of Jain perfection, and that wifehood is no bar to liberation. The integration of these ideologies in sati narratives and rituals creates a coherent—though by no means unified or simple—discourse of Jain wifehood.

Given this coherence, what are the implications for other studies of religious women in South Asia, in other traditions in which there are strong traditions of nunhood, or in any context where competing ideologies shape the discourse of womanhood? By moving away from the focus on resistance to hegemonic discourses, we can begin to examine how women inhabit spaces

within hegemonic discourse. Jain women inhabit many roles: daughter, sister, friend, wife, nun, daughter-in-law, mother, mother-in-law, ritual expert, virtuosa faster, pious devotee. For some women, the transition between identities was difficult, but most moved between these roles with surprising facility, considering the complexity of these conflicting ideological realms (Raheja and

Gold 1994).” Once one is established in a role, the transitions are simpler, because each of the states is stabilized. In periods of instability of roles, such as the time leading up to marriage, periods of marital unhappiness, or periods of

crisis in one’s husband’s health, women use religion to make sense of and suide their transitions through them. Pintchman (2006) suggests that when one Hindu woman’s religious practices failed to protect her and to guide her through her personal tragedy, she attempted to integrate the discourse of devotionalism with the ideology of karmic fate; this integration was less coherent, perhaps, because of the traumatic and tragic nature of that woman's experience and because karma theory is less clearly articulated in the stories that woman told religiously. Writing about Catholic women’s devotion to St. Jude, Orsi (1996, 40-78) illuminates links between the devotion to the


saint of “Hopeless Causes” and the instability of immigrant women’s identities in the postwar period. Similarly, Jain women use sati narratives and the rituals associated with them to draw blueprints to guide them into and through their married lives.

The heroism of religious wives is often unwritten. It is a profoundly difficult process to discipline oneself in the delicate balance of the ideologies that impinge on Jain wives. How do women in other traditions balance the ideologies that enjoin them to uphold apparently contradictory virtues? I would argue that we can only answer this question by exploring the ways that women

inhabit the norms of their tradition. Women do not inhabit these norms accidentally and automatically; their compliance is a discipline, one in which they engage deeply in spite of the known challenges. In her discussion about Muslim women’s piety in Egypt, Mahmood (2005, 29) writes: “Although we have come to associate docility with the abandonment of agency, the term literally implies the malleability required of someone in order for her to be instructed in a particular skill or knowledge—a meaning that carries less a sense of passivity than one of struggle, effort, exertion, and achievement.”

Similar to other disciplines, this docility requires self-reflection, personal vigilance, and an ongoing engagement with the discourse which produces it. The integration of the many benefits of particular Jain worship and the focus on general piety allow women a space in which to perform their wifehood. For example, Jain ritual performances provide a space (physically, socially, and emotionally) for the cultivation of a woman's selfhood (Reynell 2006). The renunciation imperative in Jainism is, then, tempered with the ritual possibilities of achieving Jain selfhood within the chosen identity of wife.

The Joys of Jain Wifehood In my fifteen years of research, I found that Jain women took great pleasure in the joys of wifehood, in spite of occasional frustration with the role of daughter-in-law. (We must take care to not conflate the two, for daughter-inlaw has its discourse of hard work and obedience, in contrast to the wife’s auspiciousness, devotion, and intimacy.) The expression of this pleasure and joy was the emotional center of the annual recitation (called Nemi Vacan) of the Nemanathno Saloko. Near sunset on Sravan bright fifth, most of the married

women (and some widows and soon-to-be married young women) in the Shivajinagar congregation made their way to the temple’s mendicant hostel to participate in this recitation. This recitation was performed in conjunction with the evening confession and was the most widely attended annual event


outside of those associated with the festival of Paryusan and the temple anniversary.” The recitation tells the story of Nemi and Rajul’s engagement, Nemi’s rejection of Rajul, and Rajul’s renunciation. At first glance it appears an unlikely candidate for the celebration of wifehood and marriage, because it

so unambiguously would appear to be a celebration of renunciation. It is, however, closely linked to a number of rituals believed to bless and protect marriages. Several women told me that this text was recited by the married women of their natal families (and, in two cases, the married women of their husband’s families alongside their natal family) at their weddings during the last ritual before the new bride leaves with her husband’s family; the purpose

was to bless the wedding and create an auspicious time for the transfer of a young woman from one house to another, solidifying her identity transforma-

tion. Many women told me that simply hearing the recitation will bless a woman's marital happiness. Likewise, the Saubhagya Paficami fast, whose most significant day of fasting coincides with this recitation, is seen as a powerful fast not only for the long life of a husband but also for a happy marriage.* This story and ritual, then, amplify the conjunction of wifehood and renunciation like no other: in this renunciation story, recited in the context of the rite of confession and expiation on a day of fasting, one encounters a long and detailed enumeration of the joys of married life. It is not a stretch, in fact, to say that these joys are central to the recitation, since the joys of married life take up forty-eight verses (13-60) out of the text’s eighty-two, whereas Nemi’s and Rajul’s renunciations combined (including Rajul’s lament) take up only sixteen

verses (61-76).? In 1994, when I asked women if the contrast in the story between the glories of renunciation and the joys of wifehood struck them as unusual, they did not even understand the question as such. Their puzzled incomprehension at my own puzzlement is, in fact, what ultimately led me into this research. It is only now that I understand how the Nemandathno Saloko and its recitation and reception supports two centers: wifehood and renunciation. The Nemanathno Saloko sets the story of Nemi and Rajul in a thoroughly imagined domestic context with speeches by Nemi’s sisters-in-law, Rukamani and Satyabhama, describing the various tasks that a wife is expected to complete.° These speeches, which take up eleven verses of the poem, are part of an ongoing attempt, begun by their husband, Krsna, to convince Nemi to marry. Krsna’s speech about how he is wasting his youth has just failed; Rukamani then invokes the day-to-day virtues of married life. It is a model of the good behavior of devoted wives, but it also suggests the centrality of wives to the

maintenance of familial well-being and the practice of Jainism. Nemi is ultimately charmed and convinced to marry by the description of wifely acts


and the importance of having someone to perform them, and agrees to marry. Rukamani asks: Without a wife, all is sorrow, who will keep the twelve restraints?” Without having fed each other [gotten married] (parnyda), how can you go on? Who will be in your house to meet people and greet them eracefully? Who will light the stove and who will filter the water? Who will use the rolling pin and board to make food? Who will serve as the threshold of birth and prevent your childlessness?

Who will light the lamp wicks? ... Your pans will never gleam, who will lay out the bedding for you at night? In the morning, who will feed you breads (khakhra) and who will bring the gods their lamps in the evening? To whom will you tell your heart’s secrets? That woman will be your wife.

You will grow old together, all the nations will celebrate. Nemanathno Saloko 21-25 Then, his other sister-in-law, Satyabhama continues: Without the wedding feast whom can you call your own? She will cover herself with the veil and circle the fire with you with jingling anklets. With whom will you talk about your happiness and sorrow? For your own sake, marry this queen, I will not bring you your bathwater forever. Without a wedding feast, how can you have happiness? Who will sing auspicious songs in your house? Nemandathno Saloko 27-29

At the moment when Nemi accepts the idea of marriage, though the women

participating in the recitation know he will ultimately reject Rajul, all is

anticipated happiness. Women at the recitations that I observed in 1994, 2000, 2001, 2006, and 2008 laughed and smiled at these descriptions

of their own daily lives, and the sheer pleasure of the text made them recite together with a degree of enthusiasm and attention rarely found in Jain recitations, where rapid recitation is the norm. In a later section— foreshadowed by Satyabhama’s description of Nemi’s future wife’s body—the


text lists all the jewelry and clothing his wife should be given as her pallu. For example: “A silk veil and a gharchola sari, she’ll need a yellow Patola sari, and those shimmering veils that look so lovely, she’ll want to wear them for DaSera and Divalt” (Nemanathno Saloko 38). The gifts from a husband to a wife are the gifts of allurement and beauty (not merely gifts of economic exchange), which mark the future intimacy between Nemi and his wife. The ornaments listed are the same ones that the women reciting cherish in their own property. Women were quick to notice new jewelry or saris worn by others in the congregation, and always commented on the beauty of a new item; the owner would name its source, often blushing if it came from her husband. In 1994, as the recitation named a particular kind of earrings, many turned to look at a young wife who just that day was wearing that very kind—a gift, she had told her friends before the recitation, from her husband. Though clothing and jewelry are certainly markers of familial prestige, they are just as clearly special marks of affection and intimacy between the giver and herself. Nemi’ss response—‘“Having heard all of this, Nemi smiled and the words of

his sisters-in-law stayed in his heart’ (Nemanathno Saloko 42)—illustrates how their appeals populate his mind with life in a household: domesticity, tenderness, physical and emotional intimacy. Nemi’s resistance anticipates his renunciation, but his change of heart and agreement to marry makes very real that which he renounces—he is not renouncing an abstraction, but a concretely evoked and alluring domestic scene. Since everyone reciting and listening to the Nemandathno Saloko knows he will renounce each one of these markers of domestic bliss, the particularity of the list functions to heighten the heroic nature of Nemi’s renunciation of such joys. However, as in the mutually reinforcing dynamic of renunciation and wifehood generally, his impending

renunciation also functions to heighten the pleasures of wifehood. In 2006 one married woman pointedly told me that even Nemi—that is, even one who renounced it all—recognized the importance of a wife’s contributions to a happy home. Though women rarely talk about their sexual, or even emotional, intimacy with their husbands in front of elder female relatives or in any public setting,

there were ways of displaying that intimacy through dress, gesture, and oblique conversation. On two occasions I observed a game (familiar to all attending) in which a wife does an imitation of her husband for the crowd of onlookers. In both cases it was played in large groups of women from two

different extended families. The familiarity with this game was clear: no instructions were given (just the “name” of the game: do his work/act like him teonu kam karo), and many women had a “set piece” imitation of their husband ready to hand. This set piece may have arisen in prior performances;


or, perhaps, the women performed a sequence of their husbands’ actions, which form a part of their intimate landscape. The degree to which a woman could invoke the image of her husband was rewarded with laughter, cheering, and exuberant joking and hand-slapping. Older women had the distinct advantage, having spent years observing their husbands in action, and some of the most evocative and popular imitations by these women were of husbands in private moments (asking his wife to come sit with him or needing her help setting dressed). When it was my turn, I was at a loss, but within moments the

women were calling out suggestions to me; the suggestion that everyone cheered was that I perform the voice of my husband when he called up to our flat from downstairs. Some of the women knew that I found my husband’s voice to be especially pleasing: at the time it touched me that they chose such an image. As I watched the rest of the game (and in the second time I played it),

I saw these wives reproducing aspects of their husbands that they loved intimately and deeply: one woman messed up her hair and imitated her husband waking in the morning, and another mimed the way her husband happily returns from work. This game, like other celebrations of wifehood, provided an opportunity for women to revel in the joys of wifehood and its assumed intimacy, sexuality, and pleasure. This pleasure is an expected and required—for the happy continuity of the male lineage—part of marriage. One devotional song I heard on several occasions and have here transcribed from my recordings at the 2006 Rajul song contest speaks of Rajul’s desire for Nemi. Rajul speaks: O, sisters, sing songs, Nemiji is gorgeous! Bang the drum, play the shenai, everyone sing the songs! Sing wedding songs, my heart is flooded with the nine oceans. O, brothers, go see that the wedding canopy is tied up properly. Nemkumar’s people have come, the perfume of roses floats in the air.

O, sisters, I’m in love, Nem has come, he has come looking so lovely!

Rajul’s girlfriends sing together laughingly: “He is a wrestler!” It’s happened in my heart, the secret river of love’s joy. O, sing songs to celebrate the wedding! This song was sung with pleasure, not with anticipatory sorrow of his impending

renunciation; married women, unlike the unmarried women who performed Rajul’s laments (in chapter 6), chose to portray Rajul’s happiness. Knowing that


Rajul’s happiness is fleeting, this choice may reflect the knowledge that Jain women have about the potential transience of their joys. They capture what, in the minds of those who have chosen wifehood over renunciation, is Rajul’s moment of greatest happiness. This may be wish fulfillment; but the desires behind the wish are real, and so too are the pleasures of its expression.

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1. I found this text originally in Sudharas Stavan Sangrah. The Sol Satino Chand was written by Udayratna sometime between 1692 and 1743. The full text of this hymn, its translation, and history are given in Kelting (2006d). 2. Though the work of some Indian feminists have made the term sati more complex, many feminists inherit the colonial and Orientalist usage. The conflation of sati with Hindu widow immolation obscures its intricacy. For example, not all satis die with their husbands, nor are they all widows, and finally not all satis are Hindu. There is some evidence, however, of Jain women immolating themselves on their husband’s funeral pyre, which is discussed later in this chapter and in chapter 5. 3. This census figure is problematic as a list of all Jains, because many Jains do not distinguish themselves from Hindus in this communal way. Fliigel (2006, 313-314 and 367-368 nn. 11-18) discusses the challenge of determining Jain lay populations and sectarian identities. 4. On Jain castes, see Babb (2004); Banks (1992, 48-74, 153-159); Cort (2001b, 57-60; 2004). I have observed that in contexts in which Gujarati Jains are using self-deprecating humor among themselves, they occasionally refer to themselves as Baniyas to indicate the negative implications of their identity or, perhaps more subtly, their negative views on Marwari Jains. Babb (2004, 36) points out that Rajasthani merchant castes sometimes reject the term Baniyd, preferring the term Mahajan (great person). 5. See Balbir 1993; Cort 20o01b, 122-127; and Laidlaw 1995, 195-215 for discussions of the role of the avasyaka as an organizing principle of Jain religious practice.

182 NOTES TO PAGES 5-7 6. There are a few texts claimed by both Svetimbar and Digambar Jains— including Umasvati’s Tattvartha Sutra and Manatunga’s Bhaktamar Stotra—but beyond the similarities in the basic cosmologies and ontologies, these two sects are divided. 7. Itis difficult to estimate the numbers of Jain laity associated with any of the Jain lineages, but the mendicant lineage statistics as reported in 1996 for Svetambar and Digambar lineages (Fliigel 2006) support this claim. The mendicant lineages give Svetambar (10,350) divided into Murtiptijak (6,3'73-1,450 monks and 4,923 nuns), Sthanakavasi (3,223-533 monks and 2,690 nuns), Terapanthi (754-169 monks and 584 nuns), and Digambar (539-326 monks and 213 nuns). The further subdivisions of the Martipijak are relevant for this study, including: Tapa Gacch (5,568-1,278 monks and 4,821 nuns), Vimala Gacch (42-19 monks and 23 nuns), Aficala Gacch (252-39 monks and 213 nuns), Khartar Gacch (224-19 monks and 205 nuns), Tristuti Gacch (175-47 monks and 128 nuns), Parsvacandra Gacch (72-8 monks and 64 nuns), and others (40-40 monks and no nuns). 8. See the publications of Peter Fliigel and Anne Vallely for descriptions and analyses of Terapanthi Jainism. 9. In the sense of having a separate identity from other Jain mendicant lineages, the Tapa Gacch scholar-monks see the Tapa Gacch as the mainstream Svetimbar monastic lineage. Tapa Gacch mendicants see themselves—for some compelling reasons—as being in the direct lineage of Sudharman, a disciple of the Jina Mahavir. The epithet Tapa (ascetic) was granted to Jagaccandrastri (circa 1228) in recognition of his austerities and was later applied to the monastic lineage of which he was the leader, eventually replacing the former name, the Vata Gacch. The history of the Tapa Gacch tells us much about the development of Jainism in the medieval period, which sets the stage for dominance of the Tapa Gacch in the contemporary period. For an excellent history of this mendicant lineage, see Dundas (2007). to. For more about Jain karma theory, see the work of Kristi Wiley, in particular her dissertation “Aghatiya Karmas” (2000). See also Jerome Bauer, “Karma and Control: The Prodigious and the Auspicious in Svetimbara Jaina Canonical Mythology,” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1998; Helmuth von Glassnapp, Doctrine of Karman in Jain Philosophy, translated by G. Barry (Varanasi: P. V. Institute, 1991); W. J. Johnson, Harmless Souls: Karmic Bondage and Religious Change in Early Jainism with Special Reference to Umasvati and Kundakunda (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1995); and, for briefer treatments, see Dundas (2002, 93-110) and Folkert (1993, 7-10, 115-121, 318-337). 11. T. N. Madan (1987) provides a corrective to the scholarship on Hinduism, which

privileges liberation-directed models of religiosity over the domestic models of wellbeing. This challenge has inspired a number of studies on domestic Hinduism and, most significantly, John Cort’s work (2001b) on well-being. 12. Jains believe that in this part of the cycle of time, avasarpini, liberation is not possible. See Dundas (2002, 20-21). 13. This is a Svetambar narrative. Digambar Jains assert that Mallinath is male and that female bodies cannot achieve enlightenment. See Jaini (1991) for an extensive examination of the Svetambar and Digambar debates over women’s spiritual liberation.

NOTES TO PAGES 7-12 183 14. The other story is that of Sthtlibhadra, who resists the temptation of the courtesan with whom he is forced to live as a test. Other stories of celibacy focus on women who resist the sexual aggression or temptations offered by men. See Fohr (2001) for an extended discussion on the discourse of celibacy among Jain nuns. 15. Sati stories make up approximate half of the text of the Bharatesvar Bahubali Vrttih, a narrative collection that is recommended as part of the proper curriculum for monks (Cort 2001a). Sermon collections, such as Dharmadasagani’s Upadesamala and Acarya Vijayalaksmisiri’s Upadesaprasdada, or Virat’s contemporary commentary on Vijayalaksmistris work, Upadesaprasad Mahagranth, are fruitful places for seeing the ethical and religious contexts in which monks place these narratives. 16. There are occasional siddhas who did not renounce (for example, Marudevi, the mother of Adinath), but they are rarely venerated. 17. Suri is a title that means “learned man’ and that indicates that the monk has been ordained an dcarya or leader of a group or sect of Jain mendicants. 18. Paruysan begins on twelfth/thirteenth day of the dark fortnight of Sravan and ends on the fourth/fifth day of the bright half of Bhadarva. The fifth day is marked with the celebration of Mahavir’s birth, and the last day, Samvatsari, is the day of the annual rite of confession and expiation. The Tapa Gacch begin the festival on Sravan dark twelfth while other Svetimbar Jains begin on Sravan dark thirteenth. See Banks (1991 and 1992, 176-184); Cort (2001b, 147-162); Folkert (1993, 189-211); and Laidlaw (1995, 2:75-286) for descriptions of this festival. 19. There are two Oli festivals: Aso bright seventh to fifteenth and Caitra bright seventh to fifteenth. The Aso Oli is considered more important, and more Jains participate in the austerities and celebrations then. Chapter 4 will describe and analyze this festival. See Banks (1992, 91-94); Cort (2001b, 162-163); Kelting (2001b, 44-47); Laidlaw (1995, 221-229); and Reynell (1985a, 127-130) for other descriptions of this festival.

20. The Divali cluster begins with the five days of Divali: (1) Aso dark thirteenth: Dhan Teras, on which day Jains worship wealth as a form of the goddess Laksmi; (2) Aso dark fourteenth: Kali Caudas, which is a day of inauspiciousness on which some Jains perform worship to the tantric deity Ghantakarn Mahavir; (3) the new moon day: marked with the worship of Laksmi as Sarada and of familial account books for wellbeing; it is also the day on which Mahavir attained liberation; (4) Kartak bright first: the first day of the new year. The day is started with fireworks and auspicious prayers (mangalik); and (5) Kartak bright second: Bhai Bij, on which married sisters feed and bless their brothers. The Divali cluster continues until Kartak bright fifth: Jnan Pancami, when Jains worship knowledge. See Cort (2001b, 164-175) and Laidlaw (1995, 304-387) for descriptions of this festival cluster. 21. Cort (2004, 94-98) reports a similar process among Jains in Gujarat (including movement toward Mumbai). 22. There are two other major identity themes in the Jain sati narrative genre: nunhood and motherhood. Fohr (2001) discusses the role of sati narratives in the discourse of nunhood. The narratives of motherhood are the focus of my next major research project.

184 NOTES TO PAGES 14-17 23. See Cort (2001b and 2002) for critiques of the assumption that Jain mendicants are hostile to merit-making and devotional activities. Nor did scholar monks see these activities as anathema to the Jain life or the path toward liberation. Though the lives of mendicants center around liberation-directed Jainism, the monks and nuns recognize that the concerns of lay Jains are legitimate ones. There are also some unsigned contemporary hymns and songs, whose authors could be monks, nuns, or lay people, though they are unlikely to be prominent monks, who would most likely use a signature line in their work. In the twentieth century, there seems to be an increase in anonymous devotional texts. Digambar Jains have also seen a rise in texts without the signature line (John Cort, personal correspondence). 24. Though occasionally people spoke of a ritual formula for a Jain wedding, no one in Pune seems to have ever actually used this wedding as a model. North Indian Digambar Jains have developed a Jain wedding, and it is used in Jaipur; the Jain wedding is less expensive than the Hindu, which may be why it has been chosen— especially by poorer Jain families (John Cort, personal communication). In Pune, poorer families have used group weddings to save money, but the rites of these weddings appear to be a slightly Jainized version of the Hindu wedding. Banks (1992, 78 n. 3) confirms the use of Hindu wedding rites by Jains. In my observation, Jain weddings have only a few significant differences from Hindu weddings among caste/class cohorts: (1) the use of Jain mantras and auspicious texts; (2) the omission of the rites of bathing the bride in the remnants of the groom's prewedding bath (part of the pithi cola or haldi); (3) the omission of the rite of applying vermilion to the part of the bride’s hair (sindur dan); and, (4) differing emphases on what constitutes the moment of marriage. 25. See the following: Bennett 1983; Dhruvarajan 1989; Harlan 1992 and 19952; Leslie 1989; McDaniel 2003; McGee 1987; Menski 1991; Menzies 2004; Minturn 1993; Reynolds 1980. 26. Ahearn (2001, 24) notes that this practice is diminishing. 27. The importance of producing legitimate heirs and absolute faithfulness to the husband is certainly present far beyond the region of South Asia, but pativrata is associated with characteristic behaviors and practices (such as ghtinghat, fasting for one’s husband’s health, dying with one’s husband). 28. There are also tensions between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law or among daughters-in-law. These tensions are often blamed for the division of joint families into smaller units. It is unclear to what extent these tensions are actually the cause of divisions, or to what extent these tensions are a manifestation of the tensions between brothers or between sons and their parents, or to what extent tensions between brothers are blamed on their wives in order to maintain the discourse of brotherly solidarity. In all cases, the trope of affinal women who disrupt the household is reiterated by men and women alike when describing familial conflict. 29. Fohr (2001) found that chastity/celibacy tests were the primary motif in the sati narratives as told by the Jain nuns with whom she conducted her research. The motif of celibacy is certainly important for Jain sati narratives, and is part of the narrative tradition as it is transmitted to and by Jain laywomen; however, for Jain laywomen who share with Hindu women in the discourse of pativrata and satis, chastity

NOTES TO PAGES 19-21 = 185

becomes more central than celibacy. This prioritizing is clear in the repertoire choices and the variations within narrative retellings of Jain laywomen versus those of Jain nuns found in Fohr (2001) and Vallely (2002). 30. Widows attended weddings, however, and even were present at the joining of the hands (haste milap) of daughters. In fact, I observed that widows attended all social and religious functions, though they often sat in another room during particularly auspicious rites associated with daughters-in-law. 31. In particular, those rituals in which the sponsors identify with Indra and Indrani or Sripal and Maynasundari. However, if there is a married couple performing the ritual, there is no bar to a widow or any other person from joining in with them. These rituals will be discussed later, in chapter 4. 32. See Dhruvarajan 1989, 91-97; Minturn 1993, 221-245; Wadley 1995, 99-115. The experience of Hindu widows in some communities, especially those who permit widow remarriage or the ownership of property by widows, is considerably less bleak than that of upper-caste Hindu women (Chowdhry 1994, 74-120, 356-372; Dhruvajan 1989, 95-96). 33. I did hear talk about one family whose aged widowed matriarch did not often get brought to temple events; however, when I visited her unannounced she was dressed in freshly cleaned and pressed clothing and was having a normal, albeit piously plain, Jain meal. The fact that there was talk about how she was treated indicated both the potential for abuse and the communal surveillance over the treatment of widows. 34. See Kelting (2003) and (2006d, 191). The one significant exception to this rule is the mothers of the Jinas, who are understood to be virtuous but who are never referred to as satis (Kelting 2003a, 233-237). Likewise, with the exception of the use of the term mahdasati for Svetambar Sthanakavasi nuns, no one ever used this term to refer to a living person or any person known outside of Jain narrative literature. 35. There were some Jains—mostly laymen—who spoke of satimata veneration and the rite of dying with one’s husband as backward. They did this out of both moral conviction—these were often some of the more religious Jain laymen—and out of a sense of social superiority as modern, urban, educated middle- and upper-middle-class Indians (though by no means secularists). 36. The term sallekhana is used by Digambar Jains. The vow to fast to death is an ideal death and recognized as admirable for those Jains who, for reasons ranging from debilitating illness or impending death, are unable to fulfill their Jain practices (Laidlaw 2005, 186). This “good death” simultaneously reclaims the agency of the vow taker while also demonstrating the individual's movement away from passion and activity. Laidlaw further juxtaposes this movement away from passion in the Jain performance of the vow to fast to death with the passionate desire to die with one’s husband attributed to the Hindu satimata (Laidlaw 2005, 193). For a discussion of fasting to death and conflicting positions and discourses within Jainism, see Vallely (2002, IIQ—139).

37. Leslie (I991, 46) used the variations in transliteration in order to maintain a distinction between the discourse of “suttee” among British and Indian colonial writers and “sati” discourse among Hindus who venerate these women.

186 NOTES TO PAGES 21-27 38. Ifa woman does not hear of her husband’s death until after his cremation, a sati may choose be cremated in a separate pyre with an object representing her husband, and this rite is called “going after” (anugamana) or “dying after” (anumarana). 39. Nandita Goswami’s (2003) Ph.D. dissertation gives an extensive analysis of the Roop Kanwar sati death as a site for examining notions of subjectivity. 40. Only Savitri’s husband dies before her, and she successfully brings him back to life. One could read the Savitri story as a symbolic sati death-she follows him into death—and a recommendation to do so, since by doing so she is able to save his life; however, this reading requires one to read her husband’s return to life metaphorically, and when the story was told to me, he was always described as literally returning from the dead. 41. See Courtright (1995, 190-202), Harlan (1992, 172-179), and WeinbergerThomas 1999, 28-32. There are some interesting cases in which a satimata’s death was linked not to her husband’s death but to the death of some other relative: son, nephew, brother, father-in-law (Weinberger-Thomas 2000, 29). These are not unheard of, but the discourse of satis still centers around their links to pativrata and the usual model of dedication to their husbands. 42. The best-known of the living satimatas was Bala Satimata, who was an object of worship both in life and after her death (some forty-three years after her second failed sati death) and whose life is immortalized by her devotees; see Bala Sati Mata Lilamrt (1995).

43. Figueira (1994) is an excellent analysis of European representations of the sati in romantic literature. 44. As Indian feminist activists, they also created an analysis of political responses (both pro- and anti-sati) and suggest a set of actions intended to prevent future satis (Kishwar and Vanita 1999). 45. The most sophisticated argument in support of the modernity versus tradition model is put forth by Ashis Nandy (1994), but this model for understanding sati discourse is convincingly challenged by Veena Oldenburg (1994a). 46. In this case, she focuses on Marwari merchants, in particular the Agarwals who venerate Rani Sati, but this is the same caste group to which Marwari Jains belong. See Babb (2004) for an excellent evaluation of the interwoven caste narrative traditions of these three groups. 47. See Hardgrove (2004, 251, 271-272), Harlan (1992, 46-48), Noble and Sankhyan (1994, 304-370), and Weinberger-Thomas (2000, 116). 48. Even though there is inscriptional evidence in Bikaner that some Jain women have died as satis on their husbands’ funeral pyres (Somani 1982, 78-80), there is no contemporary evidence of their worship as satimatas (Anastasia Norton-Piliavski, personal correspondence). 49. See, for example, Erndl (1993), Gold (I995a and 2000), Hancock (1999), Minturn (1993), Pearson (1996), and Raheja and Gold (1994). 50. This is more than just a statement of normative values because, of course, no vows may be taken without the express permission of a senior member (usually mother-in-law and/or husband) of the affinal family. Since most long vows prevent a

NOTES TO PAGES 27-36 = 187 woman from performing housework, and they all require a vow of celibacy for the duration of the vow, young wives are discouraged from taking vows that will prevent them from fulfilling what are believed to be their marital duties. 51. Jains have a fairly nuanced understanding of links between health, nutrition, and allopathic medicine due to the community's relatively high level of education and the widespread presence of medical professionals within the community. For example, when one man had a mild heart attack after years of high blood pressure, the general consensus was that he himself ignored the doctor’s advice about lowering his salt intake. His wife had performed many fasts to promote marital well-being. In the many conversations about what should be done about this mar’s health, no one suggested that his wife had failed to protect him ritually or nutritionally. When I suggested that someone should keep him from salting his food, other women dismissed this as impossible because he liked salt and a wife cannot deny favorite foods to her husband. Even when women are acting on doctor’s medical advice (particularly concerning nutrition—low salt, low fat, no sugar, etc.), they find it hard to deny these high-status ingredients (salt, ghee, sugar) from their husbands, because of both the social pressure to give the “best food” to their husband and also their own husband’s desire to eat these foods. It is the husband’s desires for unhealthy foods, not his wife’s willingness to indulge this desire, that was faulted. 52. Jains believe that all living beings have souls. Bhavya souls are those souls that are capable of attaining enlightenment. Jains also recognize the further constrained capacity of insects or plants to act. Further, Jain karma theory asserts that not all souls are capable of enlightenment. Abhavya souls are eternally incapable of achieving enlightenment because they are incapable of removing their mohaniya karma and attaining the correct view (samyak darsan) that is necessary for acting in accordance with Jain teachings. However limited these souls may be in terms of enlightenment, they are still capable of agential choice and may be born in any of the four states of existence. On the other hand, nigoda are one-sensed beings. Nitya-nigodas house souls, which have always been nigodas and therefore have almost no karmic history. It is unclear why nigoda souls emerge out of this state into higher births, but it is not because they acted in accordance with Jain teachings, for which one must have five senses. The context of nigoda souls is the only one in which Jain constructs of universal agency are seriously challenged. See Jaini (1977, 1980, and 2003) for extensive discussions about notions of bhavya and abhavya souls and nigodas. Thanks to Kristi Wiley for clarifying Jain concepts of agency for me. 53. My thinking on selfhood here is indebted to Reynell’s careful analysis (2006) of Jain personhood and selfhood.


1. Some Jain laywomen perform protective rites that they themselves understood to be Hindu. I knew a few women who worshiped Ganapati, the plant-goddess Tulsi, and the powerful Saiva goddess Ambaji, and still more who routinely visited Vaisnav goddess temples (especially Mahalaksmi) for blessings related to their saubhagya. Jain

188 NOTES TO PAGES 36-40 laywomen also relied on practices they shared with other South Asian communities related to lineage goddesses and the evil eye to further protect those whose health and welfare are under their purview. These strategies did not rest well within Jain normative discourse, because these practices rely on either merit transfer or the blessings of Hindu, rather than Jain, divinities. Once I observed this pointedly expressed; a Jain woman offered to bless two Jain women with kunkum when they rose to leave her house, but both women refused the kunkum because it had been blessed by the Saiva goddess Ambaji. 2. I borrow the language of maintenance rites from Mary McGee (1987, 73-74). 3. This telling is based on oral tellings and augmented with details such as names from the popular written version in Mahdasati, Vol. 1, no date, I-20. 4. The scholarship that describes Hindu women performing rituals on behalf of their husbands is extensive. For studies of saubhagya fasts, see, for example, McDaniel (2003), McGee (1987 and 1991), Menzies (2004), Narayan (1997), Reynolds (1980), and Tewari (1991). For rituals in addition to fasting, see Hancock (1999), Harlan (1992), and Leslie (1989). Scholars have increasingly complexified what it might mean for a woman to act to protect her husband in the greater context of their ritual acts, especially those acts which benefit the woman more directly; see Gold (19 95b), Minturn (1993), Pearson (1996), and Pintchman (2005, 2007). 5. Jains understand the present era to be part of the regressive cycle of time, avasarpini, in which moksa is not possible from the earth. 6. In this way, the intention of doing is constructed as an act—thinking—rather than a state of mind. According to common understandings of Jain karma, the maximum karma binds when one does an act because one thinks of, speaks of, and then does an act. Of course, these models of karma binding work for both merit (punya) and demerit (pap), and thus one should strive to do good acts and to avoid any engagement with bad acts. Finally, the location of one’s birth (earth, hell, heaven, etc.) and the length of one’s life are determined at a particular point in one’s past life and cannot be altered by the acts of others (Wiley 2003). Wiley did find two examples in which the length of the next birth in hell was modified, but these proved to be exceptions from the rule of dyus karma, and one was in a Digambar text (Wiley 2003, 350-351). Svetimbar texts offered less flexibility in this matter. 7. The Acaranga Sutra ( uses this paradigm to categorize ways of binding demerit. The model is widely understood in Jain communities and reproduced in mendicant sermons both for demerit and merit. 8. The same holds true in reverse. The greatest amount of demerit is bound by doing something bad oneself, and the least from appreciating someone’s bad act. 9. The effects of one’s merit on others was explained to Reynell (1985a, 126-127) as being like the spreading scent of incense, which extends beyond the person who lights it. Thus Reynell’s informant argues for the importance of appreciation of good acts as a source of merit. 10. Cort (2003, 142) draws the reader’s attention to the fact that the Sripal and Maynasundari story, which serves as a charter for the Navpad Oli fast, centers around the merit transfer of a wife’s merit from performing the Navpad Oli fast to her living

NOTES TO PAGES 42-44 189 husband. This most popular version of the Srip4l story, the Sripal Rajdno Ras, was written by two of the leading monks of the Tapa Gacch, including the scholar monk YaSovijayji, reminding us that this is not an obscure or unorthodox text. 11. The closing rites do not require one to be in special puja clothes, which is one of the main reasons given to me for why men were willing to come perform this ritual. See Kelting (2001b, 126-130) for a discussion of puja clothes. 12. In an interesting twist, Jain merchants in Pune were often well aware of the many Hindu holidays and fast dates for which they must have the proper supplies on display, but were unclear about the timings of Jain holidays beyond the very largest of festivals. 13. Reynell (1985a, 139) writes that because the merit and sin of the husband can have a financial and social impact on the whole family, a woman’s merit can offset the sin of her husband. This is not necessarily by decreasing the husband’s sin, but rather by increasing the family’s merit. This could take the form of merit transfer, but it is not necessary for a woman to transfer her merit in order to improve the lot of her family; a woman can utilize her own merit to improve her own conditions, which would ultimately improve the conditions of anyone whose well-being is linked to hers. 14. Among the Terapanthi Jains, teaching Jainism is the only truly compassionate act (Vallely 2002, 85). Laidlaw (1995, 78) reports a similar view among Khartar Gacch Jains in Jaipur. I have never heard that view espoused among lay Jains in Pune, though I have heard occasional monks propose it. 15. In 2008, a monk in residence in Pune sponsored an exam contest on Jain knowledge in which there was the question: “Who is a person’s most important guru?” and the correct answer was “Ma” (one’s own mother), suggesting that the idea of mother as a key teacher is normative and valued. 16. Several women assured me that they never asked guardian deities for anything for themselves, but only asked for blessings for others, indicating their selflessness. This reads as a reversal of the self-focused understanding of karma-based practices. 17. The popularity of these deities has overridden the traditional links of particular deities with particular Jinas. For example, PadmaAvati is traditionally linked to temples in which Parsvanath is the main deity, but she is now so popular that she is often installed in temples with other Jinas as the central deity. In Shivajinagar, Padmavati and Nakoda Bheruji (a ksetrapal, not a yaksa) are installed as guardians along with Ghantakarn Mahavir and Manibhadra in side niches, even though the central image is Ajitnath. There are also distinctions between the yaksis and yaksas (which include the goddesses Padmavati, Ambika, and Cakresvari, and the gods Gomukha and Dharanendra) and the ksetrapals (such as Bheruji) who protect places, and virs (the nonliberated heroes of Jainism) such as Manibhadra and Ghantakarn Mahavir. In addition, there are deities who protect the monastic lineages Ambika and Bheruji for the Khartar Gacch and Manibhadra for the Tapa Gacch. Finally, there are deities associated with specific places—for example, Sankheévar Padmavati who protects the Sankesvar Parévanath Temple in Sankheévar, Gujarat, and Padmamani (Manibhadra) in Pabal, Maharashtra— who serve as regional protector deities for Jains who identify with the regions that they oversee.

I9Q0 NOTES TO PAGES 44-46 18. See Babb (1996, 102-136), Humphrey and Laidlaw (1994, 21-24), Laidlaw (1995, 69-80), and Reynell (1985a, 130). Though the Jains I worked with occasionally went to the Dadawadi Mandir, which has the images of the Dadagurus installed in a shrine, I never saw particular attention them as agents of worldly well-being, nor did anyone ever name the Dadagurus as beings they worshiped. The overwhelmingly Tapa Gacch identity of the ritual culture of Shivajinagar Jains meant that the Dadagurus were only referenced as a slightly exotic practice of other Jains. The elevation of the guru to an object of worship is particularly resisted among Tapa Gacch Jains, but we see the centrality of the veneration and worship of Tulsi Acarya among Terapanthi Jains (Vallely 2002, 171-181, 188-194, 218-221). 19. Women did not speak of failed requests. I suspect it is because the vows were often framed in open-ended ways, which left room for the efficacy to be reconfigured. It may also be that to recognize a failed vow is to recognize some flaw in one’s worship. 20. Wrist amulets of a string tied around a rolled-up piece of red fabric are called generically “protective bundle” (raksdpotli), regardless of the sources of the blessing, suggesting the centrality of them as protective amulets; the amulets are blessed by Jain mendicants with a variety of mantras. Threads tied around the neck were referred to by the name of the deity whose blessing is tied into the knots on the necklace—for example, Padmavati necklace (har) or string (dori/nadi). If there is a metal amulet attached to the thread, the necklace was referred to by the image on the amulet—for example, siddhacakra yantra or Bhaktamar Stotra yantra. This differs from the red and yellow tie-dyed thread (ndddachadi) tied around the wrists of those who perform a ritual; these tie-dyed threads mark the performers of a ritual and therefore the immediate beneficiaries of a ritual, and are not transferable to others who have not performed the ritual. 21. It is seen as the particular province of mothers and wives to distribute these amulets, and not sisters or daughters. The particular blessings of sisters and mothers are in many respects the most powerful-lasting a year (Raksa Bandhan) or a lifetime (wedding rites). I do not discuss these here because my focus is on women acting as wives rather than as sisters or mothers. Although sisters certainly carry important protective roles in contexts more South Asian and less particularly Jain (such as Raksa Bandhan), in most Jain contexts protection is carried by married women: mothers and wives. In addition to Raksa Bandhan (on Sravan Panam or Sravan full moon, also called Rakhi Panam), which was performed universally among Jains in my observation, there is a particular fast—-the Bij fast-which protects brothers. The fast begins on Brother Second (Bhai Byj on Kartak bright second) a day on which married sisters bless and feed their brothers. At Jain weddings, as in Hindu weddings, sisters are central to the protection of the groom and perform many of the protective rites, including the lineage goddess worship (kuldevi puja). The centrality of sisters and father’s sisters (pho?) ata wedding is as striking as the relatively low profile taken by the parents of the groom. Still, at the wedding the importance of auspicious wives

cannot be underestimated. All blessings are performed by married sisters and married aunts. Unmarried sisters do not perform the protective rites. 22. A monk may bless a whole bowl filled with amulets, or the attendees at a puja may tie knots in threads while mantras are being recited, effectively tying the mantra into the knot.

NOTES TO PAGES 46-49 IQI 23. The praksal from the siddhacakra and the Navpad and Siddhacakra Mahapujas will be discussed further in chapter 4. 24. See Babb (1996, 85), Humphrey and Laidlaw (1994, 183; 1995, 70). Laidlaw (I995, 70-71) mentions lay Jains drinking praksal knowing, however, that they should not. I never observed or heard of this practice in Pune, but if one were to do this they would probably do it in private, given the prohibition. 25. Though Jains are adamant that the offerings made in the temple are not returned as blessed food, there are some objects that appear to act like prasad by carrying blessings to the believer (Babb 1996, 94-96). 26. Other scholars have noted this belief; see Babb (1996, 65). 27. Tewari (1991, 7-8), too, mentions the social aspect of fasting along with the importance of fasts as protective rites. 28. See Kelting (20o1b, 46-48, 63-64) and Reynell (1985a, 133-136) for more about the Aksaynidhi fast. 29. Reynell also names the Kartak Pinam fast as one performed exclusively by women, but the fruits of this fast appear to be directed at liberation (Reynell 1985a, 207-208). 30. We can see how the acts match up with the six obligatory acts (dvasyak). This fast requires: (1) meditation (sémayik), (2) daily worship (caturvimsati-stava), (3) (kaussagg), (4) veneration of mendicants (guruvandan), (5) confession and expiation (pratikraman), and (6) vows to fast (pacckkhan). See Balbir (1993), Cort (2001b, 122-127), Dundas (2002, 169-173), and Williams (1963, 184-215), for discussions of the six obligatory practices. 31. This fast can only be performed by women; men are enjoined to perform a parallel but different fast. The fasting instructions read: “Husbands should perform the Agadh fast. (This fast suggests living like a monk [posadh] and full fasts. However, if one cannot live like a monk, then do not begin this fast.)” (Taporatna Mahodadhi, 114-115). Laidlaw (1995, 224) writes of the Rohini fast as a women’s fast in his observations, as well. In her introduction to her translation of the RohiniAsokacandrakatha, Helen Johnson (1948, 168) also notes that although the story suggests that both men and women perform the vow, only women perform the Rohini fast. 32. Rohini is the fourth of the twenty-seven naksatra (lunar houses) and is shaped like a cart. It occurs in twenty-seven-lunar-day cycles, which are recorded in Jain ritual calendars (pancdang), based on the location of the moon in the constellations. The naksatra cycle is a day or two shorter than the cycle of new moon to new moon, and thus moves against the standard lunar calendar. The rohini naksatra is additionally governed by the moon (not all the naksatras are) and is seen as especially auspicious; rites performed on this date will lead to prosperity. 33. All fasting complexes will gain a certain measure of merit for the performer, but these fasts are particularly good for extending that merit beyond the performer to include her husband, children, and other family members. 34. In the introduction to her translation of the Rohini-Asokacandrakatha, Johnson describes the celebration that marks the end of the fast with gifts to the temple, the

I92 NOTES TO PAGES 50-52 monks, and also to the congregation, in addition to a large worship ceremony directed toward the Jina Vasuptijya and a congregational meal (1948, 168). 35. Laidlaw points out that Rohini is also the name of the first of the Mahavidyadevistantric goddesses who protect knowledge (Laidlaw 1995, 224). Although this connection may have been significant at some point, no one ever suggested to me that the benefits of the Rohini fast or, for that matter, any of the events in the life of the sati Rohini could attributed to astrology (rather than karma) or to the intervention of that goddess. The connection between these seems to have been lost. 36. The Rohini-Asokacandrakatha translated by Helen M. Johnson (1948) follows the same plot line as the versions that I found in popular contemporary texts, but includes a short section in which Rohini’s mother gives her advice on wifehood. 37. I radically abbreviate the monk’s accounting of Rohint’s past lives. I never heard these past-life stories mentioned even briefly in oral tellings, so a gloss seems adequate. In most oral tellings, the monk simply tells King Asok that Rohini experiences no sorrow because she did the Rohini fast in her past life, with no further elaboration. 38. The same Rohini story featuring Rohini and Asok was included in two Digambar collections, Vrat Vidhi Evam Puja (1999, 35-43) and Jain Vrat Katha Sangrah (130-134), as “Ath Rohini Vrat Katha,” but this version does not include the episode in which the king throws the son off the roof. The fast is described in the same way, but the duration is limited to five years and five months. 39. Many fasts have a fasting narrative (vrat katha, tap katha), which serves as a charter for the fast, telling the fast’s origins, ritual particulars, rationales, and efficacy. In written collections, there are two Rohini narratives that claim to be the fasting narrative for the Rohini fast. The two stories share the description of the Rohini fast, but differ radically in narrative content. These are not two versions of the same story; all the characters are different except for Rohini, and there are no overlapping episodes. It seems clear that two stories have become linked and fused on the basis of the name of the heroine alone. In practice, only the version I give here is recited or told orally as part of the fast. This version is also the only one that women told me when I asked about Rohini sati, and is the same as the story other scholars have recorded in connection to this fast. Interestingly, the version I heard is also the version told in other Jain communities who perform this fast, including Digambar Jains. 40. I imagine that this protection from the cares of the family might have partly served as an impetus for some of the fasters, but no one ever named that as a benefit, even privately. The fast is too difficult and prolonged to justify this as a primary reason. 41. After his death, she ceased to perform any of complex fasts. She explained this as partly from a lack of motive (no husband to receive the benefits) and partly because her own health was diminished by aging, and perhaps some discouragement that her husband had died in spite of her fervent and devout efforts. Pearson (1996, 187-192) writes of women who stop performing vrats after being widows for a similar complex sets of reasons. 42. The hesitation to discuss the worldly benefits of Jain ritual practices is widespread and probably reflects the generally ambivalent stance normative Jainism

NOTES TO PAGES 53-58 1693 had articulated regarding worldly benefit. This phenomenon has been discussed widely; see Cort (200Tb, 138-141), Kelting (2001b, 45-48), Laidlaw (1995, 22'7-229), and Reynell (1985a, 56). 43. John Cort’s (2001b) monograph centers around the ways that Jains negotiate and integrate these two “realms of value,” but gives this question special attention in chapters 1 and 7. Laidlaw (1995) also addresses this tension at length with particular attention in chapter 12 and the chapters in part 5. 44. The Rohini Sajjhay, which is recommended as the sajjhay (devotional hymn) on all Rohini days and thus would be recited by all fasters as part of the nightly confession (as well as by anyone else who is performing confession that day), suggests that the fast will prevent any sorrow. The text of the sajjhay includes a brief summary of the Rohini story along with instructions for the fast and an account of the fast’s benefits. The sajjhay suggests a number of results of this fast: “Do the Rohini fast and defeat sorrow, Rohini had a happy birth.... They had eight sons and four daughters and did not experience sickness or sorrow.... From this fast you will attain happiness” (Jain Sahay Mala 1980/1987, 15).


1. In other chapters, I analyze four major sati narratives (Rohini, Maynasundari, Rajul, and Candanbala) with direct links to ritual practices. The narratives associated with rituals in Jain contexts tend to be fuller and more complex. 2. See, for example, Ahearn (2001), Gold (1995b), Minturn (1993), Puri (1999), Raheja and Gold (1994), Raheja (1995), and Wadley (1995). 3. Itis important to recognize that most women are happy with their choice to be wives, and that the possibility of renunciation as a socially acceptable option for escaping a bad marriage means that women not only choose to marry the first time but also, because they continue to see the possibility of renunciation throughout their lives, they likewise continue to choose marriage. 4. Women spoke of these suggestions in the language of “handing a problem over” to someone or having someone else do something (karavavu). They often were glad to have someone else with more power step in, and would actively seek support when appropriate. However, they likewise recognized that having someone else take over meant that they were no longer in charge of the discourse of the problem and that it might be resolved in ways they felt were less than ideal. 5. Though fasting is closely linked to notions of liberation in Hinduism, especially in the context of Hindu renouncers and their austerities, the centrality of devotionalism in contemporary Hinduism and the practices of Hindu women link Hindu laywomen’s fasting more to the acquisition of worldly powers and divine grace. Khandelwal (2004) gives a nuanced examination of this nexus of Hindu practices, which challenges the dichotomy of austerity/male renouncer and devotion/service/laywoman. 6. This series was lent to me by a middle-aged Jain woman, who had herself borrowed it from her sister-in-law. These particular books were making the rounds of the laywomen with whom I worked for a few years.

194 NOTES TO PAGES 61-62 7. Interestingly, Hindu satimata miracles (parco deno) include doors bursting open after having been locked, veils floating to a sati’s hand, water turning into henna, and fire being generated by the sati herself (Weinberger-Thomas 2000, 45). 8. Of course, Jains routinely recite the Navkar mantra before engaging in an act that carries real importance, so we could also read Subhadra’s recitation of the Navkar as part of the regular practice of mantra recitation, which gives a kind of overall protection. g. An interesting analysis could be done of the representations of Buddhism and Brahmanism in Jain sati narratives, but that is outside the scope of this volume. to. In this context, “love matches” of relatives in a family are reconfigured into arranged marriages by the agreement of the parents and by the subsequent public performance of a proper wedding with all its rites. The scramble to “arrange” a marriage between a young man and woman who have fallen in love is often the deepest kind of family secret, and only really works if both families agree and if the match is essentially suitable. When the match is not essentially suitable—-involving different religions, for example—the acceptance of the bride in the groom's family and the groom in the bride’s can smooth the waters. If the family presents the match as acceptable, the community will often follow suit and accept the couple. If one of the families rejects the marriage, it can draw attention to the love match. That said, some relatives will inevitably reject the new couple in order to disassociate themselves from potential scandal. Love matches are widely discouraged in part because of the long-term effects on the marriage prospects of a family’s other children and the economic importance placed on family virtue as a sign of creditworthiness. 11. Since I began my work in this community, a few marriage arrangements have been called off because the groom's families were caught in significant misrepresentations, though these were about temperament rather than scandals: alcohol consumption and violence against female relatives. In a case where an engagement is being broken, it is in the interest of the bride’s family to display the groom's faults even if it makes the parents look foolish, because it shows that the virtue of their own daughter is not in question. I have not heard of a groom's family canceling a wedding because of a bride’s family’s misrepresentations, I suspect partly because the research into a potential bride’s virtue is more thorough—young women with questionable virtue do not get engaged to begin with—and partly because the breaches are less common among these closely monitored young women. I also suspect that if the bride’s virtue were suspect or could be challenged, the bride’s family might well go ahead with a less than ideal marriage in order to prevent a careful reexamination of the bride’s reputation. 12. For example, Murtipijaks worship in temples, and Sthanakavasis reject temple worship completely. Mtartiptijaks and Sthanakavasis do not worship together, but often come from shared subcastes and, on occasion, interact socially and for business. For Svetambar and Digambar matches, the styles of worship are quite different, but more important, they are do not go to the same temples; these two communities rarely mix socially, and they do not have any shared subcastes. John Cort (personal correspondence) found that Muartiptjak Jains would consider marriages with Sthanakavasis, but not with Terapanthis. Though there are few “mixed” marriages in the Shivajinagar

NOTES TO PAGES 62-64 = 195 congregation, the few that I identified are between Muartiptjak and Sthanakavasis of the same ethnic and subcaste groups. 13. In addition to a new bride’s adjustment to the religious expectations for married women, the differences in deities (especially lineage goddesses, local Hindu deities, and guardian deities in the local Jain temple) may leave a young bride without access to a deity whose worship she felt to be protective. Harlan found that Rajput women experienced a sense of loss from leaving behind their natal lineage goddesses and developed strategies—including the identification of one of the seven mother goddesses (saptamatrika) on their pendants with their natal lineage goddess and another with their affinal one—for integrating their natal lineage goddesses into their married lives (Harlan 1992, 97). One Jain woman told me that her devotion to the guardian goddess, Padmavati, stood in for the worship of her own natal lineage goddess to whose worship she no longer has access. 14. This story is similar to the stories of Mirabai’s refusal to convert her worship when she arrived at her husband’s house (Harlan 19952, 217). 15. Vimalastris fourth-century Paimicariyam (cantos 15-18) tells the story of Afjanasundari. Anjanasundari is the mother of Hanuman for Jains, as she is for Hindus, but in the Jain context her narrative has taken on a life of its own. To start with, neither Aijana nor Hanuman is a monkey in the Jain version of the Ramayana. Afijana is human, Pavanafijay is a demigod (vidyadhara), and so is Hanuman. In fact, in some tellings Hanuman’s godlike strength is attributed to the power of his mother’s Sakti rather than anything to do with his father or with demigod parentage (Fohr 2001, 145-146). Contemporary sati collections (like Sulasa Candanbala and Mahdasati, Vol. 6) tend to remove Afijana’s story from the frame of the Ramayana, highlighting her character as a Jain sati. Her story was told in two other sources given to me by laywomen: Priyadarsan’s Jain Ramayan (Gujarati) and Pushkar Muniji’s Best Jain Stories (English).

The story of Anjana is also included in medieval narrative collections such as Subhasgilagani’s fifteenth-century Bharatesvar Bahubali Vrttih, a narrative commentary on the Bharahesara ni Sajjhay-recited as part of the Tapa Gacch morning pratikraman— and recommended to monks for study as a source for sermons (Cort 20014, 335). Afijana’s story is also a part of the Rama story in puranic narrative collections such as Hemacandra’s twelfth-century Trisasti-salaka-purusa-caritra, Book 7, Ch. 1-10 (1954, 107-352). Though I never heard any Jain tell the story of the Ramayana following the Jain version, the story of Anjana was always told in the Jain version and never in its Hindu form. In his analysis of narratives associated with Hanuman, Lutgendorf (2007, eSp. 50-52, 128-131, 181, 321-324) contextualizes the Jain Anjana story within the multiple Hindu tellings of the Ramayana. 16. Vimalastri’s version has Pavanafijay reject Afjana because he suspects her of a prior lover rather than because he overhears any conversation at all. In one oral telling, Afijana’s friends were teasing her about how dark (ugly) he is compared to her fairness of skin (Fohr 2001, 144), and in another they were saying he is not as good as her friend’s husband, who was very religious (Best Jain Stories 1997, 215). However, the issue

for Pavanafijay in each case is that Afjana did not defend him against criticism.

196 NOTES TO PAGES 65-67 t7. Reynell (1985a, 183-188) retells the story of Mrganlekha, which shares its basic structure and episodes with that of Afijana but attributes all her misfortune to bad karma and the return of happiness to the destruction of that bad karma. Mrganlekha’s misfortunes are seen as the result of her fate, and she does nothing to change that fate. She simply suffers, partly protected by the power of her virtue, until the misfortune ends. I was never told this story. It is clearly a narrative about the inevitability of experiencing the fruits of one’s karma. The narratives that garnered the attention of the Jains with whom I conduct my research usually centered around the ways that individuals controlled—rather than accepted-—their fate. 18. See Kulkarni 1990 for an extended discussion of the Jain Ramayana. 19. In one contemporary version, Afijana positions herself as a sati when she names other satis who have lived celibate lives to justify her choice to stay as the virgin wife of Pavanafijay. The author then proceeds to compare Afijana’s virtue to another rejected-bride sati, Rajimati (to be discussed at length in chapter 5), whose pedigree as a sati is unquestioned (Best Jain Stories 1997, 215). 20. Women rejecting husbands is a less common and more deeply coded part of the sati narrative traditions, which is discussed in chapter 6. Contemporary Jain women rarely reject their husbands in public, because of the power of pativrata ideologies in their communities. But private rejection of a husband’s sexual advances or conversations can be used, within limits, as leverage by a woman to further her interests in her marriage. This strategy can backfire into her husband’s retaliatory rejection of his wife, which women can do little to change short of returning to their natal homes or divorce. 21. The story of Rajul, which is discussed in chapter 5, is the best known of this latter form. 22. The svayamvara is symbolically enacted as part of the contemporary Jain wedding rite. Before the rites of the wedding proper begin, the groom approaches the threshold of the wedding door where—after the evil eye has been lifted from him and his future mother-in-law has blessed him—the bride is brought forward and chooses her groom by putting a garland over his head. After this, the couple enter the wedding hall together. 23. Most older women generally disdained television and popular magazines as valueless, though a few admitted to enjoying old movies on television. Men had more control over money and were the primary film viewers both at theaters and at home. Many men regularly watched serials, while claiming that these were women’s shows. Young men shared in the desire for romantic marriages and would contrast their desires with the model of marriages of the elders in their community who met on their wedding day. 24. I have observed, at least among urban Jains in Pune, a growing sense of the inevitability of house division, with joint families living under one roof becoming increasingly rare. Likewise, after the death of the eldest generation (especially if their srandchildren have begun to get married), it is common for the family to divide into smaller units; this division, though painful for the family, is seen as necessary and expected, because of the expectations that married couples have the privacy of their own room, and carries no stigma. Often, the brothers have remained together until their

NOTES TO PAGE 68 ~~ 197

parents died, in spite of crowding in the home, in order to spare their parents the pain of household separation. As long as the family pools their financial resources, lives in the same neighborhood, and can argue that one home is too cramped for their numbers, they are understood to be and are spoken of as a joint family (akhand parivar). Itis much more expensive to maintain multiple homes and even more expensive to fully divide— especially as the family will lose their tax advantage as a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) under the Indian Income-tax Act (1961) Section 2 (31)—-so there is resistance to full division. Whenever houses do divide, daughters-in-law are usually blamed for causing strife within the family. That said, I certainly did hear women-including women who were themselves mothers-in-law—speak of bad mothers-in-law who drove their sons and daughters-in-law out of their homes. 25. In the only case of an unconsummated marriage that I knew of, the husband admitted he was in love with someone else, and ultimately he married the woman he loved, the first wife returned to her parents’ house with somewhat less stigma than most divorced women, though she is still unmarried and living with her parents. 26. Although the social cost for unmarried men who engage in premarital relationships is relatively low—especially when compared to that of unmarried women—in this community, marital fidelity is expected for men as well as for women. Men are routinely scrutinized for moral virtue by business prospects and those who might lend them money. Though repeated adultery, which would have been relatively obvious, was rare (I was only aware of one case), individual acts of adultery by men—particularly with prostitutes—would be much harder to detect. Discussions about infidelity and women’s fears often came up in the safer arena of conversations about television serials and movies, and would occasionally shift from there to real-life situations and rumors. Though there were certainly occasional rumors of young women’s involvement in premarital romance, I only heard one accusation of a woman being unfaithful to her husband after marriage and only a few scattered hints about romances involving divorced women. I also did not hear any rumors about older widows. One middle-aged widow was accused of having an affair with her husband’s younger brother that started before his marriage when she was a young widow and continued afterward. I did not know or hear of any other young widows-no doubt a reflection of the socioeconomic position of urban Jains and their access to good medical care—so I am unable to determine whether these women would have been the target for these kinds of accusations. Widows and divorced women would not be legally committing adultery, though social norms would identify their acts as infidelities. Of course, none of these accusations were verifiable and, with the exception of the one case of a husband’s involvement with his elder brother’s widow-she is the woman who was accused of being unfaithful to her husband before he died—which led to his divorce, none was publicly recognized. 27. Eating is linked closely to sexual intimacy (Appadurai 1981, 497-498), and Jain texts reflect this connection (Dundas 2008, 188-190). In particular, eating at home is a mark of respect and affection for one’s wife. To eat out, then, is a rejection of that intimacy. There were a few times when “eating out” was used euphemistically to suggest that a man was having an affair with another woman. Of course, it is extremely unlikely that a man would be eating regularly at the house of another woman, since that would

198 NOTES TO PAGES 69-72 be a very public statement of intimacy. Likewise, the use of “eating out” for adultery does not mean that occasional eating out at restaurants was seen as a sign of adultery; but ifja man never or rarely ate at home, especially for the evening meal, there would be talk about where he might be eating. Even if there was no question of adultery—all meals accounted for somehow-not eating at home was still interpreted as a rejection. 28. This strategy has leverage if the woman's claims are related to misrepresentation in marriage arrangements, substance abuse, emotional abuse, or physical abuse by one’s husband or other relations; if these kinds of accusations or rumors are heard, the husband’s family may have real trouble getting their other children married or finding business partners. 29. Minturn (1993, 211) found that women reported that they were less likely to suffer from spousal abuse in a joint family because of the pressure of familial censure. In one case where a husband was avoiding his wife by eating all his meals out, I was told that his aunt and grandmother censured him in front of his whole family for eating out too much. Though all parties privately spoke of his avoidance as an error in the treatment of his wife, the censure in public centered around wasting money on meals out. The husband changed his ways, and the marriage did improve. 30. Gold (Raheja and Gold 1994, 42) found that bdt-chit was a euphemism for sexual intercourse among Rajasthani women, as well. Fruzetti (1982, 14) reports that young brides often will not speak to their husband unless they are alone, which usually occurs at night, further strengthening the link between emotional intimacy (marked by the sign of conversation) and sexual intimacy. 31. Weinberger-Thomas (2000, 132) reports that widows who have a son are permitted to wear the auspicious yellow veil of mothers (piliya) and are sometimes said to be only “half a widow.” 32. Bennett (1983, 181) reports that the birth of a son may trigger quarrels between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, as the daughter-in-law may decide that she need not show deference to her mother-in-law any more. 33. It may be that the woman used this talk as leverage—it was her husband who was the motivation for greater spacing between their children—or that they had concerns that they were losing status by not having a son. In any case, there was also pressure on the couple to produce a son. 34. The same story was told to Narayan as one of bad wedding arrangements and deception, but without the pregnancy or accusations of shamelessness (Narayan 1997, 59-63). 35. This story served as the foundation for a popular Hindi-language film, Jai Santosi Ma, and the fast became much more popular after the film's release (Erndl 1993, 141-145; Kurtz 1992, 13-28; Pearson 1996, 102, 176-177). 36. See Bennett (1983, 180-186, 251), Raheja and Gold (1994, 121-136), Minturn (1993, 303-309). Though pronounced tensions are reported between a sister and a wife, especially around issues of gifting (Raheja and Gold 1994, 73-106; Minturn 1993, II'7—131, 307-308), both Reynell (1985a) and I found that this relationship was usually relatively close among the Jains. Perhaps the relative wealth of the Jain communities means gifts to daughters do not preempt gifts to wives, and wives were not asked to turn

NOTES TO PAGES 73-77 199 their goods over to sisters-in-law. Sisters and wives are not the point of conflict in Jain narratives, either. I also observed that certain gifts discussed by scholars of other communities (the gifts from one’s dowry to one’s husband’s sister and the gifts to one’s husband’s sister at the birth of child) were often omitted in Jain families or, if given, they were truly nominal. There were some complaints about special goods being set aside for the dowries of daughters, but these complaints were not very common, probably reflecting the relative ease with which dowry goods are collected in this community, and the social stigma among Jains of this kind of transfer. Dowry money, of course, would be fungible. I observed that bonds between daughters and daughters-in-law were a common strategy to forge good relations in one’s marital home and to please one’s husband by pleasing his sister, which of course reflects the potential power of that sister to disrupt that happiness. 37. Among the Jains with whom I conducted research, it was customary to strive for marriage arrangements that functioned as alliances, especially for business, rather than hypergamy, which diminishes the opportunity for dealing with each other as equals, as required for cooperative business dealings. That said, there are some forms of structural hypergamy in gifting and etiquette, especially at the weddings themselves. 38. This narrative could provide justification for the use of ordination as a form of divorce. Sita’s leaving Ram has been read as a kind of divorce in some Hindu contexts (Kishwar 2001, 289, 307; Nilsson 2001, 152). However, most Jains are relatively unaware of the Jain version of the Ramdyana beyond a few details about differences from the mainstream Hindu version; their knowledge of the Ram and Sita story appeared to me to be based on the televised version of the Ramayana and the Hindu versions read in school and comic books. 39. The Sthananga Sutra (157, 355, '712/3/2/180—-183) provides a long list of reasons one might renounce, including a wish for happiness in this world, to achieve separation or divorce, out of anger, reaction to an insult, or through fear. Any of these reasons

might be used to justify renunciation as a form of divorce. 40. Shanta likewise reports a small but substantial percentage of Jain nuns (Khartar Gacch 8.8 percent, Sthanakavasi 16 percent, an unnamed group 3 percent) to have taken ordination leaving behind a husband (Shanta 1997, 439-440, 448). Balbir found that among the 531 Terapanthi nuns surveyed in 1981 ninety-two (17 percent) were married when they took ordination and an additional forty (7 percent) were either widows or separated from their husbands at the time of ordination (Balbir 1994, 124). 41. Men are certainly part of the equation here; the public acts of men are evaluated as evidence of virtue, but in general the virtues of men’s acts adhere to the man who performs them and the virtues of women’s acts adhere to the family as a whole. For example, when men from virtuous families do not act in virtuous ways, they are seen as wayward rather than as an indication of the family’s downward turn. This accounts for the relative leniency toward male misbehavior. 42. A side effect of this piety arises out of the communal nature of many women’s rituals, during which the woman can create a community for herself outside of her home (Kelting 20o01b, 47-48; 2006b, 193, 196-197; Reynell 2006, 219—220).This is also true of Hindu women who find in vow-taking practices an opportunity for a

200 NOTES TO PAGES 77-81 community outside their families. See Pintchman (2005, throughout but especially 146-155) for an excellent examination of Hindu women’s ritual communities. 43. Vallely (2002, 98) found that for a new partial initiant (samaniz) into the Terapanthi, fasting and other austerities were a "powerful form of currency," which these aspirants used strategically to prove their readiness for full ordination. However, Vallely (2002, IoI—-102) also writes of several samanis who did not desire to become full

nuns (sadhvis) because nuns spend a greater portion of their day on domestic duties such as acquiring food.


1. Although Maynasundart is not included in any of the formal satt lists, she is always referred to as a sati or mahasati by contemporary Jains and by the many tellings of her story, and is included in informal—nonliturgical-lists (Kelting 2006d, 192). 2. Both of these rituals focus on the siddhacakra (also called the Navpad), which is the yantra of the key Jain mantra, the Navkar. The Navkar mantra honors the five highest beings in Jain moksa-marg ideology and suggests that the mantra itself is a powerful tool for creating auspiciousness and destroying bad karma. This mantra serves as an all-purpose mantra that can be used to protect, to create auspiciousness, to represent all that is worthy of worship in a condensed manner, and as a substitute for other mantras and acts. The power of the Navkar mantra to do these things is cited in both narrative literature and in personal accounts by contemporary Jains. Recitation of this mantra is a basic practice of Jains. The siddhacakra—also called the Navpadji-is the yantra that represents the manifest form of this important mantra with the addition of the Three Jewels: Right View, Right Knowledge, and Right Action, along with a fourth jewel, if you will, Right Austerity. It is the central object of veneration in the Navpad puja and the Siddhacakra mahaptja, as well as all ritual practices associated with the Ayambil Oli and Navpad Oli fasts. The connections between Sripal and Maynasundari and this very central mantra explain some of the widespread knowledge of this story. 3. The version that was nearly universal in book collections and as the source for mendicant sermons of the story and its themes from 1993 to 2002 was Sripal Raja no Ras as published by Jain Prakasan Mandir in Ahmedabad. This version gives the text as written by Vinayvijay and YaSovijay composed in Gujarati in 1682 with a modern Gujarati gloss after each verse, and includes the ritual instructions for the Navpad Oli fast and the Navpad puja after the main text. It also includes a number of plates, including one of the Siddhacakra mahayantra. I found a Hindi version (in Devnagari and with Hindi gloss) in a book store, but even in Hindi-speaking households I found the Gujarati version in book collections. The oldest known telling of this oft-told narrative is RatnaSekhara’s Prakrit-language Sirivala Kaha composed earlier than 1372 (Cort 2001b, 231 n 39). However, Vinayvijay and YaSovijay’s version has become the standard. There are many contemporary retellings of the story, including works in raso style, novels, poetry, ritual manuals, recitation cassettes, and video dramas. 4. 1am translating the term svayamvara, in which the princess chooses a prince to marry from an assembly of princes.

NOTES TO PAGES 81-90. 201 5. In contemporary Jain lay communities, personal stories abound of flowers that fall off images into the hands or sari end of Jain worshipers, indicating a kind of blessing. When pressed, people were quick to say it was an indicator of good karma rather than an act of grace, but when the stories were given spontaneously there was a sense of it as a kind of blessing and a mark of religious favor. 6. The published version of this story gave the monk the name Muni Candrasuriji. This change seems an easy mistake, in part because “stiri” is a mendicant title that is usually permanently appended to the mendicant’s name. 7. In 2001, the sermons devoted to Sripal’s story after his healing were more sparsely attended, with only a few people who were not performing the Navpad Oli fast. 8. I suspect that the elision of Sripal’s subsequent marriages arises out of the idealization of Sripal and Mayna’s marriage. The ideal marriage would not be a polygamous one-at least that would not be ideal for women—but monks likewise gloss over or completely omit Sripal’s other marriages. g. Vimal identifies himself as the student of Tapa Gacch monk Vijayasenasiri and is identified elsewhere in the sajjhay collection as Vimalasiri, who lived in the midsixteenth century. 10. “Siddhanta” in this context clearly refers to Jain philosophy, not the siddhanta of Saiva schools.

11. Stories of daughters arguing with their fathers about their fate can be found in collections of Hindu stories (see McDaniel 2003, 65-68; Narayan 1997, 109-118). 12. Walsh does give a description of one episode in a manual in which the husband tells his wife to learn cooking from his mother; but the tone makes it clear that these are insignificant lessons (“What is there to teach about cooking?”) that are not the kinds of learning that matter (Walsh 2004, 58). 13. In a sense, the greatest threat to male hegemony in the home is a strong relationship between a man’s wife and his mother. 14. In my anecdotal observation of Jain ritual culture in North America, Jain laymen seem to position themselves as the key religious experts, and when in doubt, they refer to printed texts for answers. This architecture of knowledge differs considerably from my observations in India, where religious knowledge is an area of women’s expertise, and men ask senior female relatives for guidance on religious issues. On the rare occasions (or in cases of astrological questions) when men felt that the senior women in their own families did not have sufficient expertise, they asked Jain mendicants. In India, Jain laymen did not position themselves as religious experts in either case. 15. This was more true in families where men were unable to perform many rituals. When men took a more active part in ritual life, then the success was often said to arise out of the male head of household’s acts both religiously and mundanely through virtue and prestige. 16. It seemed to arise from his sense of her as a role model of women's religiosity in the community, but since her husband is not Jain, he may also have been marking her persistence in being a public Jain and its potential to convert her husband. 17. Even when there were occasional complaints that a particular woman's religious practices were taking her away from work, those wives who brought more

202 NOTES TO PAGES 90-92 orthopraxic behavior to the whole family were praised. Even as men sometimes srumbled about the increased restrictions on the foods they ate, they also commented on how this would improve their karma and their overall virtue. 18. The liturgy of the Navpad puja is can also be found in puja collections such as Vividh Puja Sangrah. 19. It may be that Mayna’s solo performance of the worship is a strategy to avoid having a leper perform the worship. This is a possible explanation for his absence, but it was never mentioned to me in interviews nor was it represented in the written versions or the dramatic reenactments.

20. Many performers of the Navpad Oli fast learn its detailed instructions and recite the texts directly from a commonly owned fasting manual dedicated to this particular fast, though the basic form of the fast is well known to laywomen. The widely available Navpad Oli fasting manual, Navpad Olini Vidhi, gives extensive directions for the performance of the fast and includes all of the texts considered ideal for recitation during the performance of the fast and its accompanying rituals of confession and worship. The Navpad Oli is sufficiently complex, with different texts for each of its nine days, that most households in which someone has performed the fast and virtually all temple collections contain at least one copy of this manual. 21. The Ayambil Oli is performed twice a year for nine days beginning on Aso (September/October) bright seventh and Caitri (March/April) bright seventh. The Navpad Oli begins in Aso and continues for nine cycles lasting four and a half years. The fall Ayambil Oli overlaps with the autumnal festival of Navratri, occasionally conflicting with performances of lineage goddess worship (gotraj) because the food restrictions in these two rituals conflict. The spring Ayambil Oli is near the spring Navratri and the spring festival of Mother Ten worship, as well. Although the Ayambil Oli festival is not directed at the worship of goddesses (the Jain guardian goddesses, for example, play no role in the festival), the coincidence of the timings and the duration of nine days suggest long-standing shared religious and cultural calendars and, perhaps, competition. 22. See Cort (2001b, 118-120) and Laidlaw (1995, 221-224) for descriptions of this central yantra. For details about the fast requirements, see the Navpad Olini Vidhi. 23. The food must be made without dairy products, oils, or spices (except black pepper). In addition, fasters may only drink water between noon and sunset. See Mahias (1985) for an extensive discussion of Jain food ways. 24. Many Jain nuns and occasional older Jain laywomen take a vow to perform a lifelong ayambil fast. Though difficult, it is not impossible. One elderly woman I knew took a life-long ayambil vow after her husband died and lived on this fast for nearly twenty years (from 1982 until her death in 2002). Though she told me that she took this vow in order to achieve a birth as one who would be a nun (she was too infirm to renounce), it is also possible that this fast (so closely linked to marital felicity in other contexts) may have been a personal act of atonement for her inability to prevent her husband’s death. Thanks to John Cort for bringing this to my attention as a possible interpretation of her vow. 25. Other Jain fasts may have fasting narratives (most notably the Varsitap, the Aksaynidhi fast, Candanbala fast—to be discussed in chapter 6—and, of course, the

NOTES TO PAGES 93-97 203 Rohini fast discussed in chapter 3), but the Navpad Oli fast uniquely requires that one study the narrative, which is not a bare-bones hymn recited as part of the daily confession but rather a fully constructed epic poem. 26. The other powerful mantra/yantra ritual complex is that of the Bhaktamar stotra and the Bhaktamar mahamantra puja. This text and yantra are credited with a variety of protections against illness and disasters, but most notably against fire, snakebite, and imprisonment (Cort 2006; Lefeber 1995, 426-433); it is not granted efficacy for the particular concerns of wives. A very popular book, Sacitra Bhaktamar Stotra: Illustrated Bhaktamar Stotra, gives the text of each verse, translations in Hindi, Gujarati, and English and an illustration of each verse. Though identifiably Sthanakavasi (the stotra differs slightly), this book was popular with Muartiptjak Jains, probably because of the glosses and the pictures. The images indicated the powers of particular verses. This mantra/ptja complex, though popular, did not come up in discussions about wifehood, though it did arise in discussions about motherhood. I suspect this is partly because the questions of wifehood and marriage seem so fully covered by the Navkar/Navpad/Ayambil complex. 27. This liturgy was found in Siddhacakra Yantroddhar Brhat Pujanvidhih, a collection of mahapujas (grand public puja liturgy performances) dedicated to the siddhacakra. RatnaSekhar also wrote the earliest extant version of the Sripal and Maynasundari story (see note 3 of this chapter). 28. Leucoderma, more properly called vitiligo in medical contexts, is a disease whose cause is unknown but which doctors suspect may be an auto-immune disorder. It creates white patches on the skin and in some cases the eventual total loss of pigment. It is itself physically harmless, though it may indicate an auto-immune disorder. However, leucoderma’s long-standing associations with leprosy and its dramatic effect on appearance create problems for marriageability; no sufferer of this disease would therefore call its effects harmless. 29. All girls, unmarried women, and pregnant women were encouraged to apply the bathing water from the worship of the siddhacakra to their skin to prevent this unsightly disease, which many feared. The blotches of white skin and the eventual loss of pigment were seen as a serious bar to a good marriage and perhaps even a bar to any marriage offers at all. The collection of the bathing water from the puja and also from the daily Snatra ptjas during the Oli festivals was seen as particularly efficacious. Though the siddhacakra was bathed every day, and that water was always available for such blessings, it was when the siddhacakra was worshiped in ways that most closely linked it to Sripal and Maynasundari that it sharpened its healing focus to skin diseases. 30. Anecdotally, when my son was born, he was given the name Sripal by an older woman in Pune in fulfillment of a dream she had in which a “Maynasundari’” came to him in marriage and made both him and me blissfully happy. Nearly every time a married Jain laywoman heard his Indian name, they exclaimed that someday our house would be blessed with a daughter-in-law like Mayna. 31. Men, too, usually invoked Sripal and Maynasundari as the ideal couple, though once in a while they named Ram and Sita. Monks and nuns always named Sripal and Mayna as the perfect Jain couple—with one exception, when one monk named Kumarpal

204 NOTES TO PAGES IOO-103 and his unnamed queen. When thinking of ideal marriages that were potentially possible in the present time and for lay Jains, all named Mayna and Sripal. 32. This hymn is also reprinted in general hymn collections, such as Pritaladi Bandhani Re (no date, 172). 33. Superficially, these two yantras are both of the siddhacakra, but the emphases differ. In the Siddhacakra mahayantra the emphasis is on the protective rings surrounding the siddhacakra, and the yantra includes rings of protective deities who are invoked to protect both the siddhacakra yantra and also the sponsor of the worshipers. The Navpad mahayantra emphasizes the characteristics associated with each of the nine stations of the siddhacakra. The former yantra is the focus of the Siddhacakra mahaputja and the latter is the focus of the less common Navpadji mahayantra mahapoja. 34. I have written about the origin story of this temple and its visual depictions elsewhere (Kelting n.d.). 35. The Navpad puja was performed by anyone who completed a Navpad Olt, but also was performed at the end of each Ayambil Oli cycle, and in some congregations it was performed on each of the nine days of every Ayambil Oli cycle. The Siddhacakra mahapwtja was less common and considerably more involved, but was still the most common of the large-scale mahaputjas, in part because of its efficacy in blessing a whole family or lineage. There are other less commonly performed siddhacakra formal ptjas, such as the Navpad mahayantra mahapuja, the 346 Gunayukta Navpad puja, and the 108 Gunayukta Paramesthi mahayantra ptjan. These ptjas and other less common pujas alongside key accompanying texts and explanations are available in a single volume, Siddhacakra Yantroddhar Brhat Pujanavidhih, available at Jain bookstores. This is the volume from which the Siddhacakra mahapija was recited on both occasions I was able to observe this puja in its entirety. The Navpad puja text is also included in the widely available ptyja collection, Laghu Pija Sangrah, which is a collection of the most commonly performed pujas. I have observed the Siddhacakra mahapuja on three occasions at the Sri Ajitnath Temple in Shivajinagar. First, on 5 January 1999, I observed a Siddhacakra mahapwtja performed by a single family in the name of their deceased srandfather; attendance was by invitation and included the whole congregation and friends and relatives from elsewhere—approximately 400 people attended. The other two performances I observed were on 12 October 2001 and 14 October 2001 as part of a six-day festival in honor of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the ordination of the monk Devguptavijayji, who was on rainy season retreat at the temple. These latter two were performed by single families who sponsored the mahapujas as part of the festival, but the attendance was open to the public and advertised in the congregation and around Pune. These latter ptijas were advertised on a poster for the festival that was sent to all the Jain temples in Pune district. On all three occasions professional singers and ritual specialists (vidhikar) were hired. For the 1999 Siddhacakra mahapija there was also a professional ritual artist (angikadr) employed to make the large yantra on which the offerings are made. The mahapujas also require the presence of a Jain monk to recite some of the more powerful mantras. The ritual specialist instructs the sponsors in what to do when, but also gives sermon-like explanations of the particular facets of the mahapuja.

NOTES TO PAGES 103-109 ~—.205

36. In his work on the great merchant donors Vastupal and Tejapal, Steve Heim (personal communication) found that Anupama, the wife of Tejapal, was herself a major donor and was included in the narratives. This is an exception to the usual pattern in which the merchant is seen as an individual moral agent, with a nod toward his location within an illustrious male lineage. 37. The puja instructions in Siddhacakra Yantroddhar Brhat Pujanvidhih gives lists of what one needs for the Siddhacakra mahapija, including a list of necessary personnel. For each of the nine stations, one needs a married couple. Married couples are also required for nine other offerings, and auspiciously married women for two more (Siddhacakra Yantroddhar Brhat Pujanvidhih, 103). In other mahapuyjas it is common to see full family groupings or groups of siblings performing ritual units rather than this attention to the married couple. 38. Jain widows are allowed access to all rituals, and even in this mahapwtja, which specifically calls for married sponsors, widows are not barred from participating alongside the couple. Widows are never constituted as inauspicious in specifically Jain contexts; they are welcome at all pijas, initiations, fasts, and other Jain related events, and they can feed and venerate mendicants, recite auspicious prayers, and perform all rituals including auspicious closing rites. That said, they are restricted from performing rites associated with new daughters-in-law and weddings, and without a husband cannot be half of a sponsoring couple when a couple is called for. Unmarried girls and wives whose husbands were unable to attend were also ineligible to serve as lone worshipers for any of the sections of this puja. However, there are rituals that state specifically that they should be performed by by couples (jodi), by married women (saubhagyavati), by men (purisa)—with no explicit statement on whether they are married men, unmarried men (kumar), or widowers—and by unmarried girls (kumari or kunvari); there are no rituals for widows or even unmarked women (stri or srimati) without a designation like married (saubhagyavati) or unmarried (kumari). There are also no rituals explicitly for boys (kumar or chokro).


1. I was fortunate to present earlier versions of this chapter as the Ernest Bender Memorial Lecture at University of Pennsylvania in April 2007 and as part of the South Asian Studies Council Lecture Series at Yale University in October 2007. My thinking was sharpened by the questions and comments of those colleagues and students who attended both of these presentations. 2. The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Bill, 1987, came into effect on 21 March, 1988. This act was an extension of the Rajasthan Sati (Prevention) Ordinance of 1 October 1987. This ordinance and later the act of 1987 in many ways restate existing antisati legislation, but most important, it added legislation banning the glorification or worship of satis; the act outlaws the practice of sati, abetting sati, propagating sati discourse, and the glorification of satt. 3. Somani (1981, 77-90) references Nahta’s study of Jain inscriptions in Bikaner, which include sati death inscriptions in the eighth to tenth centuries, and then further

206 NOTES TO PAGES IOQ-I1I2 sati death inscriptions that appear in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There is also inscriptional evidence of a few Jain sati deaths in the seventeenth century. Though by no means as common among Jains as it was among Rajputs, it is clear that Jains have had sati deaths and that they were marked with donation and inscription. 4. There appears to be no bar against intermarriage between Rajasthani Hindus and Jains in the Agarval and Oswal castes (Babb 2004, 145). Cort (2001b, 57-58) notes that there are six major caste groups among Patan Jains (Visa and Dasa Srimali, Visa and Dasa Porval, and Visa and Dasa Osval) and that although these castes are dominantly Jain, each includes Pustimarg Vaisnav Hindus, as well. Intermarriage was frequent until recently, when Jain identity was prioritized by reformist Jains. 5. One Jain woman secretly told me about a box with the wedding necklace

pendant from a family sattmata, which was worshiped in their household shrine, but which would not have been seen by nonfamily members. The secrecy seemed more out of a concern that it was somehow “un-Jain’” rather than the more politically charged question about whether its veneration was proscribed by the new Indian legislation. I was unable to determine whether this satimata had been raised as a Hindu or Jain, because the woman was unsure and the family’s caste was one in which intermarriage was frequent. Babb (Babb 2004, 158-162) also gives one version (Bharatpur version) of the founding of the Srimél caste in which the caste is created out of the progeny of a merchant's daughter who is a sati, but whose husband is revived before the ritual is performed. He suggests that this sati may well have been a family or lineage soddess first. 6. Nuns consistently named married Jain satis as key satis because of their fidelity to husband and Jainism. I suspect that because I am a married woman they focused on those satis who would be of use to me as a model. When I was with unmarried young women, the nuns often told the story of Candanbala, who never married, suggesting a response to audience identity. 7. Damayanti is one case, but that story was not widely told—I only was told the story once by nun who was studying many of the stories. Damayanti ultimately fails to reach enlightenment because she follows Nala out of mendicancy, just as she follows him into it (Kelting forthcoming). 8. The only other common overt representation of strong emotion is found in representations of Candanbala’s tears at the rejection of her offering of alms to Mahavir. This will be discussed briefly in chapter 6, but an extensive discussion of the role of emotion in Jainism focused on Candanbala’s tears can be found in Kelting 2007. 9g. Cundadi git (though not necessarily named with that genre designation) are performed by Gujarati Hindus to goddesses at Navratri and as part of lineage goddess worship. There are also similar songs—including ones in Gujarati wedding song collections such as Saurabh Lagnagit Saricay—-that appear to be intended to be sung as part of lineage goddess worship at weddings. I am including those songs whose refrain or verses are organized around the image of the cundadi as well as those who are designated cundadis, because not all songs are given a genre designation in song collection publications.

NOTES TO PAGES II2-II5 207 10. Devcand was a Jain layman who wrote the Nemanathno Saloko in Samvat 1900 (1843-1844 cE). In the closing lines of the poem he identifies himself with the Visasrimali subcaste and tells the reader that he came from the village of Gangad in Gujarat. He also wrote Vivekavildsano Saloko (Desai 1989, 318-319). II. Jain women attended this recitation to promote their marital happiness. Many older and middle-aged women told me that this text had been recited as part of their wedding ceremonies as a blessing on their marriage. This text and its recitation will be discussed further in the conclusion.

12. The mitlasttras are the “root” texts that all Jain monks are expected to study. The Uttarddhyayana Sutra is also believed to be the last sermon of Mahavir. 13. In the Uttaradhyayana Sutra, Rajimati’s renunciation occurs before Nemi is enlightened. In the Nemandathno Saloko, she renounces on the fifty-first day, when Nemi achieves enlightenment. In medieval phagu and barahmasa poetry, Rajul waits four months or twelve months for the return of Nemi before resigning herself to renunciation. 14. Rajul does not show much enthusiasm or devotional sentiment (bhav) for diksa; instead she seems more resigned that nunhood beats spinsterhood or rejected wifehood and a recognizes her vulnerable position as a rejected wife. 15. Haribhadra’s Tika to the Dasavaikalika Sutra. Rajimati hands Rathanemi a cup with vomit in it to illustrate her own vileness, and asks why he would want to drink the vomit of Nemi (Uttarddhyayana Sutra 1968, 116 n. 2). Villification of the female body and even any body are tropes in South Asian renunciation texts. See Mrozik (2007, 83-112) for an excellent discussion of the complexity of this strategic rejection of the body in Buddhist texts. 16. Dundas (2000) illuminates the clear links between food and sexuality in Jain texts associated with the Nemi story cycle. He also gives an excellent analysis of the Nemi story in light of questions of Jain identity as marked by vegetarianism and the suspect morality of Krsna in Jain literature. r7. The story of Rathanemi becomes an attempt to stop Rajul from fulfilling her destiny. Hindu satimata narratives often include episodes where family members or other community members try to stop the sati from following through with her wish to die with her husband. In each case, the sati not only perseveres but converts the nonbelievers, often compelling them to take additional vows. Similarly, in the sajjhay Rajul converts Rathanemi and convinces him to either take ordination or return to the vows of his ordination. 18. Although Jacobis note on Rathanemi (Uttaradhyayana Sitra 1968, 116 n. 2) identifies him as the elder brother of Neminath, in other texts Rathanemi is identified as Nemi’s younger brother. 19. There are several Jain authors named Hitavijay, but the author of Rajimati Sajjhay is likely to be the Hitavijay who was the disciple of Subhavijay (Desai 1988, 201) and therefore was probably writing in the early seventeenth century. There is an earlysixteenth-century text entitled Rajimati Sajjhay, but the author is not given (K. Shah, 1993, 112). Another Rajimati Sajjhdy is attributed to Jinahars (Désai 1988, 141), but that

text is not anthologized in any Jain sajjhay collections I have studied in which other

208 NOTES TO PAGES II5—I20 works by Jinahars are commonly found. Special thanks are due to Steve Vose for his assistance in finding Hitavijay. 20. Rajul is referred to by the more Sanskritic form of her name, suggesting the links to the earlier traditions of this story as a renunciation narrative. 21. In contemporary Jain communities, young women are understood to be wives from the ritual of the hand-joining (haste milap), of which the ponkhana is the preliminary rite. 22. I did not observe or hear of this rite being done by contemporary Jains. In fact, on several occasions Jain laywomen and laymen expressed distaste for a ritual they saw as a Hindu one. The grounds for this distaste were primarily the very intimacy of sharing one’s bathing substance, which was seen as polluting. At Jain weddings there were ceremonial anointings with oil and turmeric and bathing in a fragrant paste (sugandha), but the substance was not exchanged with the other wedding party. Nor did any woman tell me that it used to be different. Of course, Jains were all familiar with the rite and would understand the intimacy of that act. 23. A sati is transformed into a satimata at the performance of the rite of dying with her husband, even if her transformation into a wife is incomplete. For example, Narayani Satimata, though her wedding rites are not completed—she has not gone to her husband’s house and therefore has not consummated her marriage—is understood to be a satimata of great power (Courtright 1994, 32). 24. One of the two oldest phagu, Rajasekharastiri’s Neminatha-phagu (c. 1349) was dedicated to Rajul’s laments after her rejection (Vaudeville 1986, 23). The oldest barahmasa is Barah navad (c. twelfth/thirteenth century) written by Dharmasiri (Vaudeville 1986, 18) and the oldest viraha barahmasa is Vinayacandrastri’s Rajal Barahmasa (fourteenth century) cited in this chapter. The barahmasa of separation does not originate, despite Zbavitel’s (1976)—and subsequently others’——mistaken attribution, from the story of Radha and Krsna; the oldest known Jain versions predate these Bengal Vaisnav texts by over a century (Vaudeville 1986, 17). Most of these Jain Barahmasa poems retell the story of Neminath’s renunciation on his wedding day and the suffering of his renounced wife, Rajimatt. 25. Within Nahta’s collection alone, there are over a hundred manuscripts of Jain barahmasa poems (Vaudeville 1986, 4). The oldest known phagu is Jinapadmasiri’s Thulibhaddu Phagu (c. 1330). It is the story of the monk Sthtlibhadra who, after his ordination, is sent by his guru to spend the rainy season retreat with his former lover Kosa to test his vow of celibacy. Sthtlibhadra’s steadfast celibacy and sermons convince Kosa to leave her life as a prostitute in order to renounce and be a Jain nun. We can see this narrative as a mirror of the Rathanemi story. For a discussion of the Sthilibhadra story and its connections to celibacy, see Dundas 2008. 26. The Rajal Barahmasa is embedded in Neminath Catuspadika, a narrative about the life of Neminath. 27. Hindu renunciation includes first the renunciation of fire, followed by a ritual death and funeral, the statement of the intention to renounce (praisa), the receipt of the symbols of the renouncer state (begging bowls, staff, water pot, and special clothes) (Olivelle 1992, 82-98).

NOTES TO PAGES I20-I2I 209 28. For example, the story of Mahavir delaying his renunciation because of his concern that his renunciation would cause his parents suffering is given as the valid reason for why he did not renounce until after their deaths (Kalpa Sutra 4: 92-94). 29. The Hindu renouncer is a liminal being who is both polluted by virtue of being “dead” and auspiciously powerful by virtue of his manifestation of the ascetic ideal and, perhaps, even his resemblance to God (usually Siva) (Olivelle 1992, 69 n. 16, 81, 92-94, 161-167). I am exploring the restrictions of mendicant interactions with certain auspicious rites (weddings, for example) as a possible location for the sense of potential inauspiciousness, but on the whole Jains feel that mendicants are always auspicious, and their blessings and interactions are sought at any time. 30. For example, when mendicants die, their corpses are returned to the laity to be prepared and cremated (Holmstrom 1988, 23; Shanta 1997, 567; Vallely 2002, 135). Mendicants do not perform any rites associated with funerals, memorial worship, or widowhood. In the early twentieth century, the corpses of mendicants were buried, which mirrors the Hindu renunciation discourse of the funeral having already been performed and removes the violence of fire for Jains (Laidlaw 1995, 202). Philosophically, since Jains believe in immediate rebirth and in the primacy of the soul, the abandoned body holds no special meaning, especially for mendicants. Lay Jains, too, attach relatively modest significance to the body or ashes of the deceased; for example, they do not necessarily ritually dispose of the ashes, nor do they perform the rites of sraddha.

31. This, of course, does not mean that mendicants have no ties to their families after renunciation. It is common to see members of a family who renounce together and then travel together. Vallely (2002, 106) and I have both observed fairly close ties between renouncers and their natal families. Likewise, Jain mendicants certainly do interact in ordinary social intercourse as they advise lay Jains on topics ranging from marriage, children, business ventures and, of course, lay religiosity. 32. N. K. Singhi (1991, 148-151) likens all Jain processions to weddings, in part on the basis of the shared use of the term varghoda for their processions. In my observation, Jains also used the term julus ydtra for Jain processions, and in the context of weddings most often used the term barat for the groom’s procession. The sati procession of Balasatimata was termed a juliis, as well, showing the intersecting notions of procession (Bala Sati Mata Lilamrt 1995, 37). 33. The sati cannot show interest in dying as a sati beforehand, because that would imply a desire for her husband’s death (Harlan 1992, 108-109), but after she hears about her husband’s death her sat demands the vow. 34. The handprints of satimatas are central to their iconic representations and are venerated. The collections of handprints at Bikaner and Jodphur are an extremely visible sign of the historic practice and ongoing veneration of satimatas in the region. See Weinberger-Thomas (2000, 52-53) for a discussion of the satimata’s handprint and plates showing them. Footprints, though less common than handprints, have also served as a symbolic representation of the satimata (Noble and Sankhyan 1994, 348 and 380, plate IVB). 35. Those living satimatas whose deaths are prevented or disrupted cannot return to their homes; instead, they must find a new place to live—often at the edge of town or

210 NOTES TO PAGES 122-123 near the cremation grounds. Balasatimata is reported as having said at this moment that once she left the threshold of the house, she could never return (Bala Sati Mata Lilamrt 1995, 32).

36. Major (2007) includes descriptions of satis, starting with the Greek account from 316 BcE through the Moghul and British colonial periods. If these accounts included the sati’s procession, they described her distribution of jewelry, which seems to have been a nearly universal practice (Major 2007, II, 23, 36, 41, 42, 48, 52, 184, 270). 37. Even the commemorative photos from an ordination have photographs of the initiate dressed as a bride with henna, wedding sari, and jewelry. Thus the young woman is remembered visually as a bride, rather than a nun. Of course, she cannot be represented as a nun before her ordination, but the photos are clearly positing her auspiciousness rather than her ascetic impulse; she is not shown sitting in meditation with a rosary, as I saw in devotional portraits of women who perform great fasts (tapasvi).

38. Vallely writes of the ordination rite among Terapanthis where the renouncer is shaved (except for a tuft of hair) before the final procession, and therefore does not have the loose hair during that procession, though she looks in all other ways like a bride. 39. Men who take ordination in the Terapanthi order still wear the headdress of a sroom (Vallely 2002, 91) suggesting to me that the visual imagery for men is less problematic because the rite of renunciation more closely mimics a young man’s wedding than a young womar’s. 40. Holmstrom (1988, 23) argues that in contrast to the language of death in Hindu renunciation, Terapanthi ordination is exclusively based in the wedding imagery and auspiciousness. Terapanthi Svetambar Jain nuns likewise take their last bath and dress for their ordination in a wedding sari (usually red and gold), wearing henna on their hands and feet, covered in jewelry, and with a saffron mark on their forehead. Holmstrom’s descriptions of Terapanthi ordination do not foreclose my interpretation of the ordination as a sati procession. 41. Even in Terapanthi ordination, where the young womar’s hair is shaved before her final procession to her ordination, her hair is the object of particular attention—it is carefully bathed with auspicious substances before being removed (Holmstrom 1988, 20; Vallely 2002, 91). 42. These red footprints are then studied for signs—in particular, the connection of the ball and heal prints—of coming prosperity. The cloth is then stored in the family storehouse. Thanks to Anastasia Piliavsky for a description of this rite. In this rite, the image of the gharlaksmi is clear. 43. Waghorne (1994, 166) includes the visual marker of the royal ring. Royal funeral processions show the king seated in a sedan chair wearing his regalia; this permits the people to have a final darsan of the king, but the deceased king is not understood to bestow blessings during the procession. Other exceptional people— nobility, ascetics, those who have great-grandsons, and so on—are processed to their cremation (Balzani 2003, 37-39). In one case, I observed the Jain initiate being carried from the chariot to the stage where her ordination was to occur; this bears a similarity to the carrying of the Nepali Kumaris by their fathers (Allen no date, plates 18 and 25). In

NOTES TO PAGES 124-129 II other contexts, when the Kumari is carried in a palanquin or chariot (Allen no date, 30-31 and plate 9), it most clearly resembles an image procession. For a fascinating contrast to Indian kingly processions, see Kipling’s (1998) examination of the ritual signs of medieval English royal processions. 44. In Jain worship, the “offerings” that are made are more properly understood as renounced objects, and as such are not taken back as prasad. In fact, Jains scrupulously avoid any accidental injesting of these renounced offerings. Thus, the collection of the materials distributed at an ordination procession significantly differs from the ways that Jains usually interact with renounced objects. 45. Sthanakavasi Svetambar nuns are referred to as mahasatis after their ordination, suggesting a more overt link between the discourses. 406. Jai pandivannai cukai nemi/jiviya juvvanu jalani jalemi. Vaudeville (1986, 103) renders this line: “If Nemi is not true to his word then I’ll give up both youth and life.” However, Vaudeville’s translation for some reason does not include the language of flames and burning in the verse. 47. The same verse is translated by Bhupendra Trivedi (Neminath, 22) as: “Says Rajal: ‘Enjoying the favour of my husband, I have lived a happy married life during my past eight births. Even then, I don't feel satisfied. If now I have to live, I shall live and die only with my husband. In this birth and future births, Nemi alone will be my shelter.” 48. This speech also evokes the moment when a sati recalls her past deaths with her husband. 4g. I can only date this text by linking it to those of Subhavijay’s other works, which are dated. I use the term trope advisedly because, though the narrative literature and verbal accounts speak of the joining of the two halves of the body again (after the language of Hindu marriage, which makes the women the left half of the man’s body), in practice there are attempts to isolate the satimata’s ashes (Weinberger-Thomas 2000, 81) and to venerate those items which were hers alone (veils, jewelry, bone fragments). 50. bani prit te sadi anant bhannge bhelan thayan. 51. They died on Asadh sud 8. 52. diksa laine karaj kidhu jhatpat pote keval lidhu. 53. In the folktale of “Mondays on the Dark Night of the Moon” associated with the Som Amasya fast (Narayan 1997, 29-34) there is a parallel to both the interstitial status of Rajul and also a bridge to thinking about other women who stand at the threshold of

identities. In the folktale, the husband dies on the fourth circumambulation of the wedding fire, leaving his bride “stranded, both virgin and widow, at the shores of auspicious married life” (Narayan 1997, 34). 54. Harlan (1996, 231-232) questions whether the persistent resistance to Sati Godavari’s wish to die as a sati may be linked to her identity as a Vaisnav. To what extent does Rajul’s Jainness function as a barrier to her sativrat? In a sense, we might see the adherence to Jain values as preventing her from immolation in much the same way that Hindu sativratas were locked up, stopped by police, or prevented by pollution. 55. Lhe visual markers of Jain renunciation (white clothes, bald head, staff, begging bowls, and cloth broom) differ from those of Hindu renouncers in part by their very clear and consistently recognizable Jain identity.

212 NOTES TO PAGES 130-132 56. Noble and Sankhyan (1994, 363); Courtright (1995, 360-37 and fig. 2); Weinberger-Thomas (2000, figs. 15, 17, and 18). Jinas are sometimes represented in their kingly form by applying silver “armor” and crowns or by applying designs directly on the surface of the images, but these adornments are not carved in stone (as Rajul’s are). Rajul’s surface adornments evoke those of the goddesses rather than those of the siddhas; they are not reminiscent of the adornments of any other siddha images in Jain temple culture. 57. Veneration of Rajimati, at least in her role as the teacher of Rathanemi in the cave, is evidenced as early as the fourteenth century Vividhatirthakalpa. In describing the ritual practices recommended for pilgrimage to Mount Girnar, a brief description of Rajimati’s cave is included: “Crouch down and go one hundred paces from the Rajamati cave: there are a quicksilver well, a black-spotted creeper, a jewelled image of Rajimati, Amba, and various herbs” (Cort 1993, 252). In the Ujjayanta Stava dedicated to describing Mount Girnar, it is written: “Who does not exclaim praise inside the cave Rajimati, where Rathanemi, having descended, went from the wrong path to the good path? Performing puja, bathing, gifting, and performing asceticism here are causes of the pleasure of liberation for good people” (Cort 1993, 254). 58. See note 11 in this chapter. “Those who will sing and recite, and those who listen, they will get all their wishes. Those who meditate in their heart on this enlightened one (siddha) [Rajul], they will surely marry such an auspicious bride.... the fifth day of the light half of the month Sravan is special.... Great people who say these slokas out of devotion, attain great fame” (Nemandathno Saloko 2000, 77-78, 80). 59. The Saubhagya Paficami fast, though it starts on Jnan Paficami (Kartak bright fifth) requires a full fast on Sravan bright fifth (commonly called Nag Paficami by Jains, though these observances were never linked to the Hindu festival of snake worship) rather than on Jian Paficami, when the easier one-sitting fast (eka@sand) is sufficient. In Jain fasts, the most important day is usually marked by the most strenuous fast, marking Sravan bright fifth as the center of the fast. 6o. “Those who meditate in their heart on this enlightened one (siddha) [Rajul]” receive a variety of benefits, including marital happiness and great fame. Even though Jains worship guardian goddesses for well-being, most notably Padmavati, at weddings the blessings are derived from lineage goddesses rather than these Jain guardian soddesses. 61. Although most Jain cundadi songs retell the story of Rajul’s wedding day, there was one cundadi song that did not. In Caitanyamala (1989, 81), there is a cundadi song that describes a cundadi, and each time it names a feature that feature is linked to a matching category within Jain normative discourse (five colors, for example, are linked with the five beings worthy of worship). However, I never heard this cundadi performed. 62. Jains are wary of all-night events because of the potential harm to insects by the use of lamps. 63. Among Gujarati Hindus and also Jains, Navratri is often the time in which they perform their annual worship of their lineage goddesses, so these two kinds of goddesses must be seen in concert.

NOTES TO PAGES 134-139 213 64. One woman told me that the sixteen ornaments of an auspicious married woman were: (1) henna, (2) red on feet (lakh), (3) toe rings, (4) anklets, (5) gold bangles, (6) earrings, (7) forehead ornament, (8) armbands, (9) waistband, (10) nose ring, (11) finger rings, (12) black eyeliner (kdjal), (13) red in the part of the hair (sindiir), (14) necklace, (15) perfume, and (16) a red sari. Another listed the sixteen as: (1) forehead ornament (bindi), (2) red in the part of the hair (sindur), (3) forehead mark (tikko), (4) black eyeliner (kajal), (5) nose ring, (6) necklace, (7) earrings, (8) henna, (9) bangles, (10) armbands, (11) ring with a mirror, (12) hair ornaments, (13) waistband, (14) anklet, (15) toe ring, and (16) a red sari. A third listed: (1) hair ornaments, (2) pleasant-smelling perfume (sugandh), (3) forehead mark/ornament (tikka /bindi), (4) black eyeliner (kajal), (5) nose ring, (6) earrings, (7) necklace, (8) bangles, (9) armbands, (10) henna, (11) ring/ hand jewelry, (12) red on feet (lakh), (13) anklets, (14) toe rings, (15) waistband, and (16) ared sari. The lists are not fixed, though they are very similar. Two lists, in common with many descriptions of decorations, more or less worked from head to feet. 65. Henna is worn by Jain women who are completing long fasts and also by women who are taking diksa, presumably to cool their passions, to mark them as auspicious, and also to alleviate the overheating from dehydration. 66. This song was also published in Svar Sangit Gitamala (1999, 100). 67. Among Gujarati Hindus of a similar caste and economic status (Kanbis and Patidars), a wife’s glass bangles are broken if she is widowed (Pocock 1973, 122). In addition, I never saw any widows wearing glass bangles, though many wore simple gold ones. 68. Weinberger-Thomas (2000, 245 n 20) mentions the role of the bracelets and armbands—cudo (Gujarati) /cura (Hindi) /khanc (Rajasthani)—in marking auspicious wifehood.

69. A woman's veil (odhni) is an object of erotic fantasy for both women and men, as represented in the use of the veil image for intimacy in Rajasthani folk songs (Raheja and Gold 1994, 47-52). In my observations, Jains shared the eroticization of the veil (odhni) and extended that to other terms: chir, dupatta, and so on; but the term used for the wedding veil and the veil of goddesses (cundadi) was not invoked in their erotic word play. The cundadi is a sign of auspiciousness and blessing and is not linked to the worldly discourse of mundane sexuality. That said, the cundad? is certainly evoked in the imagery of weddings, which carry a special kind of supermundane sexuality. 70. I also found the lyrics to this veil song in Abhinav Stavanavali (2002, 340). 71. Ata daughter’s wedding, the bridal veil of a daughter-in-law (bhabhi) or the bride’s mother (herself a daughter-in-law) will be used for the lineage goddess worship, though the daughter will wear the veil given by her husband’s family during the ceremony itself. 72. This song’s refrain focuses on Rajul’s auspicious door-garland-the site of her abandonment, under which she will pass on her way to her ordination. 73. Toranthi Var Jay; I also found this text entitled, Toranthi bhale jay in an Afical Gacch stavan collection that was owned by a member of Shivajinagar’s congregation, Caitanyamala (1989, 125). 74. jyotamathi jyot pragatay re.

214. NOTES TO PAGES 139-143 75. ajavalu thay. 76. Flames (jyot) are not invoked in Jain renunciation discourse, nor are they part of devotional lyric. Though lamps figure in Jain devotional lyric they are the controlled lamps (dipa or dipak) that are associated with Jain worship rather than the flame itself with its potential heat and passion. 77. Interestingly, none of the satis had fasted to death, either, which could be a kind of substitute for self-immolation. This parallel is subject to much political tension, as satI supporters point to the Jain practice’s legal status as evidence of perceived favoritism (for example, see the article in Hinduism Today (December 1987) in Major 2007, 372-374), while Jains argue that their practice is different (Tukol 1976), because it is about dispassionate nonaction rather than passionate acting (as the sati’s death is so clearly portrayed by Hindus and in sati narratives as the act of an impassioned agent). For a compelling analysis of the teleological differences between Jain fasting to death and sati self-immolation, see Laidlaw (2005, 191-194). Thus, it is not surprising that those women who are named satis do not fast to death. 78. See Kelting (forthcoming b) for a discussion of Jain tellings of the story of Nala and Damayanti. 79. Rajul attains liberation in this very lifetime as a siddha, so her passion is not seen as a bar to her perfection. CHAPTER 6

1. I was told this by both mendicants and devout lay Jains who hope to create a community of monks and nuns whose area of travel focuses in the region. Maharashtra has a growing Jain population, but relatively few mendicants (compared to Gujarat or Rajasthan) are available for the rainy season retreats. 2. Another way that young Jain women have used the imaginary of nunhood to assert their selfhood is to use the threat, if you will, of renunciation as leverage. 3. See Fohr (2001) for a discussion about the importance to Jains and to nuns of the respectability of Jain nunhood. 4. Men, when choosing ordination, must also choose to leave home, where they otherwise would have lived out their whole lives (Vallely 2002, 237-238). The question of separation from one’s family, then, is far more consequential for men who renounce than it is for women. When women renounce, their experience of separation is no more momentous than it would be if they married and left for their in-law’s house. 5. The dichotomy that nuns posit of the worldly laywoman and the worldtranscending nun is problematic, as laywomen certainly perform rituals to the end of world transcendence, and nuns are required to interact with the worldly, both in terms of lay-mendicant interaction and also in the provision for others within the renouncer orders. Khandelwal, Hauser, and Gold (2006) pull together a set of essays on women and renunciation in South Asia, which describe a complex engagement between renouncers and worldly life; this engagement belies the claims within the male-dominated renunciation discourse of complete separation from society. Laidlaw (1995, 230-239)

NOTES TO PAGES 143-148 = 215 examines the complex reversal found when highly ascetic Jain laymen are able to perform greater austerities than monks who must engage in worldly or institutional activities.

6. Cort (20o1b) has an extensive analysis of the intersection between what he terms the ideology of moksa marg and the realm of well-being. This understanding of the interconnectedness of these two discourses has been instrumental for my thinking in general and particularly in this chapter. 7. A young woman must learn to cook several dishes before she is married. It is expected that new wives will bring with them a number of new menu items as well as being able to make the staples of Gujarati Jain cooking: tea, lentils (ddl), rice, flat breads (rotlt and khakhra), and a few vegetable dishes. The more complex dishes—sweets, foods for days when Jains eat restricted diets, non-Gujarati foods adjusted to conform to Jain restrictions—are not expected of a new bride, but her ability to make these sorts of foods contributes to her attractiveness as a daughter-in-law and makes her popular when she is first married. 8. It is a woman's responsibility to remove herself from a space or to move aside when unknown men arrive in the house or when they are menstruating. Most households attempt to make this easier for women by allocating particular spaces, often out of the flow of traffic, to menstruating women. 9g. Young women also link saris with older women and Gujarati-style saris with conservative and/or traditional social values. The ability to wear salwar kamiz is seen as a sign that one’s mother-in-law is tolerant and modern, and the wearing of a sari in the “Bombay style” with the end of the sari thrown over the left shoulder and hanging in the back is a sign of modernity and urban style. However, at weddings and other events where Jain and Gujarati identity are being marked and celebrated, women tend to wear Gujarati-style saris, with the end of the sari brought forward over the right shoulder and tucked into the waist displaying the design, even if they never do at other times. For Marwaris, I observed the same trend with wearing ghagharo coli (skirt, blouse, and a half-sari) at religious events and weddings but not on normal days. However, there is some resistance in Pune to women wearing salwar kamiz outside the home or as they age because of its strong associations with college students or Panjabi, Sikh, or Muslim women. Io. Young unmarried Jain men did internalize the idea of their own bodies as a site of evaluation. I found that during the time between the start of the search for a bride and the completion of the wedding young men commonly discussed and worried about their bodily appearance-height, skin color, hair, general attractiveness, and so on. Negative personal evaluations were introduced and assurances granted in ways similar to those of young women, but for young women dress, makeup, and jewelry can be used more effectively to compensate for perceived flaws. 11. The ambivalence that Jains felt about the display of young women at wedding fairs contrasted with the socially sanctioned and celebrated display of women who fast; fasting women are proven (by their fast) to be virtuous, and their virtue is untouched by the gaze of community members and outsiders who come to watch the fast-breaking parades. These Jain womer's bodies are displayed as the iconic representation of Jain

216 NOTES TO PAGE 148 ethics and religious values (Kelting 2001b, 48-59). The most prominent displays are those associated with ordinations and with fast-breaking ceremonies. I have written in chapter 5 about the form of the ordination parade and its resonance with the procession of a satimata. The fast-breaking parades, on the other hand, invoke the symbols of auspicious wifehood but not the marriage rite. The fasters are dressed as auspicious wives, with their saris covering their bound or braided hair, their wedding jewelry displayed prominently, and often with a wedding veil over the sari. In one fast-breaking parade, I observed that even women I knew to be unmarried were dressed as if they were wives. For example, in a 2001 fast-breaking parade, one unmarried young woman wore a wedding veil and carried the brass lamp that a groom’s mother carries in his wedding procession, marking her as an auspicious wife (saubhagyavati). When she asked me to take her picture, she teased me that seeing her dressed this way would help me get used to the idea that soon she would be married and sent away from the neighborhood. Throughout, the fasters are the objects of the community's gaze (and the gaze, too, of non-Jains), but they do not interact with the onlookers; the fasters are silent, disengaged icons of virtuous wifehood. 12. The only unmarried young men who are permitted to attend are those who are going to present themselves on stage to the audience for consideration. Unmarried women who are not presenting themselves on stage may attend, suggesting that the controls on access are about the male gaze and unmarried women. Though ideally the married men are not evaluating the women in ways that could be deemed sexual, in my experience, comments on attractiveness by these married men were common, and some ogling certainly occurred. 13. The wedding registry is a book that attempts to include all the eligible unmarried Jain men and women with biographical details and contact information; many attendees come primarily to get a copy of this book. In a fruitful conversation early in this project, John Cort suggested that these wedding registries may arise out of Jain community directories that Jains have used to identify potential marriage mates. These registries are now used to keep track of marriageable youth in the community and, unlike the community directories, they are organized by the potential mates rather than by heads of household. Organizations like Marwari Agarwal Mahasabha were founded to facilitate finding marriage partners within one’s own caste (Hardgrove 2004, 206). This is a problem both within India and, perhaps even more, among Jain communities outside of India. Wedding lists and advertisements are now a standard feature of Jain print magazines, on-line magazines, and community Web sites. 14. Ironically, for young men the display is even more foreign, as they rarely have performed rituals that would have them put on display. But for young men to look too embarrassed works against them, because they are expected to look confident and manly regardless of how uncomfortable they feel with being on display. 15. Pallu is actually the term for money a groom gives his bride, but it intimately linked to the pallav (the end of a sari) where a woman might tie up her personal money. In found that Jains called this ritual pallu and pallav interchangeably, but with a slight preference for pallu in writing. This is not to be confused with the rites of filling the

NOTES TO PAGES 149-155 217 pallav of a sari (called kholabharan) associated with the blessings on married daughters and pregnant women. 16. Jains seem to have an uneasy relationship with vermilion (sindur). I have not observed or been told of the rite of sindir dan being performed at Jain weddings, and on occasions Jain men and women have expressed distaste or disgust when describing what they called a “Hindu” ritual. Few Jain women wore sind®r in the part of their hair, either. Those that did wore a much less visible amount than the Maharashtrian Hindu women I observed in Pune, and were often the more conservative and less sophisticated women. Among young urban Jains, the wearing of sindiir was seen as being unsophisticated and “village-y’; they used the term ghati, which refers to those who come from the villages in the Western Ghats, and which is used pejoratively to mean Marathispeaking Hindus. An informal survey of other scholars’ photographs in books on Jainism seem to suggest that few Jains wear sindir in the parts of their hair in Gujarat, either. t7. In the few opportunities I have had to sit with a bride on the night of the consummation of her marriage, I observed that the groom's aunts and married sisters usually chose the sari that the bride would wear to the hotel with her husband. The bride in each case I observed sat quietly and frankly exhausted throughout the proceedings, and ceded the control of her appearance to her new relatives. To overread that compliance would be to miss the point, which centers on the transfer of her body into the control of her husband’s family from her parent’s control during these rituals. One bride I later knew well told me that by time the wedding was over, she was tired and glad that someone else was making decisions for her. This was just one more step in the ritual inscription of her body as wifely.

18. The self-presentation of the Jain community as modern, urban, and middle-class contributes to their pride in the education of their daughters, which in turn makes it hard for a family to marry off a daughter who is insufficiently educated. This can be a status marker for Gujaratis vis-a-vis Marwaris or Jains visa-vis non-Jains; I have heard it invoked in both contexts as evidence of a kind of cultural superiority. 19. The story of Bharat and Bahubali is the central narrative of Jinasena’s Adipuran a. The Adipurdna is the most widely venerated text within the Digambar communities (Dundas 2002, 119-120). Strohl (1990) translates a selection from this key Digambar text. 20. Shanta (1997, 610-611) tells of one Terapanthi nun who took a vow of virginity to convince her marital and natal families to permit her to renounce. This contrasts with the fasting for renunciation that marks other narratives. Vallely (2002, 83) distinguishes the unwavering model of female renunciation from the account of one monk who presents his renunciation as a surprise to everyone, including himself. 21. During the time period between the public statement of the intention to renounce and one’s ordination, a young woman is called a diksarthi (one who intends to take diksa). 22. Among lay Jains I observed that there is often speculation about unmarried women who take ordination. The most common negative comments are that her family

218 NOTES TO PAGES 155-158 did not want to give a dowry for her or that there was something “wrong” with her that meant no one would marry her. Jain mendicants are sensitive to this criticism and often elaborate on the marriageability of their cohort before they renounced. This discourse contrasts with models in which marriage is framed as the fall-back position for women who are not spiritual enough, strong enough, brave enough, independent enough, and so on, to renounce. 23. An early version of this discussion of the Updhan vow can be found in Kelting 2006b (195-198). 24. Interestingly, the posadh vow was relatively common among men, with no sense that they were going to become monks. I found that women rarely took the one-day vow of posadh, but quite a number took longer vows like the Updhan, in which they lived like nuns for extended periods of time. The Updhan is first described in the seventh-century Mahanisitha Sutra (I11.3.15-36.1). 25. Unmarried women, like mothers-in-law, have less work to do if they have finished their schooling, and can spare the time for lengthy fasts. Once married, they will not have the time to perform lengthy fasts for a decade or so. However, this explanation given to me by only one of the many unmarried women who performed the fast in Pune. 26. See Cort (2001b, 137); Kelting (2006b, 195-198); Laidlaw (1995, 175-179). 27. Women I spoke with who had completed the Updhan had vowed to perform the evening confession daily, to eliminate certain foods (mostly store-bought foods) from their diet, and to fast on the anniversary of their Updhan’s completion.

28. At another Updhan held in 2008 at the same temple near Pune in February and March, there were twenty unmarried young women, out of which one announced her intention to renounce at the end of the Updhan; another is actively considering diksa; and a third, whose family made her discontinue the Updhan part way through the vow, has also declared her intention to renounce. I was unable to interview this last young woman, but another woman at the Updhan with her felt that the young woman’s family had revoked their permission for her to perform the fast because they were afraid she would decide to renounce. This is hearsay, certainly, but suggestive of a strategic use of the Updhan and its potential role as a practice renunciation. There was one young woman who was already engaged at the time she signed up for the Updhan but performed the fast because she would not be able to after she was married, and another young woman who got engaged after she had signed up for the Updh4an and decided to complete the vow “anyway.” 29. Consider that there are 4,225,053 million Jains, and there are only a few more than eight thousand Jain nuns (in all the orders combined); if we assume half of the Jains are women, we end up with a figure between 0.003 per cent and 0.004 per cent becoming nuns. 30. I was unable to ascertain whether they themselves spoke to other performers of the Updhan about this exploration, but in any case, they would not do so widely. 31. The most significant difference between the benefits of the Updhan and the Candanbala fasts center around karma reduction. The Updhan, by virtue of being more similar to the life of a mendicant, is believed to more effectively reduce karma, but the

NOTES TO PAGES 158-1601 = 219

Candanbala fast is a full fast and certainly removes karma. The operative difference is the extent to which the participants identity with mendicants. 32. Other narratives of satis who never married were rarely told to me or other laywomen in my presence by laywomen or mendicants. The discourse of anti-wifehood presented in the stories of virgin nun satis (bdala-brahmacari sati) would, in a sense, be inappropriate for good wives to focus on. Like the stories in chapter 3, of satis who fix their bad marriages, most virgin nun sati stories were not told by Jain laywomen in ritual contexts and devotional songs, and rarely as entertainment. The only spontaneous tellings I recorded were by young unmarried women, and the only ritual tellings were that of Rajul and Candanbala. Nuns did not tell me these stories—though they clearly found the bala-brahmacari narratives powerful for their own identity (Fohr 2001, 78-88, 146-149)—in part, I suspect, because my research focus is on laywomen, I myself am a married woman, and these sati narratives are not seen as instructive for women who are married already. The stories of the bala-brahmacaris provide a discourse for young women in which the protagonists remain ever childlike. Brahmi and Sundari, though they become leaders of the community, are never described as adults. Candanbala is a more complex narrative and character, but even she remains childlike in her innocence of the potentials of her own sexuality and that of the merchant. The balabrahmacari narratives are naively free from any sexual threats or, with the exception of Rajul, any of the unhappiness that may accompany marriage, as | discussed earlier in the lives of Sulasa, Afijana, and Subhadra. Even for the satis who do not actually experience misfortune, Rohini and Maynasundari, the threat of misfortune is a key part of the narrative. 33. Although the story begins with Candanbala as a daughter who becomes a slave, when young women told the story they often started with the point at which the merchant finds her in the slave market. This frame excludes the incident in which

Candanbala is almost sold into prostitution. 34. In contrast to the renunciation coda of many Jain sati narratives, there is a wellknown but rarely told story associated with Candanbala after her renunciation in which she is able to save the life of another nun. That said, no one ever told me that story in conjunction with the story of Candanbala’s fast and miracle. 35. In my observations, some young women would boast of how they might turn down suitors or choose their own husband freely (and a few did), but these boasts seemed more a resistance to the role of passive potential bride rather than claims to either plans or desires. As marriage arrangements progressed, most ceased to make these claims, and their speech became more compliant with parental authority. As Mahmood (2005, 29) argues about Muslim women’s desire to be pious, I read compliance here as a choice rather than as a resignation of choice, because the women who made these boasts often also explored nunhood seriously and began to speak of desire in the context of their fiancé. 36. Itis a threefold fast; fasters only take water, though some fasters forgo the water as well for at least the first day. 37. This fast is widely known and included in the next most common fasting manual, Aradhand Tatha Tapavidhi.

220 NOTES TO PAGES 162-172 38. The miraculous moment in the Candanbala story is marked by two images: the chains breaking open to free her, and her beautiful hair instantly growing back. Women telling the story of Candanbala or reenacting it as part of the Candanbala fast, always made sure to include this detail, drawing attention to the broken chains and the return of her beauty as the “proof,” as it were, of the efficacy of her meritorious act. 39. Elsewhere I have written about the ways in which the Candanbala fast superimposes the images of the present participants and Candanbala and Mahavir (Kelting 2006a). 40. Recording of sermon by Muni Devguptavijayji, Pune, 6 August 2001. 41. The one married woman who performed the fast-breaking almsgiving in front of the audience did not cry, and Devguptavijay did not draw any attention to her lack of tears.

42. In Junnar, a painting of Candanbala includes her standing with her right hand raised in the bent-elbow blessing associated with satimatas, as discussed in chapter 5. 43. Special thanks are due to Heather Hindman for sharing this insight into this ritual performance with me. 44. The singing contest had ten contestants (eight middle-aged married women, one older widow, and one unmarried young woman) who each sang a different stavan focusing on Rajul, mostly veil songs, as discussed in chapter 5. 45. Two of the unmarried young women who competed in the Rajul contest had also performed the Candanbala fast in 2001. Interestingly, the judges of the contest were two young married women who grew up in the congregation and were home visiting for their first Raksa Bandhan. Both of these women had previously performed the Candanbala fast: one in 2000 and the other in 2001. These two young women were closely allied with nuns before they married, and when they awarded the prizes they gave first prize to the one young woman who represented Rajul’s renunciation. 46. The one young woman who chose to partially dramatize Rajul as a nun was one whose close ties with a community of nuns suggested her contemplation of nunhood. For another who included the renunciation, the melodramatic effects centered around Rajul’s suffering rather than her subsequent renunciation. After the weeping, wailing, and singing of the tearful Rajul, her renunciation served as an uninspired denouement; this young woman, whose weeping went on for a full ten minutes, stood up and announced over her shoulder as she left that she was going to renounce. 47. Although women learn to tell the history of their weddings and marriages in accordance with the discourse of wifehood, these young brides did not complain about the work of wifehood, their mothers-in-law, or the adjustment to their new homes. All of these complaints are considered normal and would not conflict with the discourse of wifehood; in fact, these complaints serve as a form of compliance with the discourse of wifehood by confirming the shared representation of conflict between marital and natal family.


1. The Jain wife is not based—as the Hindu wife so often is—on the story of Sita, whose companionate relationship with Rama conflicts with kingly and wifely virtue, but

NOTES TO PAGES 173-175 221 on the story of Maynasundari; the effect of this alternative model may be profound for the ways that Jain wifehood is imagined. However, there are Hindu models in connection to women’s fasting that suggest something more like a dharmapatni. In one Hindu folktale associated with the Mother Ten festival (The Brahmin’s Daughter and the Five Bachelors) collected by Gold, we see a direct link between the wife and the goddess Laksmi (Gold 1995b, 439-443). A new bride enters the house of the Five Bachelors, and because she bears the blessings of Mother Ten and because of her status as a new bride, she is able to bring prosperity to the poor family. Like a dharmapatni, she also corrects her husband and his brothers’ wrong behavior, which works directly to their worldly benefit. 2. The transitions between identities are certainly no less complex or potentially difficult for women in other locations. Jain women often listened with concern as I juggled research with family and my personal passion (music). When they spoke to me on the phone of family celebrations, religious festivals, mandal performances, pilgrimages, and visits to their parents, I spoke of the work day, progress on my book, my conferences, and visits with family squeezed in between.

I have missed events in my family and time with my husband and son in order to pursue my career. These are real costs, about which the women I know in India felt sympathy. Many of the younger wives (and some of the middle-aged wives) had worked outside the home before their marriages, and though some spoke of how they missed the freedom and the money, few spoke with real regret. Notions of loss of freedom were expressed by men as well, for as they marry and age, their worlds become increasingly circumscribed by work and their family and its obligations. But the pleasures of married life were extolled regularly in casual and Spontaneous conversations. 3. In 2008, the Nemi Vacan was performed in conjunction with the morning sermon at the request of the monk who would otherwise not hear the recition (men and women perform the pratikraman separately). Even with the change of time, it was the most widely attended event after the celebrations at Paryusan and the temple anniversaty. 4. The Saubghagya Paficami fast requires a fast on the fifth day of the bright half of each month for five years and five months. Though the fast is often started on Jhan Paficami (Kartak bright fifth) the instructions always suggest that the participants be sure to perform a full fast (no food or water) on Sravan bright fifth, marking that day as the one on which the greatest benefits for the fast are gained. 5. The following is an accounting of the Nemandathno Saloko’s structure by verse number:

I-12. Nemi’s birth and childhood 13-19. Krsna’s attempt to convince Nemi to marry 20-30. the speeches of Nemis sisters-in-law 31-32. a short speech by Radha 33-38. the gifts to the bride 39-43. Nemi’s decision to marry

222 NOTES TO PAGES 175-176 44-60. the description of the wedding procession of Nemi up to and including a four-verse description of his first sight of Rajul dressed for her wedding to his moment of renunciation 61-64. Nemi’s renunciation 65-72. Rajul’s lament 73-76. Rajul’s renunciation and their liberation 77-82. the benefits arising of the recitation of this text 6. Jains believe Neminath to have been a cousin-brother of Krsna, and as such Krsna’s wives Rukamani and Satyabhama would be his sisters-in-law. 7. The twelve restraints are lay vows taken in order to mark one as an especially pious Jain. See Laidlaw (1995, 174-189) for a description of these vows. These are similar to vows taken by mendicants, and they are illustrative of Jain liberation ideologies contextualized within lay life. It is notable that the first image focuses on how Nemi’s wife will be the upholder of Jain liberation-directed practice in the home.


Aksaynidhi a fifteen-day one-sitting fast performed in nine cy-

fast cles over four and a half years, during which the worship of knowledge is central; this fast is believed to lead to familial prosperity

Anjanasundari a Jain sati; she is the mother of Hanuman and is a character in the Jain Ramayana

Antarayakarm “obstacle karma removal puja” and its liturgy; per-

Nivaranani formed to remove the specific karma that prevents

puja one from worshiping correctly; often performed in the name of a deceased relative

anumodan appreciation of the good acts of others; a source of merit

avasyaka originally, the six daily obligations of a Jain mendicant; later lay versions have also been created

ayambil bland food (made with no oil, no spices, no dairy, and no green vegetables) associated with the Oli fast

Ayambil Oli a series of nine one-sitting ayambil fasts performed in imitation of the sati Maynasundari as part of the Ayambil Oli festival during either Caitra bright 7-15 or Aso bright 7-15; this fast is widely believed to protect one’s saubhagya


bala-brahmacari someone who has been celibate since birth; usually refers to monks and nuns who take ordination before they have been married

barahmasa a poetic form popular in medieval north India in which each verse is associated with the aesthetic experience of each of the twelve months of the year; usually love poetry

bhav sentiment; most commonly, bhakti bhav—the sentiment of devotion

bhavana Jain devotional singing sessions usually performed at night in a temple, but also performed in Jain homes to mark celebrations

boli the practice of auctioning off the privilege to perform certain parts of a Jain ritual; the auction itself

Brahmi-Sundari a pair of Jain satis; these two sisters, who exemplify two experiences of the choice to renounce; their story is part of the famous story of their brothers, Bharata and Bahubali; they are the daughters of the first Jina of this era, Adinath

Candanbala a Jain sati; best known for her miraculous almsgiving to Mahavir and later as the head of the order of nuns under Mahavir

Candanbala fast a three-day full fast in imitation of Candanbala’s fast and her subsequent feeding of Mahavir

caniya-coli a skirt and blouse combination considered traditional to Gujarat and always worn with the odini—a half-sari worn over the skirt and blouse—in a style similar to the Gujarati-style sari

caturvidh sangh the fourfold community of male mendicants, female mendicants, laymen, and laywomen

cundadi/cunari veil; in particular the ornate veils worn by a bride during her wedding and offered to satimatas and other goddesses as part of their worship; the wedding veil of a satimata is ritually burned twelve days after her death


cundadi git “veil songs”; devotional songs that usually center around the image of the veil; in Jain contexts, these are almost always dedicated to the Jain sati, Rajul; in Hindu contexts, they may be dedicated to lineage goddesses or the goddesses worshiped at Navratri

derasar “Jain temple” in Gujarati and Marvadi (mandir in Hindi or Marathi)

dharm religion or duty dharmapatni literally “a religious wife”; a wife who is not only virtuous generally but also teaches her husband and his family correct religious praxis and generally increases the religious activity in the home

Digambar “sky clad”; one of the sects of Jainism, popular primarily in the south and parts of Rajasthan; though very important in many parts of Maharashtra, these Jains are the smallest group in Pune

diksa the rite of initiation that makes a Jain layperson into a mendicant; cupi diksa is doing so in secret, without the permission of one’s family

diksarthi one who has the intention of taking diksa, a mendicant-to-be

gacch a school of Jain mendicants; a further subdivision within Jainism of mendicants and their followers; in Pune, as in Jainism as a whole, the largest was the Tapa Gacch, though there were also Khartar Gacch Jains in Pune’s Svetambar Martipajak community

gharlaksmi literally, “household Laksmi”; literally, a daughterin-law who brings prosperity and well-being to the home

ghunghat the women’s practice of showing deference to one’s senior affinal relatives and guests by covering one’s hair or hair and face with a veil

git song, especially welcome songs (svagatam git) or fasting songs (tapasya git)


Indra/Indrani the king and queen of the gods, paradigmatic Jain devotees

Jina “victor,” one of the omniscient teachers of who revitalizes the Jain religion; there have been twenty-

four Jinas in the present era, and there will be a future cycle of twenty-four when the next era of time begins

jyoti/jot flame; a spontaneously self-illuminating flame; a flame that is used to symbolize a satimata for worship; the rite of worshiping a satimata as a flame

karma “action”; in the Jain context, the material substance that adheres to one’s soul and prevents it from rising to the abode of the liberated; specific forms of karma determine the future destiny of a soul

Khartar Gacch a lineage of Jain mendicants popular in Rajasthan; marked by female mendicants giving sermons and by the worship of the Dadagurus

kuldevi lineage goddess worshiped for the protection of the family annually and at rites of passage

kunkum a red powder made from turmeric and alum used in a variety of auspicious rites, usually to mark the forehead of those receiving blessings, but also used

to make handprints and footprints of women in rituals of crossing the threshold of their homes

mahapuja great worship ceremonies; formal ptijas understood to require a sadhu’s presence

mahasati “a great sati”; often used when telling the story of a single sati to show veneration; title used for nuns among Sthanakavasi Jains

Mahavir the twenty-fourth and last Jina of this era Mallinath the nineteenth Jina; for Svetambars, a woman mama maternal uncle, who is central to the arrangement of one’s marriage and to the wedding rites; traditionally one’s mother’s place of refuge and in emersencies—for example, if one has no brother or one


has been rejected by one’s natal family, the last refuge of a woman

mantra formulic short prayer for recitation

marg path

Marvadi people or things from the region Marvad (Marwar) in southern Rajasthan; a major ethnic group within the Jain community

Maynasundari a Jain sati; best known as the dharmapatni of the mytho-historical King Sripal, whose Jain devotion miraculously cures her husband of leprosy; Sripal and Mayna are the protagonists of a popular medieval narrative, the Sripal Rajano Ras

moksa liberation; release from the cycle of rebirth moksa marg the ideology that centers around the pursuit of liberation; often the ideological stance of Jain normative texts, especially those intended for renouncers

Mumbai Bombay Murtiptjak those who do worship to images: a major sect within Svetambar Jainism; the two others are Sthanakavasi and Terapanthi, neither of whom accept image worship

Navkar mantra the basic Jain mantra recited as part of all rituals; it honors the five worshipful beings: the Jinas, liberated ones, mendicant teachers, mendicant leaders, and all mendicants

Navpad Oli fast a series of nine Ayambil Oli fasts followed by a Navpad puja; an efficacious and popular fast for one’s husband’s health

Navpad/Navpadji another name for the siddhacakra Navpad puja a formal liturgy for worship of the siddhacakra performed to mark the end of the Oli fasts

Navratri the “nine nights” of the goddess, a Hindu festival honoring nine manifestations of the goddess

Neminath the twenty-second Jina of this era


Oli “line”; usually refers to a nine-day Jain festival (probably created to match Navratri) during which there is emphasis on fasting for saubhagya, especially the Ayambil Oli

paccakhan “intention”; public statement of the intention to fast

pap “sin’; those actions which lead to the accumulation of bad karma

Paryusan an eight-day festival near the end of the rainy season during which there is increased lay-mendicant interaction, fasting, and religious activity generally

pativrata a dedicated wife; a woman who has vowed to be dedicated to her husband—in particular, to protect him and to be faithful

phagu a poetic form that centers around the aesthetic experience of the four months of the rainy season; usually used for love poetry and devotional verse

posadh a formal but temporary vow made by laity to live like a mendicant for a fixed period of time

praksal the blessed liquid from Jain worship of yantras— principally of the siddhacakra—understood to be healing and protective

prasad the blessed remains of worship to deities pratikraman the rite of confession and expiation of sins

puja “worship”; generally, the performance of worship liturgies

punya “merit”; the karmic result of meritorious acts as opposed to pap or sin

purdah literally, “curtain”; usually refers to the practice of a physical separation of the sexes, particularly between women and men who are not related

rajoharan the cloth broom carried by Jain mendicants; its acceptance is the signifier of ordination

Rajul /Rajimati a Jain sati; she is best known for her near marriage to the Jina Neminath; her renunciation is often cited as the model for the ordination of nuns


raksapotli a protective wrist amulet blessed by a mantra recited by a Jain monk

ras/raso a narrative medieval poetry form widely adopted by Jain monks for devotional poetry

ratijaga Hindu ritual of staying up at night singing devotional songs to honor deities, performed for familial protection and at rites of passage

Rohini a Jain sati; principally known because of the popularity of a fast associated with her narrative

Rohini fast a one-day fast on the rohini day of each month performed for seven years and seven months in imitation of the Jain sati Rohini

sahagamana “soing together with’ one’s husband; the rite by which a sati dies with her husband

sahamarana “dying together with’ one’s husband; the rite by which a sati dies with her husband; also anumarana, “dying after” one’s husband, often denoting the rite by which a sati dies with some relic of her husband (often his turban) after finding out that he has died and been cremated elsewhere

sajjhay a Jain devotional hymn genre popular among medieval Jain monks, usually narrative in form

samayik formalized meditation, usually for forty-eight minutes

sangh “community” or “congregation”; either the Jains who worship at a particular temple—articulated through

their presence at the annual congregation feast or the Samvatsari Pratikraman—or the sum of all Jains

Sakti power; understood to be a feminine principle salwar kamiz a tunic worn over loose pants; in western India worn primarily by young women who are not married, in casual settings

Sasan-devata the protector deities who, as Jain devotees, protect the Jinas and assist human Jains


sat “truth”; inner virtue; in this context, used to describe the power of a womar’s fidelity that arises when she manifests herself as a sati

sati “a true woman’; usually reserved for devoted wives; for Hindus often the self-immolated wives of recent-

ly deceased men; for Jains, virtuous women who are true to their religion and devoted to their husbands,

though they are sometimes in conflict with their husband’s family

satimata a sati who has immolated herself on her husband’s funeral pyre and who, for this reason, is venerated

sativrata a woman who has vowed to die on her husband’s funeral pyre

saubhagya state of well-being; usually a womar’s state of being while she is married to a living man

Saubhagya Paficami a one-day fast on the fifth day of the bright half of

fast each lunar month performed for five years and five months in order to protect one’s saubhagya

saubhagyavati literally, a fortunate woman; a woman with a living husband

siddha a liberated soul siddhacakra a symbolic representation of the nine elements of Jainism worthy of worship: the Jinas, the liberated souls, the mendicant teachers, the mendicant leaders, all mendicants, right faith, right knowledge, right action, and right austerities

Siddhacakra mahaptja an elaborate formal liturgy based on the worship of the siddhacakra, which is believed to create ideal marriages and well-being

sindtr red powder worn in the part of a womar’s hair to symbolize her status as a married woman with a living husband; vermilion

sindtr dan the rite of putting sindtr in the part of a newly married bride by her groom, understood widely to be a symbolic deflowering of the virgin bride

sravak “he who listens”; Jain layman, also Sanskrit


Sravika “she who listens”; Jain laywoman Sripal a mytho-historical king married to the Jain sati Maynasundari; Sripal and Mayna are the protagonists of a popular medieval Jain narrative, the Sripal Rajano Ras

srngar the marks of auspicious wifehood; they usually number sixteen, including jewelry (nose ring, ban-

gles, etc.) and makeup (henna, etc.), though the particulars of the list vary

stavan Jain devotional hymn Sthanakavasi sect of Svetambar Jainism that rejects image worship, founded by Lonka Shah in the twelfth century

Subhadra a Jain sati best known for her piety Sulasa a Jain sati best known for her devotion to her husband and her attempts to teach him Jainism

svayamvara “self-choice” marriage; a rite by which a woman chooses her husband from a group of assembled suitors; this rite is usually represented as a royal perogative, but a symbolic svayamvara in which the bride garlands (“chooses”) the groom is performed at Jain weddings

Svetambar “white-clad”; the larger of the two major sects of Jainism, popular primarily in western India from Rajasthan to Maharasthra; this community is increasing in size in Maharasthra and is the larger sroup in Pune; marked by a belief in the ability of women to attain moksa

tap “austerities”; almost exclusively fasting; includes various kinds of restrictions: one sitting (ekdsan), two sitting (beasan), or eating bland foods (ayambil)

Tapa Gacch the largest Svetambar Murtipujak ascetic lineage, dominant in Maharashtra and in publications

Terapanthi sect of Svetambar Jainism that rejects image worship, founded by Muni Bhikhanji in the eighteenth century; this sect is marked by its devotion to the


charismatic mendicant leaders and its institution of partially initiated mendicants

toran door garland; an auspicious garland hung over a doorway marking and blessing the threshold

Updhan fast a vow to live as a Jain mendicant for a length of time while performing a one-sitting fast of simple unmodified foods (nivi); the first vow is for forty-five days, and there is an elaborate ritual at its completion; subsequent vows are for shorter periods

upasray mendicants’ hostel upvas a full fast with no food at all; if it includes water, it is a tivihar upvas, such as the eight-day (aththai) fast or month-long (maskhaman) fast, and if water is omitted, itis a cauvihar upvas, such as the samvatsari fast or two-and-a-half day (attham) fast

varsidan literally, “year-long gifting”; the rite of symbolically renouncing wealth before a Jain renounces, performed in imitation of Mahavir’s year of gifting before he renounced

vaskep a powder of sandalwood and saffron that (after a sadhu has blessed it) is used in a variety of Jain worship acts

vidhi ritual instructions vrat “vow”; for Jains, both Jain vows and Hindu vows undertaken by Jains

vrat katha narratives told in association with particular vows and fasts; often the stories provide a charter for the VOW

yantra a mystical diagram used in worship

Works Cited


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Abu-Lughod, Lila, 26 body, 7, 12, 158-161, 164-170, Ahearn, Laura, 16, 26, 149, 206 n. 8, 219 n. 33, 219 n. 34,

184 n. 26 220 n. 38

affection, 66, 72, 80, 99 abject, 113-114, I15, 118-119

intimacy, 66, 177-178 display of, 125, 148 private and public inscription on, 144-147, 148-150 markers, 67-68, 70 See also embodiment rejection of, 68-69. See alsolove Bourdieu, Pierre, 14-15 agency, 23, 20-31, 55-58, 50-154, Brahmi-Sundari, 151-154 169-170, 174, 185 n. 36,187n. Buddhism, 30, 38, 59

52 Butler, Judith, 30-31

Afijanasundari, 57-58, 63-66,

70-71, 73, 195 n. 15 Candanbala, 7, 12, 158-161, 164-170, 206 n. 8, anumodan, 39, 40-41, 44, 188 n. 8, 219, N. 32, 219 N. 33, 219 Nn. 34

188 n. 9 Candanbala Fast, 8, 13, 49, 143, 158-165, 202 n.

auctions, 89 25, 206 n. 6, 218 n. 31, 220 n. 48

ayambil, 48, 82, 96, 100, 103, 105, celibacy, 7, 66,70, 92, 157, 183 n. 14,184 n. 29,

152 187 n. 50, 208 n. 25

Ayambil Oli, 8, 41, 48, 79-80, virgin nuns (bala-brahmacari), 151-152, 206

82-86, 90-93, 97, I7I-172. See n. 5 also ayambil; fasting; festivals; | ceremonies. See confession; mahapujas;

Navpad Oli) ordination; singing; wedding; worship

) confession (pratikraman), 8, 12, 14, 39, 49, 806,

Babb, Lawrence A., 5, 8, 10, 25, 109, 92, 150-157, 175, 183 n. 18, IOI nN. 30, 193 124, 181 n. 4, 186 n. 46, I9I n. Nn. 44, 202, N. 20, 203 n. 25, 218 n. 27

25,206 n. 4 Cort, John E., 5, 6, 35, 39-41, 91, 103, 109, 155, Balasatimata, 129, 186 n. 42. See 181 n. 4, 182 nN. IT, 183 n. 15, 184 Nn. 23, 193

also sati; satimatas Nn. 43,194 N. 12,195 nN. 15, 203 n. 26, 212 n. barahmasa, 13, 117-118, 126-127, 57

219 Nn. 32 couple, 66-67, 69-70, 88, 97-99, 194 Nn. Io,

Barvosa-Carter, Edwina, 30, 142 196 n. 22, 196, n. 24


couple (continued) affinal, 19, 64, 67, 147-150, 172, 199 n. 30, as patrons or sponsors, 42, 79-80, 93, 95, 217 n. 17 97, 99-103, IT7, 150, 185 n. 31, 205 n. 37, natal, 67, 85, 148, 152, 158, I7I, I'75

205 n. 38 See also daughter; daughter-in-law; groom; Courtright, Paul, 24, 112, 121, 129, 186 n. 41, husband; mother-in-law; sister; sister-in-

208 Nn. 23 law; wife

cundadi/ cunari. See dress fast-breaking ceremonies, 8, 13, 37, 143, 148,

cundadi git. See songs 157, 160-163, 165, 167

) fasting, 4, 8, 27, 44-50, 61, 65, 74-76, 89,

daughter, 13, 19, 44, 62, 73, 86, 95, IT7, JO-92, 94, 103, 143, 153-154, 156-158, 128, 144-147, 159-160, 165, 173, I90 Nn. 21, 161-167, I7I-173, I75, 190 N. 21, 192 nN. 39,

198 n. 36, 213 n. 71, 216 n. 15, 217 n. 18 202 N. 25, 215 nN. II, 218 n. 31

daughter-in-law, 17-18, 43, 63, 70-73, to death, 21, 185 n. 36, 214 n. 77 85, 115, 135, 144, 148-150, 173, 174, 184 n. for happy marriages, 8, 65, 90-92, 93, 97

28,197 nN. 24, 198 n. 32, for health of husband (saubhagya), 18, 27, 198 n. 36, 205 n. 38, 215 n. 7, 37-38, 47-48, 93, 90, 132

216 n. 15 See also dyambil; Ayambil Oli Fast; death, 18, 124 Candanbala Fast; Navpad Oli Fast: Rohini sati death, 3, 19, 21-25, 65, I0g—IT0, Fast; Saubhagya Paficami Fast; Updhan IIQ—122, 125-129, 133, 136-140, 186 n. 41, Fast

2.05 N. 3, 209 N. 33 fertility, 19, 45, 70-71, 148 and Hindu renunciation, 120 as security, 19-20, 37, 43, 53, 50-69, 70, 72 fasting to death, 21, 185 n. 36, 208 n. 27 as threat to security, 70-72 dharmapatni, 79-80, 84, 85-86, 88-90, 172. See also infertility

See also wives festivals, 4, 8, 37, 82, 87, 183 n. 18, 183 n. 19,

Digambar, 5-6, 182 n. 6, 182 n. 7, 182 n. 13, 184 202 Nn. 21, 221 Nn. I

n. 23, 184 n. 24, 185 n. 36 Ayambil Oli festival, 8, 82-83, 85, 88-89,

diksa. See ordination I7I-172, 183 n. 19, 202 N. 21, 203 n. 29,

Divali. See festivals 204 N. 35 de facto, 56, 75 Paryusan, 4, 175

divorce, 56, 70, 75, 113, II5, II7, 137-138, 150 Divali, 8, 183 n. 20 dress, 18-19, IIO, 121, 129, 130, 144-147, 149, Nemi Vacan, 4, I74-177 160, 163-165, 177, 210 n. 37, 213 n. 64, 215 temple anniversary, 175

n. 10, 215 n. II fidelity/ infidelity, 16-17, 21, 58, 65-67, 71, 113,

caniya-coli, 145 II5, 118-119, 126-127 cundadi/ cunari, 116, 130, 135-137 Foucault, Michel, 29

(see also veil) funerals, 18-19, 22, 25, 36, 65, 120-122, 125,

rituals of dress, 118, 121-126, 128, 138, 210 129, 181 n. 2,180 n. 48, 208 n. 27, 209 n.

n. 39, 210 n. 40 30, 210 n. 43. See also death

sari/ sadi, 17-19, 81, 145-147, 149, 164, 177, 201 N. 37, 210 N. 40, 215 n. 9, 216 n. 11, — ghunghat. See veil

216 n. 15, 217 n. 17 gifting, 122, 125 git. See songs

embodiment 27, 29-31, 32, 79, 142-144, gods/goddesses, 37, 38, 44-45, 47, 48, 49, 50,

147-148, 150, 155, 167 53, 59-O1, 65, 83, 109, 123, 130-132, as satis, 79, IOO—I05, I41, 153-154, 158, 135-130, 172, 183 n. 20, 187 n. I, 189 n. 17,

163-166, 168-170 I9O N. 21, 192 N. 35, 195 n. 13, 206 n. 9,

performativity, 29-31, 142-143 212 n. 56, 212 n. 60, 212 n. 63, 213 n. 69,

See also body 213 nN. 71, 220 n.1

Gold, Ann G., 67, 71-2, 87, I5I, 173,

family, 15, 19-20, 24, 37,40, 42-44, 45, 47-49, 186 n. 49, 188 n. 4, 198 n. 36, 213 n. 69, 52, 55-57, 99-70, 75, 77; 88, 98-99, 105, 221 N. I II4, 120, 136, 189 n. 13, 194 n. 10, 196 n. sroom, 4, 61-62, 67, 81, II5—II7, 134, 136, 144,

24, 209 N. 31, 220 n. 47 147, 149-150, 153, 185 nN. 24, I9O0 N. 21, 194

INDEX 247 n. 10,194 N. II, 197 n. 22, 209 n. 32,216 ~— Kaalal De Sati, 128

n. 15. See also husband karma, 6, 47,57, 65, 93, 118, 158, 162, 163, 196

“The Groom Turns from the Door- n. 17

garland”, 138-139 merit (punya), 7, 8, 27-28, 39-40, 42; 45) 47, 55, 77; 92-93, 162,

Hardgrove, Anne, 25, 137, 216 n. 13 166, 172-173, 184 n. 23, Harlan, Lindsey, 24-25, 89, 121-122, 128-129, 189 n. 13 132-133, 137, 186 n. 41, 195 n. 14, 209 n. demerit (pap), 40

33, 211 n. 54 Jain karma theory, 27-30, 37-40, 182 n. Io,

health, 27-28, 45, 46, 81-84, 91, 93-97, 187 n. 187 n. 52, 188 n. 6

51, 187 n. I liberation (moksa), 4, 6, 21, 27-28, 37,

henna, 18, 121-122, 125-126, 132-134, 137-138, 43, 49, 52-53, 56, 63, III, 114, 116,

149 I2I, 126, 127, 130, 139-140, 156-157, Hindu merit transfer, 35-40, 50, 91, 187 n. I

heroism, 3-4, 25-26, 128-129, 132, 173, 181 n. 3 172-173

fasting stories (vrat katha), 58, 60, 92 decreasing, 8, 36, 42, 47-49, 76, 93, fasts, 360-37, 53-54, 57-58, 60, 71, 72, 87, 172-173, 218 n. 31

188 n. 4 Khartar Gacch, 6, 9, 45, 83, 182 n. 7, 189 n. 14,

renunciation, 120-121, 193 n. 5 189 n. 17,199 n. 40

rites (samskara), 9, 15,184n.24,208n.27, kuldevi, 109, 132, 190 n. ar. See also gods and

29 n. 29 (see also wedding) goddesses

satis, 21-25, 87, I10, 120, 121, 128-129 (see kunkum, 18, 121-123, 125, 132, 187 n.1

also satis; satimatas) )

women, 16, 18, 20, 35, 37-38, 47, 50, 76, 87, —_ Laidlaw, James, 40, 44, 48, 51-53, 83, 92, 143,

173, 186 n. 32 155-157, 185 n. 36, 190 n. 18, I9T nN. 24, 191 worship (ptija), 5, 8, 132, 137, 187 n. 1, 189 n. Nn. 31, 192

12,206 n. 9 Nn. 35, 209 N. 30, 214 n. 77,

Hollywood, Amy, 29 214 Nn. 5

husband, 9, II, 15-22, 27, 31, 35-38, 42, 43-49, Leslie, Julia, 160, 25, 87, 185 n. 37

56-58, 63, 66-71, 80, 83-84, 86-88, “Lift Rajul’s Veil,” 135-136 97-99, IIO, II7, 120-122, 126-128, 136, love 157, 172, 175-178, 184 n. 27, 187 n. 51, 189 n. romantic, 56, 57, 58, 67, 98, 115, II7—-II9,

13, IOI N. 31, 196 n. 20, 198 n. 30,199 n. 40. 127, 178

See also groom marriages/ match, 15, 61-63, 67, 99. See also affection

ideology, 4, 6, 14-15, 26-29, 32, 165-167, 171,

173-174 magic, 35, 45-47, OI, 71, 72, 79, 172-173

renunciation (moksa marg) as ideology, 6, amulets/ objects, 45, 46 39, 52-53, 58, 74, IOQ—IIO, 112-114, substances, 46-47 (see also praksal, vaskep) 118-119, 125-126, 129, 139-I41, 143, 153, mahaptja, 42, 46, 47, 80, I9I n. 23,

156-157 200 N. 2, 203 N. 27, 204 N. 33, pativrata as ideology, 16-18, 19, 109, 118, 204 N. 35, 205 n. 37. See also Siddhacakra

139-140, I4I, 143, 153 mahaptja

sati as ideology, 21-23, 25-26, IIo mahasati, 172, 185 n. 34, 200 n. I. See also satt; infertility, 57, 67, 69-71, 75, 94, 155. See also satimata

fertility Mahavir, 5, 36, 123-125, 158-1061, 163-165, 167,

intimacy. See affection; love 182 n. 9, 183 n. 20, 189 n. 17, 206 n. 8, 209 n. 28 jewelry, 18-19, 56, 89, 121, 122, 125-126, 128,130, | Mahmood, Saba, 27, 73, 146, 147, 174

133-134, 138, 149, 177, 213 n. 64 mantra, 45-40, 49, 82, 104, 184 n. 24, 190 n.

213 n. 67 | mantra

bangles (glass, cidiya; gold, kangan), 135, 20, 190 nN. 22, 203 n. 26. See also Navkar ivory armbands (ctido), 18, 133, 134-135 marriage, 4,15, 17, 19, 31-32, 38, 41, 58, 62-63,

rituals, pallu, 148-149 II16-II7, 120, 134, 141. See also agency;

248 INDEX divorce; fidelity; marriage arrangements; Nemi/Neminath, 110-120, 126-127, 129-130,

pleasure; wedding 132, 134-135, 138-139

and agency, 77, 97, 142, I57 Nemi Vacan. See festivals

companiate, 86, 88, 98-99, 172 nunhood, 12, 29, 75, IIO, 113, 121, 128, 142-144,

fears about, Io, 56-58, 61, 65 I5I, 154-159, 166-170, 173, 183 n. 22, 202 happy marriages, 56, 79, 90-91, 92, 130, n. 24

148, 164, 173 nuns, 4, 5, 6, 18, 26, 28, 61, 75, 122-126, 129,

ideal marriage, 79-80, 95, 97-99, IO4-I05 130, 139, I4I-142, 150-154, 156, 159, pleasure of marriage, 11, 68, 92, 150, 158, 160-161, 162, 164-165, 168-170, 182 n. 7,

174-179 183 n. 14, 184 n. 23, 185 n. 34, 199 n. 40,

strictures after marriage, 144, 154-155 200 N. 43, 210 N. 37, 214 nN. 5 unhappy marriages, 56, 58, 65, 68, 70, 75,

173 ordination (diksa), 4, 10, 19, 74-75, II0,

marriage arrangements, 4, 9, 15, 57, 58, 65, 72, 120-121, 122-126, 127, 129-130, 139, 143,

76, 97, 146-148, 159, 160-161, 167 I51, 152, 154-155, 150-157, 160-161, 165,

bad arrangements, 57, 61-62 169 engagement, 147, I5I, 155, 194 n. II

and love marriages, 15, 66 parades. See processions marriageability, 144, 160, 163, 169 Paryusan. See festivals resistance to, 150-154, 166, 1609 Pativrata, 3-4, 14-18, 87, I'71 Marwaris (Marvadis), 5, 8-9, 17, 22, 25, IOT, as discourse, 14-15, 19, 25-27, 360, IO9g-II0, 12.2, 137, 154, I81 n. 4, 186 n. 46, 216 n. 9, II4, I19, 129, 106, T71, 184 n. 29, 196 n.

216 n. 13, 217 n. 18 20

Maynasundart, It, 31, 43, 48, 79-86, 88-91, rituals marking, 24-25, 28, 56,184 n. 27 92, 93, 95-97, 99, 105, 158, I7I-172, 185 personhood, 30-31, 142, 187 n. 53 n. 31,188 n. 10, 200N.1,200n.2,20In. piety, 13, 18, 19, 27, 28, 35, 39, 41, 44, 47, 49, 53,

8, 203 N. 30, 203 N. 31, 220 n. I 61, 86, 173-174 Mayndasundari Sajjhay, 13, 85-86, 90 Jain piety as effective, 51-52, 63, 84, 90, 173 Middle class identity, 5, 9-10, 20, 66, 87-88, strategic, 55-57, 62, 73-77

144, 185 n. 35, 217 n. 18 pleasure, 13, 52, 68, 91-92, 114, 120, I71, Modesty, 10, 142, 144-148, 166. See also veil 174-179

moksa. See liberation posadh, 155, 191 n. 31, 218 n. 24

moksa-marg. See ideology praksal, 46-47, 84, 96, I91 n. 24. See also mother-in-law, 17,57, 62, 63, 68, 71-73, 80, 85, magic substances 87,98, 184 n. 28,186 n.50,196n.22,197 _ pratikraman. See confession

nN. 24, 222 nN. 47 privacy, IO—-I1, 52, 66-69, 76-77, 145, I50, I91

Mrozik, Suzanne, 30 n. 24,196 n. 20, 196 n. 24 processions, 10, 209 n. 32

Navkar mantra, 46, 61, 82-83, 88, 93, 94, 194 diksa, 123, 125

n. 8, 200 n. 2. See also mantra royal, 123-124, 210 n. 43 Navpad Oli Fast, 41, 48-49, 80, 82, 90, 91-93, sati, 112, 116, 122-126, 129-130 96-97, 103-105, 156, 188 n.10, 198 n.10, puja. See worship; Hindu worship 200 N. 2, 200 N. 3, 201 N. 7, 202 n. 20, purdah. See veil 202 Nn. 21, 202 n. 23. See also Ayambil;

Ayambil Oli; fasting Rajal Barahmasa, 12, 117-118, 126, 208 n. 24 Navpad/Navpadji, 86, 90, 94,100, Io1,200n. —_rajoharan, 124, 125, 165

2, 203 n. 20, 204 n. 33. See also Rajimati Bar Masani Sajjhay, 127

siddhacakra Rajimati Sahay, 115

Navpadni Sajhay, 85-806, 90 Rajimatisati Sayhay, 13 Navpad ptija, 90-93, 96, 97, 100, 103-105, 191 ~=— Rajput, 23, 25, 87, 109, 128, 132, 136, 195 n. 13,

N. 23, 200 n. 3, 202 n. 18, 204 n. 35 205 Nn. 3

Navpadjt Stavan, 93-94 Rajul/ Rajimati, 12, 32, 109-121, 124, 126-132, Nemandathno Saloko, 14, 112, 110, 118, 127, 130, 134-140, 158, 166-170, 175, 178-179, 212

132, I75-177, 221 N. 5 n. 57, 214 n. 79, 219 nN. 32, 221 N. 5


Rajul’s Lament, 119 saubhagyavati, 18-19, 35, 123, 215 n. II, 221 n. 4 Rani Sati, 22, 133, 137, 186 n. 46 Savitri, 37, 43, 58, 186 n. 40 renunciation, 4, 6,14, 20, 29, 32,74, 109-114, selfhood, 26-31, 142, 174, 187 n. 53, 214 n. 2 II7, 128-129, 140, 141-143, 151-157, sexuality, 16, 17, 27, 56, 67-69, 70, 136, 142, 164-165, 169-170, I'7I, 172, 174, 175, 177, 148, 150, 159-160, 177, I96 n. 20, 197 n.

193 n. 3, 211 n. 55. See also ideology; 27,198 n. 30, 207 n. 16, 214 n. 69

ordination as expected, 67-68, 150, 160, 178

as devotion, 126-127, 139 renounced or rejected, 9, 114, 183 n. 14

rituals of, 120-126 as threat to family order, 148, 161 rationales for, 74-75, 126, 142, I99 n. 39, See also affection; love

I99 n. 40 siddhacakra, 46, 79-80, 83-85, 88, 90-91,

Hindu, 120, 166, 208 n. 27, 209 n. 30 93-97, 103-104, 172, I73, I90 nN. 20, 200 Reynell, Josephine, 10, 27, 28-29, 40, 4I, 43, nN. 2, 200 N. 3, 44, 48, 91-92, 154-155, 162, 172, 187 n. 53, 2.03 N. 29, 204 n. 33. See also

188 n. 9, 189 n. 13, 196 n. 17 Navpad

ritual drama and reenactments, 8, 12, 14, 32, Siddhacakra mahapwtja, 46, 79, 80, 90,

79, 101-163, 168, 172 93-105, 200 N. 2, 203 N. 27, 204 N. 35, 205

Rohini, 12, 48, 50-52 n. 37. See also mahapujas Rohini fast, 12, 36, 48-50, 52-54, 50-57, 90, singing, 8, 9, 26, 206 n.9 92, 103, 173, IOI N. 31, 192 N. 39, 193 Nn. 44. bhavana, 12, 112, 132, 135,

See also fasting; Rohini ratijaga (ratrijagran), 24-25, 132 sister, 60, 72, 85, 145, 147, I5I, 167, 173, 183 n.

Sakti, 64, 122-123, 195 n. 15 20, 196 n. 21, 199 n. 30

sat, 138-139 sister-in-law, 72, 145, 149, 175, 199 n. 36 sati, 3-4, 7, 18-19, 20, 24, 66, 76, 171,172,181 social roles. See daughter; daughter-in-law;

n. 2 groom; husband; mother-in-law; nuns;

British colonial, 21-23, 185 n. 37, 210 n. 36 sister; sister-in-law, widow; wife as discourse, 21-26, 118-119, 121, 126, 166 Sol Satino Chand 3, 181 n. 1

feminist discussions, 23-24 Songs, 14, 19, 176, 178, 184 n. 23, 213 n. 69, Hindu, 21-22, 120, 125, 127, 128, 186 n. 40 219 nN. 32 Jain veneration, 25-26, I10, 130-132, cundadi git (veil songs), 14, 112, 130, 132,

139-141, 166 134-136, 138-139, 212 n. 61 220 n. 44

narratives, 11-14, 17-18, 28, 43, 55-56, 58, satimata songs, 121, 128, 132-133, 137

73, 74, 70, I4I, 151, 183 n. 15 stavan, 14, 93, II9, 220 n. 44 virtue, 76-77. See also Afijanasundari; tapasya git (fasting songs), 14 Brahmi-Sundari; Candanbala; death; Sripal, 79-84, 88-89, 93-98, 100-101, ideology; Maynasundari; Rajul; Rohini; 103-105, 172, 201 N. 7, 203 n. 31

Subhadra; Sulasa; satimatas Sripal Rajano Rds, 84, 85, 92 satimatas, 5, 22, 109, II2, I19, 126, 130-132, Srngar. See dress; henna; jewelry; kunkum

138, 164, 194 n. 7, 206 n. 5 Sthanakavasi, 6, 62, 154, 182 n. 7, ) living satimatas, 129, 186 n. 42, 209 n. 35 185 nN. 34, 194 N. 12, 199 nN. 40,

rites of death and funeral, 22-23, 25, 2.03 n. 26, 211 n. 45 IOQ-IIO, 120-124, 126-127, 153, 186 n. Subhadra, 12, 31, 43, 55, 57-03, 71, 73, 74, 76,

38, 186 n. 41, 205 n. 3, 208 n. 23 86

SONGS, 132-134, 137 Sulasa, 360-37, 53

symbols, 123, 128, 209 n. 34 Svetambar, 5-6, 7, 8, 66, 79, 85, 112, veneration, 9, 24-25, 136-137, 185 n. 35, 185 120-123, 154,182 n. 6, 182 n. 7, 182 n. 9 n. 36 (see also Balasatimata; Kalal De Sati;

Rani Sati; sat) ) tap. See fasting

sativrata, 126, 153, 21I n. 54 technologies, new, 12, 79, 83 saubhagya, 4, 14, 18-20, 35-38, 41, 44, 47-50, | Terapanthi, 6, 61, 122, 182 n.7, 182 n. 8, 189 n.

52-54, 50, 90, 103, I71, 187 n. 1, 188 n. 4 14, 190 n. 18, 194 N. 12, 199 n. 40, 200 n. Saubhagya Paficami fast, 8, 132, 175, 212 n. 59. 43, 210 n. 38, 210 n. 39, 210 N. 40, 210 n.

See also fasting AI, 217 nN. 20

250 INDEX threshold, 112, 116-117, 121-122, 128-129, 135, rites, haldi/ pithi cola, 117-118

139, 144, 158-159, 161, 166-170, 176 rites, kanya dan, 19

rituals of, 121, 123, 125 rites, pallu, 148-150, 216 n. 15 rites, ponkhana, 117

Updhan fast, 44, 155-158, 218 n. 25. See also rites, sindtr dan, 149, 217 n. 16

fasting rites, svayamvara, 66, 116

Uttaradhyayana Sttra, 13, 112-115, 118, 130 See also marriage

Weinberger-Thomas, Catherine, 119,

Vallely, Anne, 61, 120, 122, 143, 153-154, 21, 122, 125, 128-129, 153, 186 n. 41, 194 160-161, 182 n. 8, 185 n. 36, 189 n. 14, 190 n. 7,198 n. 31, 209 n. 34, n. 18, 200 N. 43, 209 N. 31, 210 n. 38, 210 n. 211 n. 49

39, 214 nN. 4, 217 n. 20 widowhood, 16, 18-20, 23, 25, 36, 52-54, 58, vaskep, 406. See also magic substances 70, 85, 105, 120-121, 128, 129, 137, 140, veil, 67, 115, 133-136, 145, 176, 177, 214 n. 69, 150, 157, 1600, 163, 174, 181 n. 2, 185 n. 30,

215 n. II 185 n. 31, 185 n. 32, 185 n. 33, 197 n. 26, cunari rituals, 45, 136-137 213 n. 67 cunarl, 45, 131, 133, 135, 137 198 n. 31, 199 n. 40, 205 n. 38,

ghingat, 17 wifehood, 4, 8, 11-15, 18-19, 27-31, 35, 37-38,

purdah, 136 83, 95-97, 103, IOQ—IIO, 113, 120, 128, songs, 14, II2, 130, 132-134, 138-139 133-135, 137, 142-144, 147, 150, 153-155,

veiling, 124, 140-147 158, 160-161, 165-167, I'7I-I79 vrat, Hindu. See fasting studies of, 27, 74-75, 98-99 and selfhood, 142

Walsh, Judith, 87-88, 98-99 See also wives

wedding 4, 18-19, 57, 66, 95, 112-113, 16-117, wives, 20, 36, 41-42, 50-52, 55, 63, 66-69, 72, 121, 123-124, 134-137, 1608, 175, 184 n. 24, 74, 98, 116, 121, 134, 148, 161, 172, 177 IQI N. 21,194 N. 10, 196 n. 22, 199 n. 37, gharlaksmi, 172

205 n. 38, 206 n.9 ideal wives, 79-80, 84-94 (see also

wedding ceremony, 15, 19, 95, 112, 116-117, dharmapatni) 122-124, 134-138, 148, 150, 175, 178, 184 as role models, 42-44 n. 24, 185 nN. 30, 190 N. 21, 196 n. 22, 206 as teachers, 43 n. 9, 207 N. IT, 208 n. 22, 209 Nn. 32, 210 as virtuous, 16-18, 26, 61 Nn. 39, 213 N. 71, 210 n. II, 217 n. 16, 217 n. See also wifehood

17 worship, Jain (ptija), 6, 7-8, 19, 32, 41-47, 49,

fairs, 148, 215 n. II, 217 n. 13 56-57, 62-63, 80, 84, 92, 95-97, 103, 124,

Hindu rites, 15 130, 172, 190 nN. 18, 194 n. 12, 211 nN. 44