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Playing Host to DeityFestival Religion in the South Indian Tradition$
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Paul Younger

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195140446

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195140443.001.0001

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Wandering and Romance With Lord Raṅkanātaṉ

Wandering and Romance With Lord Raṅkanātaṉ

The Ati or “Original” Festival in Śrīraṅkam

(p.51) 4 Wandering and Romance With Lord Raṅkanātaṉ
Playing Host to Deity

Paul Younger

Oxford University Press

The Ati or “Original” festival of Srirankam brings an ancient festival tradition into the ritual cycle of one of the most sophisticated temple traditions in all of India. The festival image of Visnu used in these celebrations is a fun‐loving potential bridegroom, and on successive days he makes trips out from the temple on an island in the Kaveri River in the four directions. Gradually, a triangular love story emerges because the Cola princess falls (prapatti) in love with him during a visit to her town, and he then has to return to the temple to deal with the angry Goddess whose devotion (pakti or bhakti) he has dishonored and with whom he is to be married the next day. The Goddess and the worshipers eventually learn that the deity is both fully transcendent and free (paratva) and easy of access (saulabhya).

Keywords:   Cola princess, Goddess, Kaveri River, pakti, bhakti, paratva, prapatti, saulabhya, temple, Visnu

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