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Hanuman's TaleThe Messages of a Divine Monkey$
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Philip Lutgendorf

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195309225

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195309225.001.0001

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Like Mother, Like Son

Like Mother, Like Son

Hanuman, Goddesses, and Women

(p.299) 7 Like Mother, Like Son
Hanuman's Tale

Philip Lutgendorf (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Whereas Hanuman is sometimes alleged to be primarily a “men's deity”, this chapter takes a fresh look at his cult through the lens of gender relations and of discourses about sexuality and its control. It re-examines the controversial Vrishakapi (“bull-monkey”) hymn in the Rig Veda as well as the emotional portrayal of Hanuman's encounter with Sita in the Sundarakanda of the Ramayana of Valmiki. It then turns to several modern temple cults in which an independent, virginal Mother Goddess is accompanied by a simian bodyguard and familiar, whose close relationship with her is celebrated in legends and folksongs. The final section of the chapter examines lore that questions or problematizes Hanuman's famed celibacy by making him (e.g., in the Rama stories of Jainism) either a lusty adventurer or (in much modern Hindi-language lore) the unwitting “husband” of a submarine wife and father to a mighty son.

Keywords:   celibacy, gender studies, Jainism, Mother Goddess, Ramayana, Rig Veda, sexuality, Southeast Asia, Sundarakanda, Valmiki

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