An exploration and translation of the work of Hindu poet-saint Karaikkal Ammaiyar.
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The Hindu poet-saint Kâraikkâl Ammaiyâr describes herself as a demon, accompanying the god iva as he dances in the cremation grounds. She is believed to be the first to write devotional poetry to iva in the Tamil language and is considered the first of the sixty-three Tamil poet-saints. Written in the sixth or seventh century, her beautiful poetry presents the path of love and service that brings liberation. In iva's Demon Devotee, Elaine Craddock provides a historical, literary, and ethnographic exploration of Kâraikkâl Ammaiyâr and her work. An annotated translation of the poet-saint's 143 verses is included along with an introduction to the Tamil literary tradition. Craddock's analysis of this poetry in its ancient context and of the narrative tradition that developed around the life of Kâraikkâl Ammaiyâr centuries later reveals cultural tensions concerning women's roles and the devotional path.About the Author:
Elaine Craddock is Professor of Religion at Southwestern University.
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