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Alf Hiltebeitel

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834661

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834661.001.0001

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Two Dharma Biographies?

Two Dharma Biographies?

Sītā and Draupadī

(p.89) Chapter 7 Two Dharma Biographies?

Alf Hiltebeitel

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter focuses on Sītā and Draupadī's dharma biographies, which introduce two exemplary strands of women's spirituality. Their spiritual life comes to be intertwined with bhakti, “devotion”—and devotion not only to one's husband but to God. Sītā would be bringing her two types of spirituality together in her devotion to one figure: her husband Rāma, whom neither he nor she can really know to be god, at least on the scale of his being the incarnation of Viṣṇu. On the other hand, Draupadī can keep her two types of spirituality separate: her five husbands are gods of one kind; her special friend Kṛṣṇa is something else.

Keywords:   Sītā, Draupadī, dharma biographies, women's spirituality, bhakti, devotion, Viṣṇu, Kṛṣṇa

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