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|Title:||Women's Mourning in the Striparvan of the Mahabharata|
|Authors:||Cutbush, G. William|
|Keywords:||Womens mourning;Striparvan of the Mahabharata|
|Abstract:||The purpose of this thesis is to present various themes concerning women's mourning in the Striparvan of the Mahabharata. This paper is intended as a preliminary study upon which further work on death, grief and mourning in the Mahabharata may be built. Owing to this focus, it attempts to connect those themes found in the Sfripa1Van with similar themes found elsewhere in the Mahabharata. In this thesis, the mourning behaviour of the women is divided into three separate categories: the appearance of the women, the actions of the women, and the laments that the women utter. Each category is presented as it is found in the text, and analyzed accordingly. There is a strong emphasis on the symbolic and metaphorical connections between these women and other liminal beings, such as ascetics, menstruating women, gods, and animals. The meaning of these connections is subsequently explored. There are three significant findings within this thesis that stem from the analysis of the categories of mourning behaviour. Firstly, the symbolic and metaphorical links that mourning women have with the beings mentioned above lend the women an aura of power that is primarily used to hurt curses that destroy entire lineages. It is argued here that these curses are part of a background of women's curses that cause most of the suffering in the main plot of the Mahabharata. Mourning women also possess many erotic characteristics that are found both in their laments as well as through their metaphorical connections with other liminal beings. The main element of this eroticism is the expression of frustrated fertility. This frustrated fertility becomes destructive through symbolic connections with the doomsday mare. The longer the duration of the frustration, the more destructive the women become. Finally, the women's laments indicate that they firmly support the code of duty (ksatradharma) that warriors (ksatriyas) are supposed to adhere to. Just as the main villian Duryodhana does, the women place a priority on k~atradharma as a system of moral judgement. Owing to this priority, the women emphasize the responsibilty of humans for their own moral actions, which is directly opposed to the theological solution of Vaisniava bhakti (devotion) as it is presented in the text by the divine Krsna. The thesis concludes with some speculations as to the direction that further research on the same topic may take. An emphasis on men's grief and mourning is indicated.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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