Saturday, February 20, 2010

Nine interesting facts from Nine Lives!

Nine Lives by William Dalrymple is a wonderful read. Its an interesting travelogue, in search of sacred in modern India. The book inspired me to post 9 interesting facts I found in the book.

1. The Nun's Tale- Prasannamati Mataji, Digambara jain nun

Buddhist ascetics shave their heads and beg for food, Jains pluck their hair out by the roots and have to have their food given to them without asking

2. The Dancer of Kannur- Hari Das;Theyyam dancer

Theyyams are believed to be a rare survival of pre-Aryan , non Brahminical Dravidian religious system

3. The Daughters of Yellamma- Rani Bai, the devadasi

There are around 2,50,000 devadasis in the state of Maharashtra and Karnataka, about half of them living around Belgaum

4. The Singer of Epics- Mohan Bhopa from Pabusar

The great Rajasthani medieval poem, The epic of Pabuji is 600 year old, has around 4000 lines and takes full five nights of eight hours to complete recitation

5. The Red Fairy- Lal Peri; Sufi of Sehwan

Sufis believe the use of music, poetry and dance as a path for remembering and reaching God

6. The Monk's Tale- Tashi Passang;Tibetan Buddhist monk

Buddhist monks are expected to do around 4000 prostrations in a day

7. The Maker of Idols-Srikanda Stpathy

The idol's eyes must be carved open between 4 a.m to 6 a.m, when there was no sound or disturbance which might upset the deity

8. The Lady Twilight- Manisha Ma Bhairavi;the Tarapith tantric

In order to cure the skull, bury it in the earth and then oil it

9. The Song of the Blind Minstrel-Kanai

Charvaka school rejected the idea of God and professed that no living creature was immortal

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