Devi: The Great Goddess

Devi (in Sanskrit and in English)
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Woman Saints
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Seated Saint Karaikkal Ammaiyar. Lent by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Karaikkal Ammaiyar
Saint Andal
Karaikkal Ammaiyar
Prime among women saints from the southern state of Tamil Nadu, is Karaikkal Ammiayar who lived in the 6th century. When the young and beautiful woman, who lived in the town of Karaikkal, beseeched the god Shiva to divest her of the burden of her flesh, asking only that she watch him dance into eternity, a miracle occurred. In place of the young woman stood an emaciated hag, known from henceforth as Mother of Karaikkal (Karaikkal Ammaiyar). From then on, she wrote poetry in praise of Shiva.

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The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560.
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