Devi: The Great Goddess

Devi (in Sanskrit and in English)
HomepageAspects of Devi
Woman Saints
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Yogini with Disciple. Lent by the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Karaikkal Ammaiyar
Saint Andal
Woman Saints
India is a land of holy persons (one could call them living saints) who have abandoned home and family to wander the land seeking alms to maintain themselves. Because the ideal role assigned to women is that of wife and mother there are few women saints. Yet those who have made their mark as women saints are accorded honor and even deified. Women are also accepted as yoginis (adepts at yoga), a physical and spiritual discipline from which they are believed to acquire extraordinary powers. Thus, Devi can also be manifested as woman saints, born on earth but endowed with deep spirituality and other-worldly powers.

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The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560.
All presented material is copyright © Smithsonian Institution, 1999 except where otherwise noted.