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MODERN DANCE ODORI. One day I was possessed when I was in the temple, and when I came to I found the Pundit of the Temple had garlanded me. ALL VIDEO AND MUSIC BY CHRISTOPHER LAWRIE. PLEASE USE HEADPHONES

           
 
 
 

Modern Dance Odori VIDEO ART/MUSIC YELLAMMA

 
 
CO 2 | Fire and Water | Ishikawa | Other | Rajasthan | Bali | Kashmir | Nauru / Manus | Yellamma | Allah | BHIEC | Jesus | Jui Ju Suite | Salt | A Fast Japan | Zoids
 
  SKULLS  

MDO 60. THE SKULLS One of the reasons I collect skulls is to help visualise her. Many Saints have seen her using the skulls. The great Bama Khepa one of the first Saints to realise the power of this place saw her in a Circle of Fire in the form of a very young girl. Skulls remind us of our mortality, and of the world of illusion that surrounds our daily life. But we also believe that if you awaken the skulls through sadhana [Tantric practice], and tame their spirits, they will give you more power and help show you the path to reach the Goddess and access her power. They help you to invoke her . They help you to invoke her and call her to you.’

William Dalrymple :Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

 
 
 
  POSSESSED  

MDO 49. POSSESSED One day I was possessed when I was in the temple, and when I came to I found the Pundit of the Temple had garlanded me. Not only that, he had washed my feet, and put a sandlewood paste tilak on my forehead. I asked why he had done this but he just replied ‘Ma, don’t refuse’ From that point on, people at the Temple used to worship me, as they thought I was possessed by the Goddess, and they gave me offerings and tried to interpret what I was saying during my fits.

William Dalrymple: Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

 

 

 
 
 
  GODDESS  

MDO 42. GODDESS ‘I was only six when my parents dedicated me,’ she said. ‘I had no feelings towards the Goddess at this time except wondering: why have they done this? We were very poor and had many debts. My father was desperate for money as he had drunk and gambled away all that he had earned and more, and he said “This thing will make us rich.” At that age, I had no devotional feelings for the Goddess, and dreamed only of having more money and living a luxurious life. So I was happy with this idea, though I still didn’t understand where the money would come from, or what I would have to do to get it.

William Dalrymple: Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

 

 

 
 
 
  YELLAMMA  

MDO 37. YELLAMMA

That first month, all I had to do was to help cook and clean the house, and I was happy with that. I liked Bombay. I ate fabulous biryani at the Sagar Hotel and once when I was in the streets I saw Amitabh Bachchan pass by in his car. Before long, a rich man came and saw me at my duties, cleaning the house. He refused all the other girls . . .

William Dalrymple: Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

 

DEDICATING YOUR DAUGHTER IS UNCIVILISED

 
 
 
  GODDESS  

MDO 70. TRADITION

‘No,’ she said. ‘There is always fear. You see, I know what it’s like. I watched both my daughters die as well as at least six of my friends. I nursed many of them. Some lost their hair. Some had skin diseases. Some just became very, very thin and wasted away. One or two of the most beautiful girls became so repulsive that even I did not want to touch them. She shivered . . . Of course we feel very scared but we must continue this work if we are to eat. We have a lot of misery to bear. But that is our tradition.

William Dalrymple :Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern IndiaIndia

 

 

 
 

 

  SHE  

MDO 58. SHE WHO EMANCIPATES THE UNIVERSE

With her left hand she holds a knife and a skull and in her right hands, a sword and a blue lotus. Her complexion is blue, and she is bedecked with ornaments. She is decorated with three beautiful serpents and has three eyes. Her tongue is always moving and her teeth and mouth appear terrible. She is wearing a tiger skin around her waist, and her forehead is decorated with ornaments of white bone. She is seated on the heart of a corpse and her breasts are hard. She is the mistress of all three worlds.

William Dalrymple: Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

 
 

 

  GODDESS  

MDO 39. GODDESS In 1995 when I was thirteen, I was diagnosed with cancer. It was Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and I underwent chemotherapy in Chennai. After a while the doctors said there is only so much we can do for you. Now you just have to turn to God. My grandparents, who live in a village not far from here came and told the Goddess Bhagavati about me. She told them that within a month I would be completely well. Her power strengthened the hands of the doctor who took care of me. and I made an immediate, miraculous recovery. As no one, least of all the doctors, could explain it we all believe it was the Goddess who cured me.

William Dalrymple: Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

 
 
 
  GODDESS  

MDO 41. GODDESS

The daughters of the Goddess Yellamma, the Devadasis, those daughters dedicated to the Temple had become little different from other workers in the sex trade.

All around the lake, and on the road up to the Temple, the Government has now put up huge warning signs:

 

DO NOT DEDICATE YOUR DAUGHTER | THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO SHOW YOUR DEVOTION

DEDICATING YOUR DAUGHTER IS UNCIVILISED BEHAVIOUR Warning Signs

 

 
 
 
  EMPIRE  

MDO 2. EMPIRE A ragged fringe is the foating hear. Left and right we sort it

I CAN STILL REMEMBER the mild-mannered good girl, bell and drum delight her THOSE DAYS WERE VERY LONELY / IT WAS DANGEROUS TO GO ANYWHERE / AND ESPECIALLY TO GO OUTSIDE Trailing her light skirt of misty silk she surpassed the fragrant beauty of dark orchids as she wandered on the hillside. Then, quickly, happily, she roamed at her pleasure, trailing her light skirt of misty silk, leaning on rainbows and shaded by fowers. THERE WERE LOTS OF HOUSES Baring white wrists on that fairy shore, she plucked mystic plants at the torrent’s edge. AND OUR TOWN NEEDED LOTS OF SUPPLIES / THE FIRST SNOW WAS FALLING

Cao Zhi / Zhounan /

Student BHIEC

 
 
 
  DAUGHTERS  

MDO 40. GODDESS Yellamma never wanted it to be like this. The Goddess is sitting quietly. We don't know what feelings she has about us. Who really knows what she is thinking? When we are in distress, she comes to us. Sometimes in our dreams. Sometimes in the form of one of her children. It is not the Goddess's doing. The world has made it like this. The world, and the disease. The Goddess dries our tears. If you come to her with a pure heart, she will take away your sadness and your sorrows. What more can she do?

Nine Lives: In Search Of The Sacred In Modern India: William Dalrymple

By the old temple | Peach blossoms | A man treading rice BASHO

DO NOT DEDICATE YOUR DAUGHTER THERE ARE OTHER WAYS OF SHOWING YOUR DEVOTION

DEDICATING YOUR DAUGHTER IS UNCIVILISED BEHAVIOUR Warning Signs

 
 
 
  GODDESS  

MDO 38. GODDESS Yellamma never wanted it to be like this. The Goddess is sitting quietly. We don't know what feelings she has about us.

 

 

All around the lake, and on the road up to the Temple, the Government has now put up huge warning signs.

DO NOT DEDICATE YOUR DAUGHTER THERE ARE OTHER WAYS OF SHOWING YOUR DEVOTION

DEDICATING YOUR DAUGHTER IS UNCIVILISED BEHAVIOUR

 
 
 
  GODDESS  

MDO 63. DEVADASI ‘If a buffalo has a calf, the first milk after the birth is brought to the devadasi to say thank you to the Goddess. During the Festival of Yellamma, the people bring five new saris to us as gifts. Each full moon we are called to the houses of Brahmins and they feed us. They touch our feet and pray to us because they believe we are the incarnation of the Goddess.’

William Dalrymple :Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

DO NOT DEDICATE YOUR DAUGHTER

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Girl Contemplating H of S 1996

 

 

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