< FREE SHIPPING on Orders Over Rs. 249! >

The Cult of the Goddess Pattini

 By Gananath Obeyesekere

Rs. 1,076 Rs. 1,495

ISBN : 9788120802131, 8120802136

Year of Publication : 1987

Edition : 1st

No. of Pages : 100

Language : English

Condition : New

Free shipping on orders over Rs. 249

We offer free shipping on orders above Rs. 249 in India. For orders below this threshold, a nominal shipping fee may apply, which will be clearly indicated during the checkout process.

How long will it take to receive my order?

The delivery time varies depending on your location. Generally, orders are processed and shipped within 1-3 business days. Once shipped, you can track and expect your order to arrive within 3-7 business days (the duration may vary depending on your location). For more information, please refer to our shipping policy.

Chat with a Real Person

WhatsApp chat is dedicated to assisting with after-sales queries regarding delivery, returns, and payments. Click below to initiate chat with us on WhatsApp:
[Bookstaa WhatsApp Chat].

For all other inquiries, please visit our customer support page or email us at support@bookstaa.com.

Only Brand New Books Here! Shop our vast collection of books and let your imagination soar.


Pattini-goddess, virgin, wife and mother; folk deity of Sinhala Buddhists and Jains; and assimilated goddess of the Hindu pantheon-has been worshiped in Sri Lanks and South India for fifteen hundred years or more, as she still is today. This long-awaited book is the culmination of Gananath Obeyesekere's comprehensive study of the Pattini cult and its historical, sociological, and psychoanalytical role in the culture of South Asia. A well-known anthropologist and a native of Sri Lanka, Obeyesekere displays his impeccable scholarship and a stunning range of theoretical perspectives in this work, the most detailed analysis of a single religious complex in South Asian ethnography (and possibly in all of anthropology).

Since 1955 Obeyesekere has observed and participated in modern performances of the rituals of worship, healing, and propitiation in the Pattini cult, particularly the postharvest ritual known as the gammaduva. He presents detailed texts of the gammaduva, placing them in their historical and mythic traditions. Using the texts, he formulates a cultural analysis of the Buddhist pantheon and a critique of empiricist notions of South Asian historiography. Obeyesekere shows that some seemingly historical figures of South India and Sri Lanka are mythic characters and that their historical significance can best be understood by an anthropological analysis of myth rather than through a reification of myth in history.

The concurrent Hindu worship of Pattini with its myths and rituals is described in detail. Obeyesekere documents the Sanskritization of Pattini, the changing physical structures of the goddess's shrines from the 1930s to the present, the assumption by Brahman priests of ritual functions formerly carried out by folk priest, and the sociocultural causes of these changes. He traces, too, the origins and diffusion of the cult throughout its entire history, as well as its survival today.

Of psychological interest is the problematic status of Pattini as virgin, wife, and mother and her relationship with her god-husband Palanga and his courtesan Madevi. Obeyesekere discusses the psychodynamics of this relationship in detail and explains its role in Hindu-Buddhist socialization and family structure. Further, he uses this analysis to account for local variations in the performance and structure of the ritual. The ritual of the killing and resurrection of Pattini's husband and her role as mater dolorosa will interest scholars of comparative religion.


About the Author(s)

Gananath Obeyesekere is chairman of the Department of Anthropology at Princeton University. He is the author of Medusa's Hair, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

  • Secure payments

  • Easy returns

  • Chat facility

  • New Products

  • Worldwide shipping