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Heroic Wives Rituals, Stories and the Virtues of Jain Wifehood$
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M. Whitney Kelting

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195389647

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195389647.001.0001

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Fasting, Saubhāgya, and Jain Satī Narratives

Fasting, Saubhāgya, and Jain Satī Narratives

(p.35) 2 Fasting, Saubhāgya, and Jain Satī Narratives
Heroic Wives Rituals, Stories and the Virtues of Jain Wifehood

M. Whitney Kelting (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the ways that Jain women, like Hindu women, locate their well‐being in their status as auspicious wives with living husbands (saubhagya) and the rituals they perform to protect the health and well‐being of their families, especially their husbands. Jain women understand the workings of saubhagya fasts in distinctly Jain ways that circumvent the problematic strategy (for Jains) of merit transfer. By serving as a role model and teacher of Jainism in the home, invoking the blessings of guardian deities, and deploying the benefits of religio‐magical practices, Jain women are able to extend the benefits of their religious practices to their husbands and families. In addition, the most powerful Jain saubhagya fast posits that protecting the wife herself also protects her husband because of clear links between a husband's health and a wife's well‐being.

Keywords:   auspicious wifehood, fasting, karma, magic, merit transfer, saubhagya, wellbeing

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