From Possession to Freedom

The Journey of Nili-Nilakeci

R. Umamaheshwari

From Possession to Freedom

R. Umamaheshwari

Distributed for Zubaan Books

280 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9789385932281 Will Publish January 2018 World sales rights except India
The Tamil text Nilakeci, published between the first and fifth centuries, deals with Jaina philosophy through the use of an unusual literary technique: retrieving a pey, or possessing spirit (usually a woman), from the folk tradition and casting it in a new image. Thus a demon becomes a philosopher, for example—and if that is possible, then anyone can transform themselves into someone new, a redeemed self, by following the Jaina tenets. This is a profoundly subversive idea within the tradition, as is the use in Nilakeci of a female persona to debate with the most prominent teachers, all but one of them male, from the various schools of thought prevalent at the time.

This book places Nilakeci within a historical context while nonetheless maintaining its status as a singular, radical work, using translations of selected excerpts to make a powerful case.  
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