“Real Sadhus Sing to God”: The Religious Capital of Devotion and Domesticity in the Leadership of Female Renouncers in Rajasthan
This article examines the ways in which two female Hindu gurus in Rajasthan perform a gendered model of religious leadership and, by extension, explores the guru tradition as an alternative to the more official male model through their practices of devotion, which the author characterizes as their "rhetoric of renunciation." The essay argues that the female gurus' performances represent the "symbolic labor" by which they "earn" symbolic capital in the public religious arena of satsang . Moreover, through their devotional practices, the gurus performatively "domesticate" renunciation and guru leadership by foregrounding the feminine values of connection, community, and care. By emphasizing the gendered concerns already elucidated, the gurus distinguish their traditions and leadership from the dominant Brahmanical model of renunciation and traditions of leadership.
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