Oranskaia T. I. On a group of folksongs from Bundelkhand, India
Tatiana I. ORANSKAIA — Professor, University of Hamburg (Germany, Hamburg)
ABSTRACT. The article presents six prayer folk-songs in Bundeli, a dialect of Hindi. They are transliterated, translated into Russian and provided with an eth- no-religious commentary. They address Hardaul, a local deity considered a deified prince of the Bundela dynasty. It is believed that he lived in the 17th century. The cen- tre of his cult is Orchha, the former Bundela capital. Hardaul is worshipped as the patron god of brides, who arranges weddings and is responsible for a happy married life. The legend of Hardaul includes his hagiography and the postmortal part. The former ends with his violent death of poison administered by his sister-in-law at the order of her husband, the Raja of Orchha. The reason was a slander accusing the Rani of a liaison with her brother-in-law. Hardaul partook the poisoned food in order to save the Rani’s and the family honour. After his death, he bestowed rich presents to his sister’s daughter at her wedding. Thus, he fulfilled his brother’s (Bundeli bīr) financial and ritual duty, which saved the honour of his sister’s family. These episodes elucidate the hero’s (Bundeli bīr~ Hindi vīr) apotheosis and also the feminine essence of the cult, as it has been known since one hundred years or more. The analysis of the prayer songs in ethno-religious context makes it clear that Hardaul’s figure is multilayered. A comparison to the typological characteristics of the deities belonging to the small tradition of Hinduism allows to trace the development of this deity from the cult of ancestors, more particularly, from the group of bīrs, i.e. spirits of people who died a violent death.
KEYWORDS: Hardaul, Bundelkhand, prayer folk-songs, patron of brides, family honour, cabūtʹrā, cult of the ancestors, Shaivism, bīr, bhāt
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