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Ascetics, Devotees, Disciples and Lords of the Maṭam: Monasteries in Medieval Tamilnadu

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Ascetics, Devotees, Disciples and Lords of the Maṭam: Monasteries in Medieval Tamilnadu

Folk, Michelle L. (2013) Ascetics, Devotees, Disciples and Lords of the Maṭam: Monasteries in Medieval Tamilnadu. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The maṭam is understood in scholarly studies as an institution of asceticism and monasticism in Hinduism. The term maṭam can refer to caravansaries, choultries, rest houses, or monasteries for ascetics. While diverse in their functions and teachings, maṭams have historically shared the common characteristic of the teacher-disciple relationship and lineage. The maṭam emerged in the stone inscriptions from the South Indian region of Tamilnadu in the ninth century of the Common Era as one of the many institutions that received patronage from citizens to support its people and activities. While the inscriptions reveal the activities of maṭams, scholars have instead focused on tracing the lineages of maṭams in the Tamil region without examining the inscriptions for what they say about the people who lived in maṭams or frequented them occasionally.
This thesis examines the stone inscriptions from the ninth through thirteenth centuries for what they can tell us about the people who participated in maṭams and the activities that these institutions undertook. Ascetics, devotees, disciples, and “lords of the maṭam” (maṭamuṭaiya) were among the maṭam community and benefitted from maṭams’ services. These same maṭam people were also one of the many kinds of people who served the temple complex in medieval Tamilnadu. The term maṭam is representative of diverse people and activities, and the inscriptions reveal that the maṭam in the Chola period was as varied in South India as the name suggests.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Religions and Cultures
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Folk, Michelle L.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Religion
Date:August 2013
ID Code:977603
Deposited By: MICHELLE FOLK
Deposited On:13 Jan 2014 16:16
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:44
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