For the Love of God: Women Poet Saints of the Bhakti Movement
Between the third centuries BC and AD were written thousands of verses in Tamil that have collectively come to be known as Sangam literature. The expressions of love between a man and a woman in these love poems gave way to passionate expressions of devotional love, where the heroine became the devotee and the hero became God. Through the centuries of patriarchy, women negotiated varied levels of existence and largely went unnoticed until they found a path for self-expression through bhakti or devotion. While the dominant form of worship was to prostrate before God, women found innovative ways of personal expression, often seeing the lord as a lover, friend, husband, or even son. The individual outpourings and the unfettered voices of these women refused to be drowned in the din of patriarchy gathering momentum until this became a pan India movement. In For the Love of God, Sandhya Mulchandani delves deep into historical accounts of these women who fell in love with God.