Dr. Vijaya Nagarajan: “Feeding a Thousand Souls: Women, Ritual and Ecology in India”| 18mins
Director: CIIS Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion Program | Producer: CIIS Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion Program
Focus Years: 2018 | Country: United States
Summary of talk: Daily, around dawn, in southern India, on the thresholds of households, temples and stores, millions of women perform the women’s ritual art form of the kolam, a drawing made of wet and dry rice flour. The kolam is eaten by birds, worms, and ants over the course of the morning. This talk focuses on the concept of “feeding a thousand souls,” an oral, dharmic injunction to honor those strangers we expect no gifts from. It is also the title of the forthcoming book, Feeding a Thousand Souls: Women, Ritual and Ecology in India (Oxford University Press, 2018). Dr. Vijaya Nagarajan is Associate Professor in the Dept. of Theology/Religious Studies and Program in Environmental Studies at the University of San Francisco. She teaches courses on Hinduism, Religion and Environment, Commons: Land, Water and Air, Community Internships, Religion and Environment, and Voice, Memory and Landscape: Spiritual Autobiography of Place. She has numerous published articles and essays. She has been a Fulbright Fellow, a Davies Fellow, a NEH Fellow at USF, among others. Her book, Feeding a Thousand Souls: Women, Ritual and Ecology in India, the Kolam (Oxford University Press) is due out this September 2018.