Article: Mayṇāsundarī

Contributed by M. Whitney Kelting

Other written sources

The oldest known telling of Śrīpal and Mayṇāsundarī is Ratnaśekhara's Prakrit-language Sīrivāla Kahā, composed earlier than 1372.

Since then, the story of Śrīpal and Mayṇāsundarī has been retold in medieval and modern hymns, contemporary novel forms, oral retellings, dramatic re-enactments, audio cassettes and video dramas. Most widely known is the set of hymns that accompanies the Navpad Oḷī fast and the Navpad Pūjā liturgies.

Related rituals

There are two clusters of rituals associated with the Śrīpal and Mayṇāsundarī story. The first is the Āyambil Oḷī festival and the fast in imitation of Mayṇāsundarī that lies at the heart of the festival. The second cluster is the liturgical ceremonies associated with the siddhacakra.

Ayambil Oḷi festival and fast

The term Āyambil Oḷī is the name of both a twice-yearly festival and the associated fast. Falling in the spring and autumn, the festival is characterised by nine consecutive Āyambil Oḷī fasts over its duration. These nine fasts form the Navpad Oḷī fast.

The Āyambil Oḷī festival centres on veneration of the siddhacakra, the re-enactment of Mayṇāsundari's fast and the story of Śrīpal and Mayṇāsundarī. Married women vow to perform a nine-day āyambil fast in imitation of Mayṇāsundarī's fast, with the intention of protecting their husbands' health and promoting marital happiness and well-being. Mendicants will often retell the story of Śrīpal and Mayṇāsundarī, emphasising the theme of married happiness at the core of the festival.

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