Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Joanne Punzo Waghorne
Ann Grodzins Gold
gurus, Hinduism, India, Saints, spirituality, women
Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Religion
Anandmurti Gurumaa is a multi-lingual teacher of meditation and "spirituality" situated at the intersection of Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi and Sikh mystical traditions. This dissertation, employing inter-disciplinary methodology, provides an in-depth study of Gurumaa and her rapidly developing, disciple-driven transnational spiritual movement. I introduce Gurumaa and her circle of devotees within the cultural context of globetrotting Indian gurus and examine issues of tradition and innovation in her mission. Through ethnographic writing, I specifically turn to examples of Gurumaa's pluralism, gender activism and embrace of new media to discuss continuity and change within the tradition of guru-bhakti (devotion to the guru). Because Gurumaa embraces rhetoric of "female empowerment," and points to her own "enlightened" female body as evidence that women can and do reach the highest spiritual states, her leadership offers an ideal context in which to consider emerging gendered re-interpretations of "tradition" in the new global religious milieu.
Rudert, Angela Carol, ""She's an All-in-One Guru": Devotion to a 21st century Mystic" (2012). Religion - Dissertations. 84.