Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chaube of Mathura || Part 1 of 8


The name Chaube is a dialectical variant of Chaturvedi (knower of the four Vedas), a name, it is claimed, Lord Krishna himself bestowed upon this Brahman community. Today one can most easily meet Chaubes at Vishram Ghat on the banks of the river Jamuna where they wait for and administer to pilgrims taking sin-cleansing baths in the river. Their association with this river is so intimate that they call themselves sons of goddess Jamuna (Jamuna ke putra), the river itself being one form of the goddess (Lynch 1988).

Chaubes trace their origins at least as far back as the first Hindu mythological age, the Satya Yuga, when, it is said, they were born from the sweat of the god, Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as a boar (Y. K. Caturvedi 1968:25). As the Chaubcs tell it, their history is filled with incidents giving evidence of, as well as providing models of and for, their mast character.[3] For example, one day Krishna and his cowherd friends were out playing. Krishna felt hungry and sent his friends in quest of food from the Chaubes. The Chaube men, however, were busy in offering sacrifices (yajnas[*]) and were not to be disturbed even at Krishna's request. When the Chaube women noticed this, they rushed out with sweets, curd, and food for Krishna and his playmates (V. K. Caturvedi, n.d.). In gratitude, Krishna promised that from that time forward the Chaube women would be renowned for their fair-skinned beauty, as indeed they are, and the Chaube men would control pilgrimage in the Braj area, as they do.[4] In telling the story Chaubes gleefully point out that none but a proud Chaube would have the cheekymast to ignore Krishna's hunger and thirst.

From the Paper "The Mastram Emotion and Person Among Mathura's Chaubes" 
<See Credits after the main text of the article>

< Credits: Reproduced from the Book called Divine Passions. The papers in this volume were originally written for a conference on "The Anthropology of Feeling, Experience, and Emotion in India" held at the University of Houston on 1-14 December 1985. The conference was part of the Festival of India held in the United States during 1985-86. Nineteen highly provocative papers were presented; the nine in this volume were selected because they most directly addressed the conference's theme. >

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