The Devadasi Tradition, “Sacred Dancers of Hindu Temples”
From “The Tantric Dancer” by Maya Swati Devi
The esoteric tradition states that Mahārī, or Devadāsī, was a priestess dancing for God and, sometimes, a sexual initiator. This tradition is as old as those of similar cultures of ancient Greece and Egypt. The Devadāsī was often trained from childhood in the art of dance and was offered as a bride to the God Jagannāth at the beginning of puberty. Devadāsī’s dance was as erotic as it was spiritual – this is concept difficult to understand from a Western mentality.
The Devadāsī performed her symbolic ritual of love with the God in the holy sanctuary of the Temple. Only a priest, who accompanied the ritual with a percussion instrument, could witness this important devotional offer to God. Sometimes the priests also allowed her to initiate young males in the sexual arts.