Tamil Śākta traditions in Europe: The Worship of Thurkkai Amma in Hindu Temples in Norway

Location: OCHS Library
Speaker: Professor Knut Axel Jacobsen
Date: June 1, 2018
Time: 11:15am to 12:15pm

This paper presents the worship of the goddess Thurkkai/Durgā in Hindu temples in Norway. Hindus in Norway are mostly from Punjab and Tamil Eelam and Thurkkkai/Durgā is the most popular goddess in both these regions of South Asia. The paper focuses in particular on three Eelam Tamil temples in the capital Oslo, and the different constellations of mūrtis and their worship. The focus in the temples is on Thurkkai as mother, and on the relationship of mother and son. Śiva has only a minor presence in the temples and the paper discusses whether the focus of the temples are on the independent Goddess (Devī) rather than on Śiva’s power (Śakti).

Professor Knut Axel Jacobsen is a Norwegian scholar of the history of religions and professor at the University of Bergen. He has a PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has been professor at the University of Bergen since 1996. Jacobsen’s main areas of research include Sāṃkhya, Yoga, Pilgrimage in South Asia, and South Asian religions and migration. He is the founding editor and editor-in-chief of the six volume Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism (2009–2015) and editor-in-chief of the Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online.