The Mistress of Spices: A Study in the Light of South Asian Traditional Therapeutic Practices


Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, a prominent South-Asian literary personality, unfurls the vivid colors of her creative genius through various genres and her concern for immigrant women has largely been transfigured into her writings as well as her participation with the organizations i.e. “Daya” and “Maitri” that aim to serve South Asian or South Asian-American women entangled in the situations of domestic abuse. Divakaruni’s award winning novel entitled The Mistress of Spices has been studied as an epitome of several global issues i.e. racial intolerance, domestic violence, class and gender discrimination and above all the emotional and spiritual hollowness to which Divakaruni attempts to remove through the depiction of her fictional character, Tilo, the Indian spices illumined with the power of healing and the Old One who seems to be an adherent of Buddhism. Besides using the Buddhist healing practices, philosophical notions, myths and folktales into the expatriate theme of the novel, Divakaruni actually shares her knowledge of the Ayurveda, an ancient science of herbs and spices, which originally relates the healing properties of the Indian flora and fauna since antiquity. Being the only medicinal system of the ancient India, Ayurveda, comprising of the easiest and natural healing theories, has been customary and retains its importance almost in every household even today. The core of the present research study lies in engraving the striking amalgamation of the holistic and mystical healing practices found in Tibetan Buddhism or scriptures about the Medicine Buddha and the ancient Indian medical science of Ayurveda, probably to cure the South Asian diasporic community’s ailments and issues.

Keywords: Ayurveda; Spices; Medicine Buddha; Immigrant Issues; Conflicts etc

Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 36-52 (Download PDF)

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