Women Who Wear Only Themselves



Sri Annapurani Amma left the safety of home and family to follow the summons of a long-dead saint. Like Akka Mahadevi and Lal Ded before her, she chooses to live naked, and sometimes delivers prophecies, but what shines through is her humour and crazily one-pointed devotion to her path.

Soon after her tenth birthday, Balarishi Vishwashirasini was predicting futures?in no time she was transformed into a guru. Now in her thirties, this gifted teacher of nada yoga admits to sometimes feeling she’s missed out on a real childhood.

Lata Mani, a respected academician in the US, was plunged into the path of tantra after a major accident left her with a brain injury. Today, she talks of how the spiritual life is deeply anchored in the wisdom of the body?not unlike the soaring yet rooted redwood trees of her adopted home.

Maa Karpoori, a feisty young woman, found her calling when she joined a local yoga class. Through a rollercoaster ride that catapulted her from marriage to monkhood, she retains her fierce independence and contagious joy of living.

In this extraordinary book, poet and seeker Arundhathi Subramaniam gives us a glimpse into the lives of four self-contained, unapologetic female spiritual travellers. Sensitive, insightful and spare, Women Who Wear Only Themselves is a revelation and a celebration.

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ImprintSpeaking Tiger


A must-read whether or not you are parched; you will find yourself asking for a refill.

— Aditi Sriram | The Indian Express

[A]t the very least, this book helps refine both our agnosticism and our faith. Subramaniam’s finely attuned listening makes this quartet speak – quietly, and yet with such overflowing warmth and vigour.

—Nikhil Govind | Scroll.in

The layout of the book—a poem by the aut­hor prefacing and closing each profile—works beautifully, award-winning poet that Subramaniam is. Poetry works through compression and can often illumine inner expansion, which is the subject of this book… This book reminds us to keep the questioning mind alive; and not be dismissive of someone for whom Shiva is not a deity, but a guru at arm’s reach whose sleeve she can tug.

—Nandini Bhaskaran | Outlook



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