Disclaimer: none of my stories are my views. I am just presenting different views as was present or is prevalent at a certain period of time.
If we trace back the history of a Devdasi system you will find many ambiguities. But there is one that really caught my attention. It was totally against all that I believed in. Maybe this is a theory given by a man to show himself in his pious myth or just a justification of why a woman was treated like animals from time immemorial. I don't know.
According to Kalidasa's Meghdoot, the Kamasutra refers to these Devadasis as courtesans who were high skilled artisans. They were the ones that kept the art of Odissi and Bharatnatyam alive. They were the ones whose voice used to sing in praise of the lord in the temples.
One fact cannot be denied that there is no mention of Devadasis in our Jatakas, but a few hints have been given in the Puranas. But the history can be traced till the downfall of Buddhism. A theory also goes that Devdasi's were the Buddhist nuns, who had to resort to prostitution after Buddhism died down in India.
The only difference between Devadasis and sadhikas was that they were not celibates and could either chose one patron or several. Just like a man could in those days. (I am not at all pointing towards the moral aspect but stating things as it was.) But then with the British Raj, this system came under a lot of criticism and it was during this time the devadasi system began to be compared to prostitution. Till then no one had dared to call these learned women prostitutes. It was a way of life. Right or wrong- it was where women were educated in the Shastras and Vedas fine arts and due to the patronage they received were often and were often the richest class of the society. Till they were not declared as prostitutes by the advent of the Britishers in India.
Was this theory mentioned in Meghdoot a fact? Or is the origin of the Devadasis as scholars are myth?
Fact or Fiction? What would you call this?