One thing that readers have found it hard to believe is that in mid thirteenth century India, there were women who dedicated their lives as ascetics, living without worldly goods, dependent upon the donations from strangers. People think it was too dangerous, this was something only men did.
This statue is of a yogini. While made divine with four arms, she sits much like her male counterparts, mostly naked in meditation.
Bhakti yoga was practiced by woman as well as men, with women taking the ninth principle often to heart in mystical marriage to Krishna, much the same way nuns in Europe were considering themselves brides of Christ.
Stories such as Shilappadikaram, by Prince Ilango Adigal, tell of wise women found in wild places. In the Shilappadikaram, Kavundi is addressed as “O noble saint, famed for rare asceticism.”
Perhaps the Kavundi in the Shilappadikaram is the same Kavundi in The Garden at the Roof of the World.