Dealing with Deities: The Ritual Vow in South Asia

Dealing with Deities: The Ritual Vow in South Asia

by Selva J. Raj
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0791467074

ISBN-13: 9780791467077

Pub. Date: 04/17/2006

Publisher: State University of New York Press

Drawing on original field research, Dealing with Deities explores the practice of taking ritual vows in the lives of ordinary religious practitioners in South Asia. The cornerstone of lay religious activity, vow rituals are adopted by Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs who wish to commit themselves to ritually enacted relationships with sacred

Overview

Drawing on original field research, Dealing with Deities explores the practice of taking ritual vows in the lives of ordinary religious practitioners in South Asia. The cornerstone of lay religious activity, vow rituals are adopted by Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs who wish to commit themselves to ritually enacted relationships with sacred figures in order to gain earthly boons and spiritual merit. The contributors to this volume offer a fascinating look at the varieties and complexities of vows and also focus on a unique characteristic of this vow-taking culture, that of resorting to deities and shrines of other religions in defiance of institutional directives and religious boundaries. Richly illustrated, the book explores the creativity of South Asian devotees and their deeply felt convictions that what they require, they can achieve faithfully-and independently-by dealing directly with deities.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791467077
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
04/17/2006
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents


Maps and Illustrations     ix
Acknowledgments     xiii
Sites Associated with Vow Rituals     xvii
Introduction: The Deal with Deities-Ways Vows Work in South Asia   Selva J. Raj   William P. Harman     1
"The Vow": A Short Story   Shankarrao Kharat     15
Getting What You Want
Negotiating Relationships with the Goddess   William P. Harman     25
Shared Vows, Shared Space, and Shared Deities: Vow Rituals among Tamil Catholics in South India   Selva J. Raj     43
Religious Vows at the Shrine of Shahul Hamid   Vasudha Narayanan     65
In the Company of Pirs: Making Vows, Receiving Favors at Bangladeshi Sufi Shrines   Sufia Uddin     87
Bara: Buddhist Vows at Kataragama   Sunil Goonasekera     107
Performing Vows in Diasporic Contexts: Tamil Hindus, Temples, and Goddesses in Germany   Martin Baumann     129
Getting What You Need
Singing a Vow: Devoting Oneself to Shiva through Song   Karen Pechilis     147
Monastic Vows and the Ramananda Sampraday   Ramdas Lamb     165
Negotiating Karma, Merit, and Liberation: Vow-taking in the Jain Tradition   M. Whitney Kelting     187
Vows in the Sikh Tradition   Louis E.Fenech   Pashaura Singh     201
Getting Nothing At All
When Vows Fail to Deliver What They Promise: The Case of Shyamavati   Tracy Pintchman     219
Two Critiques of Women's Vows   Jack E. Llewellyn     235
Conclusion: Some Promising Possibilities
Toward a Typology of South Asian Lay Vows   Selva J. Raj   William P. Harman     249
Glossary     257
Contributors     269
Essays Arranged According to Tradition     273
Index     275

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