Dealing with Deities: The Ritual Vow in South Asia

Dealing with Deities: The Ritual Vow in South Asia

by Selva J. Raj
     
 

ISBN-10: 0791467074

ISBN-13: 9780791467077

Pub. Date: 04/17/2006

Publisher: State University of New York Press

Explores the practice of taking ritual vows in South Asia, a lay tradition prevalent in the region’s religions.

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

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Overview

Explores the practice of taking ritual vows in South Asia, a lay tradition prevalent in the region’s religions.

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.

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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
Acknowledgments
Sites Associated with Rituals Vow

1. Introduction: The Deal with Deities—Ways Vows Work in South Asia
Selva J. Raj and William P. Harman

2. "The Vow": A Short Story
Shankarrao Kharat

I. Getting What You Want

3. Negotiating Relationships with the Goddess
William P. Harman

4. Shared Vows, Shared Space, and Shared Deities: Vow Rituals among Tamil Catholics in South India
Selva J. Raj

5. Religious Vows at the Shrine of Shahul Hamid
Vasudha Narayanan

6. In the Company of Pirs: Making Vows, Receiving Favors at Bangladeshi Sufi Shrines
Sufia Uddin

7. Bara: Buddhist Vows at Kataragama
Sunil Goonasekera

8. Performing Vows in Diasporic Contexts: Tamil Hindus, Temples, and Goddesses in Germany
Martin Baumann

II. Getting What You Need

9. Singing a Vow: Devoting Oneself to Shiva through Song
Karen Pechilis

10. Monastic Vows and the Ramananda Sampraday
Ramdas Lamb

11. Negotiating Karma, Merit, and Liberation: Vow-taking in the Jain Tradition
M. Whitney Kelting

12. Vows in the Sikh Tradition
Louis E. Fenech and Pashaura Singh

III. Getting Nothing At All

13. When Vows Fail to Deliver What They Promise: The Case of Shyamavati
Tracy Pintchman

14. Two Critiques of Women's Vows
Jack E. Llewellyn

IV. Conclusion: Some Promising Possibilities

15. Toward a Typology of South Asian Lay Vows
Selva J. Raj and William P. Harman

Glossary
Contributors
Appendix: Essays Arranged According to Tradition
Index

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