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Domain of Constant Excess: Plural Worship at the Munnesvaram Temples in Sri Lanka

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Overview

"...a successfully ambitious effort, richly informative and insightful in its coverage of the site's religious life and most sophisticated in its use and advancing of theoretical perspectives...Profound insights...abound in this complex and rewarding piece of scholarship..a must read for scholars of south Asian religions." -The Australian Journal of Anthropology

The Sri Lankan ethnic conflict that has occurred largely between Sinhala Buddhists and Tamil Hindus is marked by a degree of religious tolerance that sees both communities worshiping together. This study describes one important site of such worship, the ancient Hindu temple complex of Munnesvaram. Standing adjacent to one of Sri Lanka's historical western ports, the fortunes of the Munnesvaram temples have waxed and waned through the years of turbulence, violence and social change that have been the country's lot since the advent of European colonialism in the Indian Ocean. Bastin recounts the story of these temples and analyses how the Hindu temple is reproduced as a center of worship amidst conflict and competition.

Rohan Bastin is Head of the School of Anthropology, Archaeology & Sociology at James Cook University.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571812520
  • Publisher: Berghahn Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/28/2002
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Rohan Bastin is Head of the School of Anthropology, Archaeology & Sociology at James Cook University.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Table
List of Photographs
Acknowledgements
Guide to Pronunciation
Glossary
Ch. 1 Worship, Difference and Marvellous Potentiality 1
Ch. 2 Fluidity and Ambiguity in the History of Munnesvaram 15
Ch. 3 Myths and Marginality 43
Ch. 4 Ritual Practices and Religious Identity 59
Ch. 5 The Saivite Temple as a Monumental Architecture 89
Ch. 6 'The Look and the Thing Seen': Puja and Arccanai 117
Ch. 7 The Presence of Sakti 133
Ch. 8 Guardians, Games and the Formation of Power 145
Ch. 9 The World Inside Out 163
Ch. 10 The Domain of Excess 183
Ch. 11 Divine Kings and Regal Gods: Temples in Society and History 201
References 213
Index 227
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