The Sense of Adharma

Overview

Addressing one of the most difficult conceptual topics in the study of classical Hinduism, Ariel Glucklich presents a rigorous phenomenology of dharma, or order. The work moves away from the usual emphasis on symbols and theoretical formulations of dharma as a religious and moral norm. Instead, it focuses on images that emerge from the basic experiential interaction of the body in its spatial and temporal contexts, such as the sensation of water on the skin during the morning purification, or the physical ...

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Overview

Addressing one of the most difficult conceptual topics in the study of classical Hinduism, Ariel Glucklich presents a rigorous phenomenology of dharma, or order. The work moves away from the usual emphasis on symbols and theoretical formulations of dharma as a religious and moral norm. Instead, it focuses on images that emerge from the basic experiential interaction of the body in its spatial and temporal contexts, such as the sensation of water on the skin during the morning purification, or the physical manipulation of the bride during the marriage ritual. Images of dharma are examined in myths, rituals, art, and even the physical landscape of the Hindu world. The varied and contingent experiences of dharma infuse it with a meaning that transcends a false analytical distinction from adharma, or chaos. Glucklich shows that when dharma is experienced by means of living images, it becomes inescapably temporal, and therefore inseparable from adharma.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Glucklich's Indological scholarship is thorough and expansive and his detailed accounts of myths and rituals of dharma make this a work of lasting value for researchers. Just as important, his innovative use of Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology should have an immediate theoretical impact on the study of religion."—Dan Gold, Cornell University

"Reviving unfashionable theories is a brave endeavor, and Ariel Glucklich's The Sense of Adharma is a bold book. Glucklich is excellently prepared to fight his case."—The Journal of Religion

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195083415
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/28/1997
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Table of Contents

Abbreviations
Introduction: On Understanding Culture Through the Body 3
Dharma 7
Adharma 9
1 Images and Symbols of Dharma 11
Smrti as Remembrance 11
The Symbol and the Image 14
Mahavrata Images 23
The Structure of Images 25
Indian Images 27
2 The Duration of Images in Time 38
Conceptions of Time in India 39
Temporal Images - Method 41
Time in the Ramayana 44
Time in the Mahavrata Ritual 51
Musical Time 55
3 Why Rivers Purify (And Only Bad Witches Are Ugly) 66
Conceptual Approaches to Pollution and Sin 67
Bathing (Snana) 71
The Phenomenology of Bathing - A Gestalt Approach 76
Isomorphism 77
Good Forms in Perception 78
The Phenomenal Ego 79
Perception and Proprioception 80
The Meaning of Bathing 82
4 Dermatology and Cosmology 89
Apala and Indra 91
The Symbolism of the Apala Sukta 93
Skin Therapy 96
Dermatology 97
Interpretation 100
Ksetriya and Jaundice 102
Nonsymbolic Analysis of Disease 105
Animal Skins (Carman) 108
5 Boundaries in Space and Time 115
Dharma Metaphors 115
Perception and Forms in Space 116
Being and Becoming - Time and Space Reversed 118
The Picture Frames of Tribal India 120
House Walls 124
Temple Walls 127
Fences 128
Doors 130
Crossing Boundaries 134
6 Passage to Marriage - The Dharma Agent 143
The Marriage Ritual 144
The Marriage as a Rite de Passage 147
Sociological and Cosmological Meaning of Passage 150
The Wedding in Verbal Formulas 151
The "Person" in Passage 153
The Perception of Passage 156
The Dharma Agent: Intention by Extension 161
7 Playing The Field: Adultery as Claim Jumping 169
The Appeal of the Human Lover: The Kamasutra 170
The Wife's Reasons for Committing Adultery 171
The Wife's Reasons for Not Committing Adultery 172
The Lover's Reasons for Committing Adultery 173
The Lover's Reasons for Not Committing Adultery 175
The Appeal of the Divine Lover: Bhakti Texts 176
The Appeal of Theft: The Romance of Adultery 179
Breaching the Boundary: The Husband's Nightmare 181
8 Thieves and Dharma in the Story Literature 189
Thieves and Kings 192
The Theft of Identity 195
Achievements of the Best in the Trade 196
Idiot Thieves 198
Brahmin Thieves - A Digression on Dharma Itself 199
Divine Thieves: The Theft of Soma, Vedas, Amtra 205
9 The Adharmic Force of Punishment (Danda) 213
Vertical Space 213
Danda in Nature 216
Danda in Society 220
Danda in the Sacrifice 223
Danda in Mythology 225
Danda and the Goddess 232
Conclusion: Back to the Body 239
Bibliography 243
Index 261
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