Dying the Good Death: The Pilgrimage to Die in India's Holy City

Dying the Good Death: The Pilgrimage to Die in India's Holy City

by Christopher Justice

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Overview

Dying the Good Death: The Pilgrimage to Die in India's Holy City by Christopher Justice

Exploring the Hindu concepts of good and bad deaths, this rich ethnography follows pilgrims who choose to travel to the holy city of Kashi to die.

Dying the Good Death is a unique ethnography, the first to focus on the experiences of dying at the end of the life cycle. In a region of northern India, some people at the end of their lives leave their villages and travel to the Hindu holy city of Kashi to die. These pilgrims expect that by dying in Kashi they will obtain the spiritual reward of moksha—liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth.

Based on fieldwork conducted in Kashi’s hospices or “mansions of liberation,” Christopher Justice introduces us to a number of dying individuals and their families, providing rich and evocative descriptions of their remarkable experiences. The social contexts of these experiences are explored through descriptions of the families who provide care and the priests who chant the name of God twenty-four hours a day. The book also has clear implications for the potential ways in which we may choose to face the ends of our lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780791432617
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 02/01/1997
Pages: 268

About the Author

Christopher Justice is Postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Studies of Aging in Ontario.

Table of Contents

Illustrations

Preface

Acknowledgments

Notes on Transliteration

1. Perspectives on Death and Dying

2. Kashi and Studying Hinduism

3. The Historical Context of Dying in Kashi

4. The Kashi Labh Muktibhavan

5. Dying as Tradition

6. Dying in a Spiritual System

7. Dying and Morality

8. Physiological Dying

9. Good Death and the Dying Process

Afterword

Appendix: Survey Questionnaire and Compilation of Responses

Glossary of Commonly Used Hindi Terms

Notes

References

Index

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