Gods Beyond Temples

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Gods Beyond Temples

The holy is more of an experience than an idea in the Indian tradition, and it extends well beyond the confined spaces of an organised temple or even a shrine. The adherents of this religion, much like the gods of this tradition, are humble and unassuming, yet at the same time dignified and certain of themselves. Whether it be a tree that is revered or a naturally occurring stone that is revered, a river that is the embodiment of divinity itself, an ancestor that is worshipped, a fabric that is simply draped, a road side shrine on a busy street or a votive terracotta horse that was lovingly made and offered, a narrative scroll that holds its audience spell-bound; here is religion at work that is as spontaneous as it is intemperate. The rites and practises performed in honour of these deities are neither written nor canonised; nonetheless, whatever they may lack in grandeur, erudition, and formality, they more than make up for in the faith and passion that they inspire in those who participate in them. These sacred manifestations and expressions of the ordinary people have a tendency to be sidelined or dismissed by academics as well as the world at large, as minor or lesser gods worthy of curiosity but not of serious study. However, it is important to keep in mind that they have a beauty and presence of their own in the pluralistic Indian tradition.

About

HARSHA V. DEHEJIA

About the Author(s)

HARSHA V. DEHEJIA has a double doctorate, one in Medicine and the other in Ancient Indian Culture both from Bombay University, in India. His first two books, The Advaita of Art and Parvatidarpana have been acclaimed.

Gods Beyond Temples

The holy is more of an experience than an idea in the Indian tradition, and it extends well beyond the confined spaces of an organised temple or even a shrine. The adherents of this religion, much like the gods of this tradition, are humble and unassuming, yet at the same time dignified and certain of themselves. Whether it be a tree that is revered or a naturally occurring stone that is revered, a river that is the embodiment of divinity itself, an ancestor that is worshipped, a fabric that is simply draped, a road side shrine on a busy street or a votive terracotta horse that was lovingly made and offered, a narrative scroll that holds its audience spell-bound; here is religion at work that is as spontaneous as it is intemperate. The rites and practises performed in honour of these deities are neither written nor canonised; nonetheless, whatever they may lack in grandeur, erudition, and formality, they more than make up for in the faith and passion that they inspire in those who participate in them. These sacred manifestations and expressions of the ordinary people have a tendency to be sidelined or dismissed by academics as well as the world at large, as minor or lesser gods worthy of curiosity but not of serious study. However, it is important to keep in mind that they have a beauty and presence of their own in the pluralistic Indian tradition.

About

HARSHA V. DEHEJIA

About the Author(s)

HARSHA V. DEHEJIA has a double doctorate, one in Medicine and the other in Ancient Indian Culture both from Bombay University, in India. His first two books, The Advaita of Art and Parvatidarpana have been acclaimed.

Additional information

Weight 0.5 kg
Dimensions 10 × 11 × 12 cm
Book Author

Harsha V. Dehejia

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