Get Aghor Medicine: Pollution, Death, and Healing in Northern PDF

By Ronald L. Barrett, Jonathan P. Parry

ISBN-10: 0520252187

ISBN-13: 9780520252189

For centuries, the Aghori were often called the main radical ascetics in India: residing bare at the cremation grounds, meditating on corpses, carrying out cannibalism and coprophagy, and eating intoxicants out of human skulls. lately, even if, they've got shifted their practices from the include of ritually polluted components to the therapeutic of stigmatized ailments. within the technique, they've got develop into a wide, socially mainstream, and politically strong association. in keeping with vast fieldwork, this lucidly written e-book explores the dynamics of pollutants, loss of life, and therapeutic in Aghor medication. Ron Barrett examines various Aghor remedies from ritual bathing to converted Ayurveda and biomedicines and clarifies many misconceptions approximately this little-studied staff and its hugely unorthodox, strong rules approximately disorder and healing.

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Download e-book for kindle: Aghor Medicine: Pollution, Death, and Healing in Northern by Ronald L. Barrett, Jonathan P. Parry

For hundreds of years, the Aghori were referred to as the main radical ascetics in India: dwelling bare at the cremation grounds, meditating on corpses, undertaking cannibalism and coprophagy, and eating intoxicants out of human skulls. lately, notwithstanding, they've got shifted their practices from the embody of ritually polluted elements to the therapeutic of stigmatized ailments.

Additional info for Aghor Medicine: Pollution, Death, and Healing in Northern India

Example text

I continued my formal studies during the first ten months of fieldwork while immersing myself in the language in situ. Even when I became nominally proficient, I often grasped only the gist of complex conversations. Moreover, like most researchers in Banaras, I had picked up very little of the Bhojpuri that constituted a large portion of the Banarsi Boli spoken by most of my informants from eastern Uttar Pradesh and western Bihar (Simon 1993). Because of these limitations, I relied upon research assistants for most of my interviews.

30). Even people who die elsewhere can obtain an auspicious sendoff at the famous shmashamns at Manikarnika and Harischandra Ghats. Unlike most cremation grounds, which are typically located on the outskirts of Indian towns and cities, these shmashamns are centrally located in Banaras, along the bank of the river. Indeed, the shmashamn of Manikarnika lies next to the purported site of cosmogenesis, the place where Lord Vishnu carved out the world with his discus. Manikarnika is named for the earring that fell to earth when Shiva shook with ecstasy over this earthly creation.

Although I conducted more than one hundred fifty interviews in the course of my research, this study is grounded primarily in the method of participant observation. Such has been the tradition among anthropologists ever since Malinowski called upon the ethnographer “to put aside camera, notebook and pencil, and to join in himself in what is going on” (1984/1922: 21). Although Malinowski’s basic definition of observation during “personal participation in native life” sufficed to distinguish early twentieth-century ethnographers from their armchair predecessors, more recent claims to participant observation have led to challenges of definition not unlike those of Aghor (cf.

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Aghor Medicine: Pollution, Death, and Healing in Northern India by Ronald L. Barrett, Jonathan P. Parry


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