God of Justice: Ritual Healing and Social Justice in the by William S Sax

By William S Sax

God of Justice bargains with ritual therapeutic within the critical Himalayas of north India, targeting the cult of Bhairav, a neighborhood deity linked to the bottom castes, who're usually sufferers of social injustice. once they are exploited or abused they generally flip to Bhairav for justice, beseeching him to afflict their oppressors with ailment and misfortune. with a purpose to convey their pain to an finish, the oppressors needs to make amends with their sufferers and worship Bhairav including them. a lot of the booklet makes a speciality of the stress among the excessive ethical worth put on kinfolk solidarity at the one hand, and the inevitable conflicts inside it at the different. This hugely readable e-book describes the author's personal reports within the box in addition to ritual therapeutic practices equivalent to divination, sacrifice, and exorcism.

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Such devtas] have power only over a weak man. But they don’t have power over someone who knows the scriptures, someone who has knowledge. They belong to weak men. I know this, because I worship all these gods: Bhairav, Kachiya, Narsingh, and so forth. I worship them all. I am their priest. And in my view, based on my experience, these are the gods of weak people, people who have little spiritual power [atmabal]. It’s like a light-bulb. Light-bulbs are of different strengths. Some are high-power and some are low-power.

Ethnographers certainly have their share of ethical dilemmas, but most of these derive, not from cultural difference, but from economic and political asymmetries (Keesing 1989)—as my own experiences in the field clearly showed. Bhadulal The first time I went to meet Bhadulal the guru,21 I hired a rather large van to get there, but later I regretted the decision. It’s best for an ethnologist to blend in by traveling with the locals (in this case an open-air truck built to hold five passengers, but usually jammed with twenty or so); on that first trip, however, I made myself rather conspicuous by spending a great deal of money on a private car arranged by a colleague at the local university: about $12 for the whole day.

He wept so much that Bhairava and the fifty-two bahiyal20 came, broke the seal of the dharmashila, tore open Puriya’s restraints, and brought him out. Sacchu told me that “all the gods appear”—in other words, that many people are possessed—when he sings this song during a ritual. No doubt this is because it expresses not only the oppression of the Harijans, but also a sense of their underlying pride and resistance. The same is true of the song of Umeda and Sumeda, which is in many ways the “mythical charter” for the cult, since it not only explains how Bhairav first came to Garhwal, but also contains many features that also appear in cult rituals.

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