Description : In this book, the author seeks access to Karma's origins by following several clues suggested by the doctrine's earliest formulation in the Upanistexts (circa 600-500 B.C.) These clues lead back to the mythical and ritual structure firmly established in the Brahmana texts, texts concerned with the rituals that chronologically and conceptually precede the UpanisThe rise of the karma doctrine is tied to the increasing dominance in late Vedic thought of the cosmic man (Purusa/Prajapati) mythology and its ritual analogue the "building of the fire altar" (agnicayana).
Description : ABOUT THE BOOK:Here is a work that deals with the Doctrine of Karma in all its coMprehensiveness and covers all its conceiveable facets in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Essentially the approach is historical. It traces the genesis of the doctrine in
Description : With Imagining Karma, Gananath Obeyesekere embarks on the very first comparison of rebirth concepts across a wide range of cultures. Exploring in rich detail the beliefs of small-scale societies of West Africa, Melanesia, traditional Siberia, Canada, and the northwest coast of North America, Obeyesekere compares their ideas with those of the ancient and modern Indic civilizations and with the Greek rebirth theories of Pythagoras, Empedocles, Pindar, and Plato. His groundbreaking and authoritative discussion decenters the popular notion that India was the origin and locus of ideas of rebirth. As Obeyesekere compares responses to the most fundamental questions of human existence, he challenges readers to reexamine accepted ideas about death, cosmology, morality, and eschatology. Obeyesekere's comprehensive inquiry shows that diverse societies have come through independent invention or borrowing to believe in reincarnation as an integral part of their larger cosmological systems. The author brings together into a coherent methodological framework the thought of such diverse thinkers as Weber, Wittgenstein, and Nietzsche. In a contemporary intellectual context that celebrates difference and cultural relativism, this book makes a case for disciplined comparison, a humane view of human nature, and a theoretical understanding of "family resemblances" and differences across great cultural divides.
Description : With Karma and Rebirth: A Cross Cultural Study on the very first comparison of rebirth concepts across a wide range of cultures. Exploring in rich detail the beliefs of small scale indigenous societies of West Africa, Melanesia, and North America, Obeyesekere compares their ideas with those of the ancient and modern Indic civilizations and with the Greek rebirth theories of Pythagoras, Empedocles, Pindar and Plato. His groundbreaking and authoritiative discussion decenters the popular notion that India was the origin and locus of ideas of rebirth.
Description : For countless generations families have lived in isolated communities in the Godavari Delta of coastal Andhra Pradesh, learning and reciting their legacy of Vedas, performing daily offerings and occasional sacrifices. They are the virtually unrecognized survivors of a 3,700-year-old heritage, the last in India who perform the ancient animal and soma sacrifices according to Vedic tradition. In Vedic Voices, David M. Knipe offers for the first time, an opportunity for them to speak about their lives, ancestral lineages, personal choices as pandits, wives, children, and ways of coping with an avalanche of changes in modern India. He presents a study of four generations of ten families, from those born at the outset of the twentieth century down to their great-grandsons who are just beginning, at the age of seven, the task of memorizing their Veda, the Taittiriya Samhita, a feat that will require eight to twelve years of daily recitations. After successful examinations these young men will reside with the Veda family girls they married as children years before, take their places in the oral transmission of a three-thousand-year Vedic heritage, teach the Taittiriya collection of texts to their own sons, and undertake with their wives the major and minor sacrifices performed by their ancestors for some three millennia. Coastal Andhra, famed for bountiful rice and coconut plantations, has received scant attention from historians of religion and anthropologists despite a wealth of cultural traditions. Vedic Voices describes in captivating prose the geography, cultural history, pilgrimage traditions, and celebrated persons of the region. Here unfolds a remarkable story of Vedic pandits and their wives, one scarcely known in India and not at all to the outside world.
Description : This book probes the origins of the practice of nonviolence in early India and traces its path within the Jaina, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions, including its impact on East Asian Cultures. It then turns to a variety of contemporary issues relating to this topic such as: vegetarianism, animal and environmental protection, and the cultivation of religious tolerance.
Description : The Self Possessed is a multifaceted, diachronic study reconsidering the very nature of religion in South Asia, the culmination of years of intensive research. Frederick M. Smith proposes that positive oracular or ecstatic possession is the most common form of spiritual expression in India, and that it has been linguistically distinguished from negative, disease-producing possession for thousands of years. In South Asia possession has always been broader and more diverse than in the West, where it has been almost entirely characterized as "demonic." At best, spirit possession has been regarded as a medically treatable psychological ailment and at worst, as a condition that requires exorcism or punishment. In South (and East) Asia, ecstatic or oracular possession has been widely practiced throughout history, occupying a position of respect in early and recent Hinduism and in certain forms of Buddhism. Smith analyzes Indic literature from all ages-the earliest Vedic texts; the Mahabharata; Buddhist, Jain, Yogic, Ayurvedic, and Tantric texts; Hindu devotional literature; Sanskrit drama and narrative literature; and more than a hundred ethnographies. He identifies several forms of possession, including festival, initiatory, oracular, and devotional, and demonstrates their multivocality within a wide range of sects and religious identities. Possession is common among both men and women and is practiced by members of all social and caste strata. Smith theorizes on notions of embodiment, disembodiment, selfhood, personal identity, and other key issues through the prism of possession, redefining the relationship between Sanskritic and vernacular culture and between elite and popular religion. Smith's study is also comparative, introducing considerable material from Tibet, classical China, modern America, and elsewhere. Brilliant and persuasive, The Self Possessed provides careful new translations of rare material and is the most comprehensive study in any language on this subject.
Description : Karma has become a household word in the modern world, where it is associated with the belief in rebirth determined by one's deeds in earlier lives. This belief was and is widespread in the Indian subcontinent as is the word "karma" itself. In lucid and accessible prose, this book presents karma in its historical, cultural, and religious context. Initially, karma manifested itself in a number of religious movements--most notably Jainism and Buddhism--and was subsequently absorbed into Brahmanism in spite of opposition until the end of the first millennium C.E. Philosophers of all three traditions were confronted with the challenge of explaining by what process rebirth and karmic retribution take place. Some took the drastic step of accepting the participation of a supreme god who acted as a cosmic accountant, others of opting for radical idealism. The doctrine of karma was confronted with alternative explanations of human destiny, among them the belief in the transfer of merit. It also had to accommodate itself to devotional movements that exerted a major influence on Indian religions. The book concludes with some general reflections on the significance of rebirth and karmic retribution, drawing attention to similarities between early Christian and Indian ascetical practices and philosophical notions that in India draw their inspiration from the doctrine of karma.