This innovative introductory textbook explores the central practices and beliefs of Hinduism through contemporary, everyday practice. Introduces and contextualizes the rituals, festivals and everyday lived experiences of Hinduism in text and images Includes data from the author’s own extensive ethnographic fieldwork in central India (Chhattisgarh), the Deccan Plateau (Hyderabad), and South India (Tirupati) Features coverage of Hindu diasporas, including a study of the Hindu community in Atlanta, Georgia Each chapter includes case study examples of specific topics related to the practice of Hinduism framed by introductory and contextual material
Acknowledgements viii A Note on Transliteration x Map of India xii Introduction 1 The Terms “Hindu,” “Hinduism,” and “Hindu Traditions” 2 Dharma: A Way of Life and Religious Tradition 3 Context and Multiplicity 6 Ethnographic Selection and Chapter Topics 9 A Note on Caste 13 1 Families of Deities 18 The Trimurti 20 Mythological and Narrative Families 21 Vishnu 21 Shiva 25 Devi, the Goddess 28 Gramadevatas, Village Deities 30 Temple Families 34 Ritual Families in Domestic Shrines 36 2 Oral and Visual Narratives and Theologies 46 Oral Performance Genres 47 Visual Narratives and Theologies 49 Verbal and Visual Together 56 Where Does the Narrative Lie? 61 The Ramayana Tradition Performed 62 3 Loving and Serving God: Bhakti, Murtis, and Puja 73Bhakti, Devotion 73 Singing to God and the Goddess 76 Worshipping Deities in Material Form 77 Narratives of God in the Murti 80 The Deity without Form 83 Modes of Worshipping the Murti 85 The Services of Puja 89 Online, Cyber Puja 93 4 Temples, Shrines, and Pilgrimage 97 Temples 98 Sthala Puranas 99 Temple Architecture 101 Temple Worship 104 Shrines 109 Pilgrimage 110 Tirumala, a Southern, Pan?]Indian, and Transnational Pilgrimage Site 114 Narsinghnath, a Sub?]regional Pilgrimage Site 119 5 Festivals 123 Divali: Festival of Lights 127 Ganesha Chaturthi: Domestic, Neighborhood, and City?]Wide Celebrations 129 Place?]Bound Festivals: Tirupati’s Gangamma Jatara 138 6 Vrats: Ritual Vows and Women’s Auspiciousness 145 Temple Vrats 146 Domestic Vrats 147 Vrat Kathas: Ritual Narratives 150 Two South Indian Vrat Traditions 151 Gender and Vrats 164 7 Samskaras: Transformative Rites of Passage 169 Pregnancy and Birth 170 First?]Year Samskaras 171 Upanayana and Rituals of Transition to Adulthood 172 Ranga Pravesham: Ascending the (Dance) Stage 177 Marriage 178 Death Rituals 186 8 Ritual Healing, Possession, and Astrology 193 Accessing Multiple Healing Sites 194 Healing across Religious Boundaries 199 Possession 203 Astrology 211 Afterword 220 Glossary 227 Index 231
"An engaging read, as a textbook as well as general resource, this book has the potential to make instructors re-envision how they teach Hinduism in the classroom." (CHOICE, 2016)
Joyce Burkhalter Flueckiger is a Professor in the Department of Religion at Emory University. She is the author of When the World Becomes Female: Guises of a South Indian Goddess (2013), In Amma’s Healing Room: Gender and Vernacular Islam in South India (2009), and Gender and Genre in the Folklore of Middle India (1996).
“Clear, deft, and beautifully proportioned, Everyday Hinduism is exactly what’s been missing as a major textbook resource for an introductory course on Hinduism. I am thrilled to see it: a wish fulfilled!”John Stratton Hawley, Columbia University, USA “At last! Flueckiger’s accessible introduction to contemporary Hinduism in practice could not be more welcome. This book successfully and respectfully illuminates dynamic interactions of deities, rituals, stories, and ordinary people – and promises to enhance understandings of a complex, multi-faceted religion for students from outside and inside Hindu cultural worlds.”Ann Grodzins Gold, Syracuse University, USA This new introductory textbook provides a refreshingly innovative introduction to Hinduism through an exploration of its contemporary, everyday practice. Taking as its starting point the ways in which Hindus experience their own religion, the book discusses the central practices and beliefs of Hinduism, illustrating their importance and diversity through numerous examples and images of daily life. Drawing on her own extensive fieldwork, the author discusses rituals, festivals, and traditions in text and images. Each chapter includes introductory and contextual information on specific topics related to the practice of Hinduism that serve as a frame for detailed, real-life examples, including the Divali festival, the upanayana rite of passage, and the Ramayana tradition. Beautifully and engagingly written, this detailed guide will be an essential resource for anyone studying, teaching, or interested in better understanding Hinduism.
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