Health and Religious Rituals in South Asia
Disease, Possession and Healing
Drawing on original fieldwork, this book develops a fresh methodological approach to the study of indigenous understandings of disease as possession, and looks at healing rituals in different South Asian cultural contexts. Contributors discuss the meaning of 'disease', 'possession' and 'healing' in relation to South Asian religions, including Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism, and how South Asians deal with the divine in order to negotiate health and wellbeing.
The book goes on to look at goddesses, gods and spirits as a cause and remedy of a variety of diseases, a study that has proved significant to the ethics and politics of responding to health issues. It contributes to a consolidation and promotion of indigenous ways as a method of understanding physical and mental imbalances through diverse conceptions of the divine. Chapters offer a fascinating overview of healing rituals in South Asia and provide a full-length, sustained discussion of the interface between religion, ritual, and folklore. The book presents a fresh insight into studies of Asian Religion and the History of Medicine.
Table of Contents
Preface Fabrizio M. Ferrari Part 1: Introduction 1. Possession in Theory and Practice: Historical and Contemporary Models Frederick Smith 2. Is Possession Really Possible? Towards a Hermeneutics of Transformative Embodiment in South Asia Aditya Malik Part 2: Possession from the West 3. Possession in an Islamist valley: Spirits, Islamists and Love in Chitral, Northern Pakistan Magnus Mardsen 4. Sikh Controversies concerning Punjabi Pilgrimage Sites used for Healing and Possession Ron Geaves 5. Ancestors, Demons and the Goddess: Negotiating the Animate Cosmos of Jainism Anne Vallely Part 3: Possessions from the North 6. Disease, the Demons and the Buddhas: A Study of Tibetan Conceptions of Disease and Religious Practice Ivette Vargas-O’Bryan 7. Shamanic Healing: A Jhankri in the City Deepak Shimkhada and Adam D. Pave 8. Calculating Fecundity in the Kasyapa Samhita Anthony Cerulli Part 4: Possessions from the East 9. The whisper of the spirits. Shamanic kinship and the cult of the ancestor among the Lanjia Saoras of Orissa Stefano Beggiora 10. In the Shadow of the Devil: Traditional Patterns of Lepcha Culture Reinterpreted Davide Torri Part 5: Possessions from the South 11. Gumez, Wizarishn & Tan-drustih: Affliction and Healing in Zoroastrianism Rastin Mehri 12. Possession as Protection and Affliction: the Goddess Mariyamman's Fierce Grace William Harman 13. The Obsolescence of the Demons? Modernity and Possession in Sri Lanka Eva Ambos 14. Conclusion Fabrizio M. Ferrari
Fabrizio M. Ferrari is Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies, University of Chester, UK. His research focuses on the study of South Asian popular Hinduism and folklore, and subaltern studies and ritual theory.