Salvific space is one of the central ideas in the Hindu traditions of pilgrimage, and concerns the ability of space, especially sites associated with bodies of water such as rivers and lakes, to grant salvific rewards. Focusing on religious, historical and sociological questions about the phenomenon, this book investigates the narratives, rituals, history and structures of salvific space, and looks at how it became a central feature of Hinduism.
Arguing that salvific power of place became a major dimension of Hinduism through a development in several stages, the book analyses the historical process of how salvific space and pilgrimage in the Hindu tradition developed. It discusses how the traditions of salvific space exemplify the decentred polycentrism that defines Hinduism. The book uses original data from field research, as well as drawing on main textual sources such as Mahābhārata, the Purāṇas, the medieval digests on pilgrimage places (tīrthas), and a number of Sthalapurāṇas and Māhātmyas praising the salvific power of the place. By looking at some of the contradictions in and challenges to the tradition of Hindu salvific space in history and in contemporary India, the book is a useful study on Hinduism and South Asian Studies.
Introduction 1. Concepts and Sources 2. Salvific Space, Narratives and Space as Divinity 3. Origin of the Hindu Traditions of Salvific Space 4. Growth and Omnipresence of the Hindu Traditions of Salvific Space 5. Narratives and Doctrines of Salvific Space: The Example of Sage Kapila 6. Structure of Salvific Space: A Pluralistic Pilgrimage Tradition or why there is no Mecca of Hinduism 7. Contradictions and Challenges
This series, in association with the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, intends primarily the publication of constructive Hindu theological, philosophical and ethical projects aimed at bringing Hindu traditions into dialogue with contemporary trends in scholarship and contemporary society. The series invites original, high quality, research level work on religion, culture and society of Hindus living in India and abroad. Proposals for annotated translations of important primary sources and studies in the history of the Hindu religious traditions will also be considered.