This book critically examines dominant ceremonial practices in Sri Lanka. It presents key ideas and symbolic systems that exist to this day, in similar shapes or in different guises. It looks at issues such as misfortunes caused by demons (yaksa dosa), an important ceremonial practice known as the puna-yāgaya, ideas pertaining to spirit possession, trance, and mediums. It also deals with classical Ayurvedic theories of disease, urban ceremonial practices such as cases of the apotheoses from demon to divinity, as well as multiple forms of Buddhist ceremonial practices that are part of the Sri Lankan consciousness and have found their way into public cultural performances in Sri Lanka.
As a comprehensive volume on ceremonial practices in Sri Lanka, this work will be useful for scholars and researchers in cultural studies, sociology, social-anthropology, and particularly those interested in myths and rituals in South Asia.
Table of Contents
Preface 1. The Sanni Demons: Collective Representations of Disease in Sri Lanka 2. On Perjury: The Ritual of the Leopard Pot 3. The Spirits of the Dead: A Psycho-Cultural Exegesis of a Case Study of an Exorcism 4. Sorcery and Premeditated Murder: the Canalization of Aggression 5. From Demon to God: The Apotheosis of Huniyan
Gananath Obeyesekere is Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, Princeton University, USA, where he has taught for 20 years. He has also taught at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, as well as The University of Washington, Seattle and The University of California, San Diego. He has given public lectures in the US, Canada, Britain, India, China and several places in Europe.