Drawing on personal experiences of Hinduism on the ground, this book provides a reflective context within which religious practices can be understood and appreciated. It conveys the rich realities of the Hindu tradition and the academic approaches through which they are studied. The chapters cover a wide range of topics, including dance, music, performance, festival traditions, temples, myth, philosophy, women’s practices, and divine possession. The engaging narratives are accompanied by contextual discussions and advice on such topics as conducting fieldwork, colonialism, Hindu seasonal celebrations, understanding deities, and aesthetics in Hinduism. All the entries are accompanied by photographs and suggestions for further reading.
Table of Contents
1. Discovering a Story Brenda E. F. Beck 2. Hanumān Jayantī in Maharashtra Jeffrey Brackett 3. Searching for Satī Paul B. Courtright 4. Pilgrimage to Kāmākhyā through text and lived religion: Some forms of the Goddess at an Assamese Temple Site Patricia A. Dold 5. The Accidental Pilgrim: Vaiṣṇava Tīrthas and the Experience of the Sacred Jason D. Fuller 6. Dance and Hinduism - a personal exploration Anne-Marie Gaston 7. Just My Imagination? Puzzling through a Duryodhana Festival near Dharmapuri, Tamilnadu Alf Hiltebeitel 8. The Wisdom of Kapila’s Cave: Sāṃkhya-Yoga as Practice Knut A. Jacobsen 9. Tablā, Spirituality, and the Arts: A Journey into the Cycles of Time Jeffrey Lidke 10. Divine Times: Goddess worship in Banāras Hillary P. Rodrigues 11. A Himalayan Exorcism William Sax 12. Experiencing Sanskrit Dramas in Kerala: Epic Performances and Performers Bruce M. Sullivan 13. Learning about Hindu Practice: Fighting late-colonial Attitudes and Discovering Temples and Festivals Paul Younger
Hillary P. Rodrigues received his PhD in Religious Studies from McMaster University. He is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, where he has been honored with a Distinguished Teaching Award. His books include Ritual Worship of the Great Goddess (2003), Introducing Hinduism (2006) and Introduction to the Study of Religion with John S. Harding (2008).
"Studying Hinduism in Practice is an innovative approach to presenting a religion such as Hinduism. Too often textbooks and readers are concerned only with texts. This work greatly embellishes the study of religion with first-hand, first-person accounts of not only the living traditions, but the research activity itself as it has transpired in real time. The book would be a wonderful companion in a course on Hindu traditions, or a course in Anthropology where field-work is addressed."
- Guy Beck, Tulane University, USA