Download Aghor Medicine: Pollution, Death, and Healing in Northern by Ronald L. Barrett, Jonathan P. Parry PDF

By Ronald L. Barrett, Jonathan P. Parry

For centuries, the Aghori were often called the main radical ascetics in India: residing bare at the cremation grounds, meditating on corpses, conducting cannibalism and coprophagy, and eating intoxicants out of human skulls. in recent times, besides the fact that, they've got shifted their practices from the embody of ritually polluted elements to the therapeutic of stigmatized illnesses. within the technique, they've got develop into a wide, socially mainstream, and politically robust association. in accordance with large fieldwork, this lucidly written e-book explores the dynamics of toxins, loss of life, and therapeutic in Aghor medication. Ron Barrett examines quite a number Aghor cures from ritual bathing to changed Ayurveda and biomedicines and clarifies many misconceptions approximately this little-studied crew and its hugely unorthodox, robust rules approximately sickness and healing.

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Extra info for Aghor Medicine: Pollution, Death, and Healing in Northern India

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The R. g Veda Sam. hitam (hereafter RV) tells how humanity and the cosmos are embodied in the anatomy of Purusha, the “Cosmic Man” (RV 10: 90). In the Caraka Sam. hitam (hereafter CS) the principal text of Ayurvedic medicine, the human body is a homunculus embodying greater cosmological principles (CS IV: 1). Similarly, Banaras is considered to be a microcosm of the divine world. As such, the city is thought to encapsulate all other centers of Hindu religious pilgrimage (Singh 1993). This concept is central in Diana Eck’s comprehensive survey of Banaras’s sacred geography: “The symbol that condenses the whole into the part is common in the Hindu world.

I attempt this understanding with three major propositions. The first builds upon the lessons of socially stigmatized diseases, exploring the notion that disease discrimination is itself an illness, inclusive of its marked physical conditions. But though social and physical stigmatization can be closely intertwined, one should not confuse the victim with his or her perpetrator. Hence, the second proposition contends that the source of discrimination is the discreditor rather than the discredited.

26). Lord Shiva is the ultimate ascetic of the shmashamn. Banaras is the city of Shiva. So it is said that Banaras is the maha mshmashamn, the Great Cremation Ground (Eck 1983). Each of these features—the Ganga, the shmashamn, and the city as a whole—functions as a kind of cosmic sink, a sacred dumping ground for The Cosmic Sink 31 humanity’s physical and metaphysical refuse. Yet although people who work as sweepers and cremation attendants are socially denigrated for managing the excreta of humanity, the same stigma does not apply to these sacred geographic features.

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