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

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By Ronald L. Barrett, Jonathan P. Parry

For centuries, the Aghori were often called the main radical ascetics in India: dwelling bare at the cremation grounds, meditating on corpses, undertaking cannibalism and coprophagy, and eating intoxicants out of human skulls. lately, even if, 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 strong association. in line with wide fieldwork, this lucidly written ebook explores the dynamics of toxins, demise, and therapeutic in Aghor drugs. Ron Barrett examines various Aghor cures from ritual bathing to changed Ayurveda and biomedicines and clarifies many misconceptions approximately this little-studied crew and its hugely unorthodox, strong rules approximately sickness and healing.

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

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The Aghori are the ultimate social constructivists. Having defined the illness and located the problem, the third proposition borrows directly from an Aghori belief that the fear of death is the root of all other fears and aversions, disease discrimination among them. This proposition resonates with the social psychology of Becker (1973), who argues that mortality anxiety and its subsequent repression are the primary sources of human neuroses, as well as the primary engines of human social institutions.

Healing power was both helpful to society and enticing to would-be disciples. But once established in a spiritual practice, healing power was meant to be a by-product rather than an objective for the Aghori seeker. Associations with pollution and death were intended as exercises toward attaining a state of nondiscrimination. ” This chapter seeks to clarify the pervasive misconceptions about these practices and frame them within their appropriate cultural contexts. One can do so only by understanding the relationship between death and nondiscrimination in Aghor philosophy.

He invited my fiancée (and fellow anthropologist), Katharine, and me to join him and a few of his disciples on a monthlong visit of Aghor-related sites in Banaras and several northern Indian villages. During our travels, Hari Baba opened doors for me that would have otherwise been closed. He also connected me with his extended family, with whom Katharine and I became very close. I found, however, that these close relationships had costs as well as benefits. Although I did not decide to undergo spiritual initiation until the last months of my major fieldwork, the Kina Rami nevertheless considered me Hari Baba’s disciple from the beginning.

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