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, undertaking cannibalism and coprophagy, and eating intoxicants out of human skulls. in recent times, although, they've got shifted their practices from the include of ritually polluted elements to the therapeutic of stigmatized illnesses. within the strategy, they've got develop into a wide, socially mainstream, and politically strong association. in line with vast fieldwork, this lucidly written e-book explores the dynamics of pollutants, dying, and therapeutic in Aghor medication. Ron Barrett examines a variety of Aghor remedies from ritual bathing to changed Ayurveda and biomedicines and clarifies many misconceptions approximately this little-studied staff and its hugely unorthodox, strong principles approximately ailment and healing.

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

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Indian manufacturers of herbal and biomedical pharmaceuticals have long had qualitycontrol problems (Kamat and Nichter 1998). The patients who came to the ashram clinic were well aware of these problems and said they trusted the Aghori to provide fresh and properly made medications. Patients also cited their belief in the divine inspiration by which Aghori renunciates modified the medication formulas and blessed the people who manufactured and distributed them. Patients often expressed more interest in the healing power of their providers than in that of the medicines themselves.

Banaras] is this kind of symbol, which condenses the whole of India into a great ‘sacred circle,’ a geographical mandala” (1983: 41). Just as Banaras is a prototype for sacred India, her sacred features are prototypes for the divine roles of the city as a whole. Foremost among these features are the Ganga and the two famous cremation grounds (shmashamns) along her banks. Pilgrims commonly say that Banaras is like the Mother Ganga, who accepts and purifies anyone and anything that comes to her and transforms them into herself.

Later in the book, I address the rare instances in which the postreform Aghori engage in old-style unorthodox practices. In these cases, “the practices” are nothing more than temporary spiritual exercises for overcoming the fears and aversions particular to the disciple’s own upbringing and enculturation. Parry also observes that, by living as scavengers, Aghori ascetics have solved the dilemma of how to maintain worldly independence while simultaneously relying on the alms of householders for their sustenance.

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