Aghor Medicine Pollution, Death, and Healing in Northern India
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For centuries, the Aghori have been known as the most radical ascetics in India: living naked on the cremation grounds, meditating on corpses, engaging in cannibalism and coprophagy, and consuming intoxicants out of human skulls. In recent years, however, they have shifted their practices from the embrace of ritually polluted substances to the healing of stigmatized diseases. In the process, they have become a large, socially mainstream, and politically powerful organization. Based on extensive fieldwork, this lucidly written book explores the dynamics of pollution, death, and healing in Aghor medicine. Ron Barrett examines a range of Aghor therapies from ritual bathing to modified Ayurveda and biomedicines and asks how these therapies facilitate the exchange of pollution and power between patients and healers. What he finds is that for the non-disciple, Aghor medicine serves as a dumping ground for ritual pollution and disease. For the disciple, this same pollution is a form of power and spiritual medicine. This fascinating study places the Aghor within the larger context of medical pluralism in India and clarifies many misconceptions about this little-studied group and its highly unorthodox, powerful ideas about illness and healing.
List price: $34.95
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 3/4/2008
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 0.50" tall
|List of Illustrations|
|Note on Transliteration, Abbreviations, and Names|
|The Cosmic Sink|
|Fire in the Well|
|The Wrong Side of the River|
|Dawa and Duwa|
|Death and Nondiscrimination|