The Progressive “Exotericization” and “Institutionalization” Of an Esoteric Tradition

Hugh B. Urban

in The Economics of Ecstasy

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780195139020
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834778 | DOI:
 The Progressive “Exotericization” and “Institutionalization” Of an Esoteric Tradition

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This short chapter demonstrates that the esoteric elements of the tradition of the Bengali Kartābhajā sect would eventually become an increasing source of embarrassment. They were to be progressively institutionalized and marginalized as a later tradition evolved from the secretive obscure cult centring around the mysterious mad Fakir Bā into a largely innocuous, well‐organized, and rather, bureaucratic, and popular devotional faith centring around the miraculous healing powers of the Satī Mā, and the sacred hierarchy of the Mahāśays (regional gurus).

Keywords: Bengal; cults; faiths; India; Kartābhajās; secrecy; sects

Chapter.  1691 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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