Perspectives on Ritual Power

Corinne G. Dempsey

in The Goddess Lives in Upstate New York

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780195187298
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199784547 | DOI:
 Perspectives on Ritual Power

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This chapter recounts some of the Rush temple’s conceptions of and rationales behind its dedication to ritual performance. In contrast to most North American Hindu temples that typically downplay the role of ritual power, the Rush temple, informed by its Śrīvidyā tantric tradition, enthusiastically embraces, analyzes, and celebrates it. How Śrīvidyā’s understandings of ritual performances and bodily practices assume an interrelationship between humanity and divinity, body and ritual, and, somewhat related to this, between science and the sacred are explored. Aiya, the temple guru whose own guru was a nuclear physicist, uses scientific terminology to explain the mechanics of ritual efficacy based on the sacred diagram (yantra) that lies beneath each main temple statue (mūrti). He also describes temple teachings in which human faith, focus, and discipline are essential to ritual effectiveness.

Keywords: ritual; body; science; faith; yantra; mūrti; Śrīvidyā; tantric

Chapter.  10811 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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