The Insider's View

Ariel Glucklich

in The End of Magic

Published in print May 1997 | ISBN: 9780195108798
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853434 | DOI:
The Insider's View

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Freed and Freed recently published an immense study of ghosts in Northern India. Their work, and similar projects in other areas of the world, draws on ethnography, medical anthropology, historical and textual analyses, psychology, and ecology to explain ghosts and exorcism. But these formidable scholarly efforts are no longer interested in one simple question that interests many lay readers: Where is the magic? Hinduism in India developed into a rich tapestry of distinct cultures embodying a few central themes. Numerous cults and traditions existed side by side, permeating each other on some levels and coexisting peacefully or antagonistically on other levels. The healing procedure practiced by exorcists varies from patient to patient and takes on the form of a simple pūjā at several junctures. The term tantra, which literally means “loom” or doctrine in the sense of woven ideas, is as old as India's earliest recorded history.

Keywords: India; magic; ghosts; exorcism; healing; Hinduism; cults; pūjā; tantra

Chapter.  5317 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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