By Graham Dwyer
In keeping with fieldwork within the north Indian country of Rajasthan, this e-book specializes in supernatural illness - sickness and misfortune ascribed to demonic spirits or ghosts and to different mystical brokers, equivalent to sorcerers and witches. The learn augments and extends the present scholarship on a number matters, together with inter alia ideals approximately spirit ownership, sorcery, witchcraft and the evil eye. the subjects of formality perform, specially exorcism or therapeutic ceremonies, Hindu clergymen and curers, well known Hinduism and pilgrimage are mentioned, and the anthropology of South Asia is explored with an emphasis on scientific anthropology and Indian ethnomedicine. At a theoretical point, the ebook sharply contrasts with a lot of the literature on spirit ownership or on supernatural sickness and its remedy, because the author's phenomenological orientation contains flow clear of mental or psychiatric paradigms in addition to from other kinds of Western rationalism that experience tended to dominate scholarly paintings. The booklet therefore bargains clean insights, either when it comes to knowing supernatural malaise and its remedy, and when it comes to the appliance of the technique the writer engages.
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Additional info for The Divine and the Demonic: Supernatural Affliction and its Treatment in North India
13 In contrast to temple functionaries generally, most of the healers operating in Mehndipur are extremely charismatic. Many of them become possessed by benevolent spirits (duts), which are frequently said to be messengers and servants of Balaji. Indeed, some healers claim that the monkey god himself also possesses them. Those who do not become possessed usually work with a medium, a person through whom a curer communicates with helpful spirits as well as with malevolent ghosts. All practitioners, whether they become possessed or not, are known as bhagats.
4 Ailments that are ascribed to the work of supernatural agents in fact are clearly distinguished by pilgrims from ailments that are said to arise as a result of factors such as faulty diet or faulty regimen; and when an illness does not respond to allopathic medicine and/or to a variety of traditional therapies, this itself is taken as a sign that supernaturals are likely to be involved. The logic of attribution here, however, should not be seen as some kind of unscientiﬁc lapse in native thought, as involving a ﬂight into the irrational (cf.
A diverted) sorcery attack. In the former case, person A is said to be harmed by his or her enemy, person B. In the latter case, by contrast, person C, who is an essentially innocent victim, is injured; and this is thought to occur because B may try to get at A by afﬂicting C, or because the third party in the triad is harmed inadvertently. Now, with respect to pilgrims interviewed in Mehndipur, sorcery was suspected or identiﬁed as the cause of adversity equally by both men and women, though married persons claimed to be the object of direct 28 S U P E R N AT U R A L M A L A I S E A N D A F F L I C T I O N attack far more than single persons.