anth142Fullerreading - Fuller Reading Summary "Popular...

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Fuller Reading Summary “Popular Hinduism and Indian Society” Chapter 1: Hindus greetings and showing respect to their deities, both gods and goddesses, by simple and perfectly graceful gesture: they raise their hands, with the palms pressed together and fingers pointing upward, and slightly bow the head. Not only human beings who graciously show respect, greet, and bid farewell to gods and goddesses with this gesture, for the deities do so to each other. o Example: The goddesses Lakshmi and Parvati perform the gesture to their husbands, the great gods Vishnu and Shiva, respectively, but sometimes Vishnu shows his respect to Shiva or Shiva does the same to Vishnu. Two people of similar status meet formally; each raises the hands and slightly bows the head to the other, while simultaneously saying the Sanskrit work namaskara . If two people are of markedly different status, then only the inferior is likely to perform the gesture, and may even fall down in prostration at the superior’s feet. On the other hand, at the informal meetings that occur throughout the day as people run into their relatives or friends, colleagues or workmates, the formal gesture is typically simplified to no more than a rapid lifting of the right hand and a nod of the head. Symbolic act – from full prostration to informal flicking of the head and hand – expresses two of the most critical features of Hindu religion and society. o First – exactly the same gesture is made by people to deities and by both deities and people to each other. Seen that human beings are seen as actually divine in one way or another. Quote: The Hindu who told Lawrence A. Babb that the gesture is made to salute “that bit of god which is in every person”. 1
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o Second – the Hindu gesture of respect – unlike the handshake – expresses an inherent asymmetry in rank, because it is made by an inferior to a superior. In all cases, the superior typically makes no reciprocating gesture or does so only cursorily. Popular Hinduism and Its Anthropological Analysis Popular Hinduism to Fuller refers to the beliefs and practices that constitute the living, “practical” religion of ordinary Hindus. 1981 – Hindus formed around 83 percent of India’s population. 1991 –
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anth142Fullerreading - Fuller Reading Summary "Popular...

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