Download Aghor Medicine: Pollution, Death, and Healing in Northern by Ronald L. Barrett, Jonathan P. Parry PDF

By Ronald L. Barrett, Jonathan P. Parry

For centuries, the Aghori were referred to as the main radical ascetics in India: residing bare at the cremation grounds, meditating on corpses, conducting cannibalism and coprophagy, and eating intoxicants out of human skulls. lately, in spite of the fact that, they've got shifted their practices from the include of ritually polluted elements to the therapeutic of stigmatized ailments. within the approach, they've got turn into a wide, socially mainstream, and politically robust association. according to vast fieldwork, this lucidly written publication explores the dynamics of pollutants, loss of life, and therapeutic in Aghor medication. Ron Barrett examines various Aghor treatments from ritual bathing to changed Ayurveda and biomedicines and clarifies many misconceptions approximately this little-studied workforce and its hugely unorthodox, robust rules approximately sickness and healing.

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Extra info for Aghor Medicine: Pollution, Death, and Healing in Northern India

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My dual status sometimes created false expectations for the research. After being introduced to one informant as an “American doctor” and “[someone] who can help you,” I had to explain in strong terms that I was neither and that my research would not directly benefit the person with whom I was talking. My fieldwork presented even more difficult dilemmas for my role as a nurse. Although I never let data collection take precedence over the welfare of a patient, I often had difficulty determining whether “help” was really helpful—if a hundred subtle suggestions were worth more than a single outright confrontation; if a bandage might enable a drug addict, or if a criticism would only fan the flames of the identified problem.

The term Hindu originally described a broad range of ethnicities and localities: those northern Indian communities that have geographic or cultural associations with the Indus Valley (von Stietencron 1997). The term was institutionalized during the Mughal Empire to describe non-Muslim subjects whose beliefs did not fit into any other clearly labeled religious category. Hindus were thus defined by what they were not; they were non-Christian, non-Parsi, non-Jain, and so on. During the latter half of the nineteenth century, Hinduism consolidated into a rallying point for national identity within emerging independence movements.

Although the Kina Ram Aghori have left more written records than the ka mpa mlikas before them, a reliable history of the lineage before the 1950s awaits the discovery of sufficient primary source materials. ] Figure 4. Statue of Baba Kina Ram in the middle of Krim Kund, 2000. my definition of Aghor itself: that is, according to the stated beliefs of my informants. Although this definition is biased toward a postreform agenda, it is salient within the current Kina Ram Aghor tradition, its social and medico-religious practices, and the image the Aghori projected to the outside world.

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