By Corinne G. Dempsey

ISBN-10: 0195187296

ISBN-13: 9780195187298

ISBN-10: 019518730X

ISBN-13: 9780195187304

The Goddess Lives in Upstate big apple is a profile of a flourishing Hindu temple within the city of Rush, long island. The temple, demonstrated through a charismatic nonbrahman Sri Lankan Tamil referred to as Aiya, sticks out for its blend of orthodox ritual meticulousness and socioreligious iconoclasm. The power with which devotees perform ritual themselves and their prepared entry to the deities contrasts sharply with ritual actions at so much North American Hindu temples, the place (following the standard Indian customized) ritual is played basically via monks and entry to the hugely sanctified divine photographs is heavily guarded. Drawing on numerous years of fieldwork, Dempsey weaves conventional South Asian stories, temple miracle bills, and devotional testimonials into an research of the certain dynamics of diaspora Hinduism. She explores the ways that the goddess, the guru, and temple participants stay at cultural and spiritual intersections, noting how differences among dazzling and mundane, conference and non-convention, and household and international are extra usually intertwined and interdependent than in tidy competition. This energetic and obtainable paintings is a different and critical contribution to diaspora Hindu stories.

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The Goddess Lives in Upstate big apple is a profile of a flourishing Hindu temple within the city of Rush, ny. The temple, tested via a charismatic nonbrahman Sri Lankan Tamil referred to as Aiya, sticks out for its blend of orthodox ritual meticulousness and socioreligious iconoclasm. The power with which devotees perform ritual themselves and their prepared entry to the deities contrasts sharply with ritual actions at such a lot North American Hindu temples, the place (following the standard Indian customized) ritual is played purely via monks and entry to the hugely sanctified divine pictures is heavily guarded.

Extra info for The Goddess Lives in Upstate New York: Breaking Convention and Making Home at a North American Hindu Temple

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Aiya encourages, even harangues, all present to chant along. In spite of my leftish theology, I enjoyed the corporate, sensual expressions of devotion of which the Rush temple is a veritable gold mine. The inevitable impasse occurred during the 1998 Navara¯tri festival, a nineday event honoring the Great Goddess’s victory over the buffalo demon Mahisfi a¯sura—also understood metaphorically as her victory over human ego. The ritual climax of the event is, at Rush, a ceremony called a canfi dfi¯ı homam, a fourhour ritual involving elaborate offerings into a fire.

Not sure what to make of this information, I asked what I should do—should I tell her? ” When I told him there was no way I could not tell her, he suggested, “She can come here and get a mantra if she’d like. ” Early May, Linda made another trip in our direction. She was not entirely sure what to make of Aiya’s reading of her past lives, but looked forward to temple entryways 27 receiving a mantra. We decided to go to the temple on a Monday, since fewer people would be there and she could talk more easily with Aiya.

Here and now I am going to tell you that we are going to offer fourteen saris into the fire. If you want to donate the saris, only Ka¯n ˜ cı¯puram silk, nothing else. Nothing else will do. If you want to offer something, you offer the best you’ve got. ” A notable way Aiya refuses to compromise, indirectly costing the temple money, is his insistent conformity with ancient temple tradition by burning camphor during pu¯ja¯s. Because camphor is messy—leaving a black residue on walls, ceilings, and temple objects—North American temples have almost uniformly replaced camphor flames with wick flames from oil or ghee lamps.

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The Goddess Lives in Upstate New York: Breaking Convention and Making Home at a North American Hindu Temple by Corinne G. Dempsey


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