publication . Article . 2018

The Invisible Path of Karma in a Himalayan Purificatory Rite

Arik Moran;
Open Access English
  • Published: 12 Mar 2018 Journal: Religions; Volume 9; Issue 3; Pages: 78 (issn: 2077-1444, Copyright policy)
  • Publisher: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
Abstract
Indic rites of purification aim to negate the law of karma by removing the residues of malignant past actions from their patrons. This principle is exemplified in the Kahika Mela, a rarely studied religious festival of the West Himalayan highlands (Himachal Pradesh, India), wherein a ritual specialist assumes karmic residues from large publics and then sacrificed to their presiding deity. British officials who had ‘discovered’ this purificatory rite at the turn of the twentieth century interpreted it as a variant of the universal ‘scapegoat’ rituals that were then being popularized by James Frazer and found it loosely connected to ancient Tantric practises. The However, observing a recent performance of the ritual significantly complicated this view. This paper proposes a novel reading of the Kahika Mela through the prism of karmic transference. Tracing the path of karmas from participants to ritual specialist and beyond, it delineates the logic behind the rite, revealing that the culminating act of human sacrifice is, in fact, secondary to the mysterious force that impels its acceptance.
Persistent Identifiers
Fields of Science and Technology classification (FOS)
06 humanities and the arts, 0603 philosophy, ethics and religion, 060302 philosophy, 060303 religions & theology
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
16. Peace & justice
Subjects
free text keywords: Himachal Pradesh; human sacrifice; karma; Khas; Kullu; Nar; ritual; scapegoat; shaktism; Tantra, Religious studies, Himachal Pradesh, human sacrifice, karma, Khas, Kullu, Nar, ritual, scapegoat, shaktism, Tantra, Tantra, Ancient history, Karma, Rite, Reading (process), media_common.quotation_subject, media_common, Human sacrifice, Scapegoat, History, lcsh:Religions. Mythology. Rationalism, lcsh:BL1-2790
Related Organizations
Communities
  • Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage
  • Social Science and Humanities
Funded by
EC| NPHH
Project
NPHH
Narrating the Past in the Hindu Himalayas: On Social Memory in South Asian Oral Traditions
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 334489
  • Funding stream: FP7 | SP3 | PEOPLE
Download fromView all 3 versions
Open Access
Religions
Article . 2018
Providers: DOAJ-Articles
Open Access
Religions
Article
Providers: UnpayWall
Open Access
Religions
Other literature type . Article . 2018
37 references, page 1 of 3

Axelby, Richard. 2015. Hermit Village or Zomian republic? An update on the political socio-economy of a remote Himalayan community. European Bulletin of Himalayan Research 46: 35-61. [OpenAIRE]

Berti, Daniela. 2012. Ritual Faults, Sins, and Legal Offences. A Discussion about Two Patterns of Justice in Contemporary India. In Sins and Sinners: Perspectives from Asian Religions. Edited by Phyllis Granoff and Koichi Shinohara. Leiden and London: Brill, pp. 153-72.

Burley, Mikel. 2014. Karma, Morality, and Evil. Philosophy Compass 9: 415-30. [CrossRef]

Chaoul, Alejandro. 2008. Chöd Practise in the Bön Tradition. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications.

Chaudhary, Amit. 2013. Making a 'Dead' Man Alive. Channel 7 News Report. Available online: https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=2jC-FQokGxY (accessed on 4 March 2018).

Dachille, Rae Erin. 2017. Piercing to the Pith of the Body: The Evolution of Body Mandala and Tantric Corporeality in Tibet. Religions 8: 189. [CrossRef] [OpenAIRE]

Dotson, Brandon. 2015. The Call of the Cuckoo to the Thin Sheep of Spring: Healing and Fortune in Old Tibetan Dice Divination Texts. In Tibetan and Himalayan Healing: An Anthology for Anthony Aris. Edited by Charles Ramble and Ulrike Roesler. Kathmandu: Vajra Publications, pp. 148-60.

Emerson, Herbert William. 1933. Death Ceremonies of the Hill Rajas. In History of the Panjab Hill States. Edited by Jean-Philippe Vogel and John Hutchison. Lahore: Superintendent, Government Printing, Punjab, Appendix VII; pp. viii-ix. First published 1920.

Emerson, Herbert William. 2012. Gazetteer of the Mandi State 1920. Delhi: B.R. Publishing Corporation. First published 1920.

Frazer, James George. 1922. The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion. First published 1890. Available online: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Golden_Bough (accessed on 4 March 2018).

Fuller, Christopher John. 2004. The Camphor Flame: Popular Hinduism and Society in India. Princeton: Princeton University Press. First published 1992.

Guidoni, Rachel. 1998. “L'ancienne cérémonie d'État du Glud.'gong rgyal.po à Lhasa”, Mémoire de DREA de Tibétain. Paris: INALCO.

Handelman, Don, and David Shulman. 1997. God Inside Out: S´iva's Game of Dice. New York: Oxford University Press.

Heesterman, Johannes Cornelius. 1985. The Inner Conflict of Tradition: Essays in Indian Ritual, Kinship, and Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Heesterman, Johannes Cornelius. 1993. The Broken World of Sacrifice: An Essay in Ancient Indian Ritual. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

37 references, page 1 of 3
Any information missing or wrong?Report an Issue