Absent Lord: Ascetics and Kings in a Jain Ritual Culture
What does it mean to worship beings that one believes are completely indifferent to, and entirely beyond the reach of, any form of worship whatsoever? How would such a relationship with sacred beings affect the religious life of a community? Using these questions as his point of departure, Lawrence A. Babb explores the ritual culture of image-worshipping Svetambar Jains of the western Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
Jainism traces its lineages back to the ninth century B.C.E. and is, along with Buddhism, the only surviving example of India's ancient non-Vedic religious traditions. It is known and celebrated for its systematic practice of non-violence and for the intense rigor of the asceticism it promotes. A unique aspect of Babb's study is his linking of the Jain tradition to the social identity of existing Jain communities.
Babb concludes by showing that Jain ritual culture can be seen as a variation on pan-Indian ritual patterns. In illuminating this little-known religious tradition, he demonstrates that divine "absence" can be as rich as divine "presence" in its possibilities for informing a religious response to the cosmos.
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ahimsā Ahmedabad ascetic asceticism became become Bhādrapad Bhairav bhāv birth Brähman cetic Chagansāgar chapter clan context Cort cosmos cult dadābāri Dādāgurus deities devotees Digambar disciple eightfold worship fact five-kalyānak pujā food offerings gods Granoff Gujarat hagiographies Hanumān Hindu human ibid identity important Indra Jain ascetics Jain ritual culture Jain temples Jain tradition Jainism Jains worship Jaipur Jincandrasuri Jindattsüri Jodhpur kalyānaks Kamath karma Khartar Gacch king Krsna Ksatriya Laidlaw lay Jains liberation lineage goddess living Lord Mahāvīr materials means mendicant miracles monk named non-Jain nuns object of worship Osiyā Osväls Pārśvanāth's five-kalyānak performed prasad puja pujāris Pustimãrg Rajasthan Rājputs Ratnaprabhsüri religious rite of worship ritual acts role Saciyā Mātā Saiva Sanskrit seen shiper shrine Siva snätra pūjā soteriological soul South Asian spiritual Srimals story Svetâmbar Jains theme tion Tirth Tirthankar told tradition's transactions Utpaldev Vaisnava vandan vegetarian worldly worshiper's yojans