From ruler to healer: Changes in religious experience in the western himalayas

Asaf Sharabi, Hagar Shalev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research literature on the Western Himalayas emphasizes the theistic control of local deities. In the framework of this ruling system, described by the concepts of 'Little Kingdom' and 'government by deity', local deities functioned as gods and kings. They practice their royalty through a concrete divinity notion, aided by human mediums. In this article we will indicate the beginning of a conceptual change in the perception of a local deity named Mahasu. Although Mahasu is still perceived as a ruler, his role has become largely symbolic. We maintain that this illustrates how local theistic conceptions adapt to changes in the political and economic-Technologic spheres as well as to the influence of pan-Hindu tradition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-35
Number of pages14
JournalHimalaya
Volume36
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anthropology of religion
  • Hinduism
  • Mahasu devta
  • Modernity
  • Pahadi culture
  • Religion
  • Western himalaya

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