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Bennett, Peter John (1983) Temple organisation and worship among the Pustimargiya-Vaisnavas of Ujjain. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The bhakti sect of Vallabhacarya, founded by the preceptor-saint of that name in the last decade of the fifteenth century AD, otherwise known as Pustimarga or the Path of Grace, continues to attract an enthusiastic following in northern and western India, To the outsider, Pustimarga is manifestly 'this-worldly' in its orientation. For one thing, there are no ascetics; the gurus are hereditary descendants of Vallabhacarya by virtue of which they are highly revered by their disciples. For another, the bhakti ideals of detachment, disinterestedness and dedication receive palpable expression in the lavish and energetic worship of temple deities which are regarded as actual manifestations of the infant Krishna. This thesis, based largely on fieldwork conducted among devotees in Ujjain city, central India, gives a detailed account of routine temple life and worship. At the same time it explores the nature of the correspondence between the spiritual and phenomenal worlds epitomised in the temple as the celestial abode of Krishna and in its paraphernalia as embodiments of the exuberant emotions experienced by participants in the divine lila. Of pairticular significance in this respect is the special emphasis which devotees place on sacred food and feasting. The temple is geared to a redistributive economy in which the circulation of ritual commodities, including sacred food, becomes an elaborate expression for the sharing of divine sentiments. But as many devotees point out, this altruistic system of worship is always open to abuse from those persons who would exploit it for selfish ends.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 14:59

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