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The Wrestler's BodyIdentity and Ideology in North India$
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Joseph Alter

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780520076976

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520076976.001.0001

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Hanuman: Shakti, Bhakti, and Brahmacharya

Hanuman: Shakti, Bhakti, and Brahmacharya

(p.198) Chapter 8 Hanuman: Shakti, Bhakti, and Brahmacharya
The Wrestler's Body

Joseph S. Alter

University of California Press

Every akhara has at least one shrine dedicated to Lord Hanuman, and his worship is an important part of every wrestler's daily regimen. This chapter shows how Hanuman serves as a model for the construction of the wrestler's identity, which is based on three basic themes: the relationship of shakti (energy) to bal (strength), the concept of brahmacharya, and the nature of devotion as bhakti. Before looking at each of these themes, it is necessary to outline briefly some points regarding the nature of Hanuman's divinity. It is surprising that although Hanuman is one of the most popular deities in North India, there is very little written about him in the academic literature. Even in the commentaries on the Valmiki Ramayana and Tulasi Das's Ramacaritamanasa there is scant attention given to an analysis of Hanuman's epic role.

Keywords:   akhara, Hanuman, wrestler, shakti, bal, brahmacharya, bhakti, Valmiki Ramayana, Tulasi Das, Ramacaritamanasa

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