Myth and Reality in a Banaras Ghetto
The Aghorīs are one of the most enigmatic of all Hindu ascetic sects. Throughout North India, they are infamous for their extremely transgressive practices, which fly in the face of Brahmanical Hinduism's obsessive concern with ritual purity. The Aghorīs act out their denial of the distinction between spirit and substance, purity and pollution, by ingesting any form of food or intoxicant, engaging in a variety of sexual practices, ritually or otherwise, and allegedly meditating on dead bodies in cremation ground rites. Although they call themselves Śaivites, Aghorīs are nonetheless inextricably bound to the Goddess. This chapter focuses on a mysterious, spiritually masterful, and yet vulnerable Kālī in the form of a living incarnation. Kālī Māyī is an old woman, living in poverty, who acts as the priest in a small Kālī Māyī temple in Banaras. Although she is the catalyst for several transformative events in the author's life, Kālī Māyī is the victim of a local goonda, and it is the author herself, in an enraged and sympathetic response, who embodies the Goddess's compassionate revenge.
California Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.