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The Domain of Constant Excess

Plural Worship at the Munnesvaram Temples in Sri Lanka

Rohan Bastin

254 pages, 10 photographs, 12 figures, 1 table, index

ISBN  978-1-57181-252-0 $99.00/£60.00 Hb Published (December 2002)


Hb
 

"…a successfully ambitious effort, richly informative and insightful in its coverage of the site's religious life and most sophisticated in its use and advancing of theoretical perspectives…Profound insights…abound in this complex and rewarding piece of scholarship..a must read for scholars of south Asian religions." -The Australian Journal of Anthropology

The Sri Lankan ethnic conflict that has occurred largely between Sinhala Buddhists and Tamil Hindus is marked by a degree of religious tolerance that sees both communities worshiping together. This study describes one important site of such worship, the ancient Hindu temple complex of Munnesvaram. Standing adjacent to one of Sri Lanka's historical western ports, the fortunes of the Munnesvaram temples have waxed and waned through the years of turbulence, violence and social change that have been the country's lot since the advent of European colonialism in the Indian Ocean. Bastin recounts the story of these temples and analyses how the Hindu temple is reproduced as a center of worship amidst conflict and competition.

Rohan Bastin is Head of the School of Anthropology, Archaeology & Sociology at James Cook University.


LC: BL1243.78.S72 D66 2002

BL: YC.2003.a.18900

BISAC: SOC002000 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Anthropology/General; REL000000 RELIGION/General

BIC: JHM Anthropology; HRAM Religious issues & debates



Contents

Acknowledgements

Chapter 1. Worship, Difference and Marvellous Potentiality
Chapter 2. Fluidity and Ambiguity in the History of Munnesvaram
Chapter 3. Myths and Marginality; Ritual Practices and Religious Identity
Chapter 4. The Saivite Temple as a Monumental Architecture
Chapter 5. 'The Look and the Thing Seen': Puja and Arccanai
Chapter 6. The Presence of Sakti; Guardians, Games and the Formation of Power
Chapter 7. The World Inside Out
Chapter 8. The Domain of Excess
Chapter 9. Divine Kings and Regal Gods: Temples in Society and History

Bibliography
Index

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