Goddess-Trees in the Forest of Bliss with David Gordon White, presented by Sapienza Università Di Roma, May 25, 2023, online
Università Di Roma
Dottorato in Civiltà
Dell’asia E Dell’africa Curriculum Siac
David Gordon White
Distinguished Emeritus Professor
University of California Santa Barbara
In the Forest
And Greater India
(200 Bce – 2000 Ce)
25 Maggio 2023
Laboratorio Didattico 2
Edificio Marco Polo
Scalo S. Lorenzo 82
Link Per Seguire Da Remoto: https://meet.google.com/spb-wjpm-gec ”
Presumably about “Goddess Trees in the Forest of Bliss: Local Place and Translocal Space in a City of Pilgrims” by David Gordon White.
“The temples and bathing places of Varanasi, the holy city of the Hindus, have been documented textually and cartographically for over 1000 years. Created mainly for the use of pilgrims, these sources—textual “glorifications” (māhātmyams) and “picture maps” highlighting the temples and shrines of the great gods of official Hindu polytheism—have represented Varanasi as a city transcending the bounds of time and space. Entirely ignored in these documents are references to the local deities that Varanasi residents, not all of them Hindu, venerate in their daily lives. Many of these are neem trees (Azadirachta indica), identified as goddesses, which have defined the city’s urban fabric since the time when Varanasi was known as the “Forest of Bliss.” Ancient Indian sources, mainly Buddhist, demonstrate that tree worship, current in Varanasi some 2000 years ago, was also foundational to the iconography of Kṛṣṇa and Śiva, two of the high gods of official Hindu theism. This chapter explores the relationship between the local and translocal (i.e., universal, all-Indian lifeworlds of South Asian religion), arguing that the Varanasi of local vernacular practice precedes and undergirds the Varanasi of translocal official Hinduism.”
Which is a chapter that appears in Living Folk Religions [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, DOI, Local Library] eds Sravana Borkataky-Varma, Aaron Michael Ullrey.
“Living Folk Religions presents cutting-edge contributions from a range of disciplines to examine religious folkways across cultures. This collection embraces the non-elite and non-sanctioned, the oral, fluid, accessible, evolving religions of people (volk) on the ground. Split into five sections, this book covers:
What Is Folk Religion?
Spirit Beings and Deities
Performance and Ritual Praxis
Possession and Exorcism
Health, Healing, and Lifestyle
Topics include demons and ambivalent gods, tree and nature spirits, revolutionary renunciates, oral lore, possession and exorcism, divination, midwestern American spiritualism, festivals, queer sexuality among ritual specialists, the dead returned, vernacular religions, diaspora adaptations, esoteric influences underlying public cultures, unidentified flying objects (UFOs), music and sound experiences, death rituals, and body and wellness cultures.
Living Folk Religions is a must-read for those studying Comparative Religions, World Religions, and Religious Studies, and it will also interest specialists and general readers, particularly enthusiastic readers of Anthropology, Folklore and Folk Studies, Global Studies, and Sociology.”