Roots of Wisdom, Branches of Devotion - Plant Life in South Asian Traditions - Fabrizio Ferrari

Roots of Wisdom, Branches of Devotion - Plant Life in South Asian Traditions - Fabrizio Ferrari

6. Wood, Water, and Waste: Material Aspects of Mortuary Practices in South Asia

Roots of Wisdom, Branches of Devotion - Plant Life in South Asian Traditions - Fabrizio Ferrari

Albertina Nugteren [+-]
Tilburg University
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Albertina Nugteren is an Indologist (classical and modern), and is Associate Professor in Religion and Ritual, Department of Culture Studies at Tilburg University, the Netherlands.

Description

Albertina Nugteren’s chapter, which brings the second section to conclusion, maintains a focus on ecology but privileges an analysis of tradition and ritual praxis, namely the burning of bodies as part of the final sacrifice (antyeṣṭi). By relating prescriptive Sanskrit texts to fieldwork conducted in Nepal, the author explores the centrality of fire in Hindu funerary rites, the ongoing insistence on open pyres, and the religious symbolism investing in trees. The staggering quantity of dry wood required for such practices – preferably even enriched with rare woods such as sandalwood – is being challenged by today’s environmental realities, yet emerging alternatives such as electric crematoria are largely seen as clashing with a consolidated tradition.

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Citation

Nugteren, Albertina. 6. Wood, Water, and Waste: Material Aspects of Mortuary Practices in South Asia. Roots of Wisdom, Branches of Devotion - Plant Life in South Asian Traditions. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 118-141 Jun 2016. ISBN 9781781791202. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=30833. Date accessed: 09 Aug 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.30833. Jun 2016

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