The essays in the volume
Consecration Rituals in South Asia address the ritual procedures that accompany the installation of temple images in Shaiva, Vaishnava, Buddhist and Jain contexts, in various traditions and historical periods. Through the performance of complex rites designated with the term
pranapratishtha (establishment of, or infusion with, life), man-made sculptures are ritually transformed into (receptacles of) deities. The collection is thematically and methodically broad, with a large number of detailed textual studies, but also with ethnographic contributions that discuss contemporary instances of consecration rituals. Among the overarching themes are issues related to historical continuity and change, as well as transformational moments in such rituals.
Contributors are: Marie-Luce Barazer-Billoret, Marzenna Czerniak-Drożdżowicz, Ronald M. Davidson, Shingo Einoo, Marko Geslani, Dominic Goodall, Ellen Gough, István Keul, Elisabeth Raddock, S.A.S Sarma, Anna A. Ślączka, Annette Wilke.
This is the first study to systematically confront the question how Brahmanism, which was geographically limited and under threat during the final centuries BCE, transformed itself and spread all over South and Southeast Asia. Brahmanism spread over this vast area without the support of an empire, without the help of conquering armies, and without the intermediary of religious missionaries. This phenomenon has no parallel in world history, yet shaped a major portion of the surface of the earth for a number of centuries. This book focuses on the formative period of this phenomenon, roughly between Alexander and the Guptas.