The Self Possessed is a multifaceted, diachronic examine reconsidering the very nature of faith in South Asia, the end result of years of in depth learn. Frederick M. Smith proposes that confident oracular or ecstatic ownership is the most typical kind of religious expression in India, and that it's been linguistically unusual from unfavorable, disease-producing ownership for millions of years.
In South Asia ownership has constantly been broader and extra assorted than within the West, the place it's been nearly fullyyt characterised as "demonic." At most sensible, spirit ownership has been considered as a medically treatable mental illness and at worst, as a situation that calls for exorcism or punishment. In South (and East) Asia, ecstatic or oracular ownership has been greatly practiced all through heritage, occupying a place of appreciate in early and up to date Hinduism and in convinced sorts of Buddhism.
Smith analyzes Indic literature from all ages-the earliest Vedic texts; the Mahabharata; Buddhist, Jain, Yogic, Ayurvedic, and Tantric texts; Hindu devotional literature; Sanskrit drama and narrative literature; and greater than 100 ethnographies. He identifies a number of types of ownership, together with competition, initiatory, oracular, and devotional, and demonstrates their multivocality inside a variety of sects and non secular identities.
Possession is usual between either women and men and is practiced by way of participants of all social and caste strata. Smith theorizes on notions of embodiment, disembodiment, selfhood, own identification, and different key concerns during the prism of ownership, redefining the connection among Sanskritic and vernacular tradition and among elite and well known faith. Smith's research is additionally comparative, introducing massive fabric from Tibet, classical China, glossy the USA, and elsewhere.
Brilliant and persuasive, The Self Possessed offers cautious new translations of infrequent fabric and is the main complete examine in any language in this subject.