ma thesis / tantric texts on a ghoras ādhanā

Astrid Zotter astridzotter at YAHOO.DE
Fri Jun 29 16:02:49 UTC 2012

Francois Voegeli, dear members of the list,
Colleagues have
forwarded your request to me and I allow myself to use the list access of my
wife for a reply and a related request of mine.
there is very little material available on Aghorīs in Nepal. I am only aware of
some scattered notions, e.g. Axel Michaels (“Der Hinduismus”, Munich: Beck,
1998) mentions the Aghorī ascetic Pagalānanda who lived at the cremation ground
close to the Paśupatināth temple in Deopatan. For Northern India, though, the
situation is different:while in the
accounts of the colonial administration the Aghorīs are stereotypically depicted
as a public nuisance (cp. Balfour
1897, Barrow 1893, Crooke 1896, 1908), more recent research aimed at drawing a
more differentiated picture. (American) Social Anthropologists worked mainly in
Banaras on the tradition of Bābā Kīnārām Aghorī and its social reforms under Avadhūt
Bhagvān Rām (which – at least from hearsay – had an impact on some Nepalese
Aghorīs too). See e.g.
Jonathan P.
Parry.  “The Aghori Ascetics of Benares”
In: Burghard, R. et al. (ed.): Indian
Religion. London, 51-78, 1985.

Gupta. The Politics of Heterodoxy and the Kinarami Ascetics of Banaras (unpubl.
PhD diss., Syracuse University, 1993)
-“The Kīnā
Rāmī. Aughaṛs and Kings in the Age of Cultural Contact”. In: Lorenzen, David N.
(ed.) Bhakti Religion in Northern India.
Albany, 133-142.
Barrett. Aghor Medicine. Pollution,
Death, and Healing in Northern India. Berkeley, 2008. 
The works mentioned
focus on different aspects of the Aghor tradition in its modern social context
and contain only little information about the history of the movement or its
literature. Both still deserve to be properly studied. Some more details on Kīnārām
(and other Aghorī or Aughaṛ of his or of related traditions) and his literary
work can be gathered from Indian publications, for example, Dharmendra
Brahmacārī Śāstrīs Santmat kā Sarbhaṅg-Sampradāy (Paṭnā, 1953). Last but not least, over the last
decades the Kīnārāmīs themselves have been publishing many pamphlets and books
about their tradition. 
In case you
read German, I could send you my unpublished MA paper “Die Domestizierung der
Aghorīs: Kīnārām und Gītāvalī” (Univ. Leipzig, 2004), which deals with the
historical background of the Aghorīs and the hagiographical accounts on Kīnārām
and contains a tentative translation of the Gītāvalī, one of the collections of
poems said to be composed by Kīnārām.
Since I recently
started working on a paper about aghor ritual (or, more precisely, on “ritual denial” taking the Kīnārāmī as an
example), may I add a question to the list members on my own behalf? To my
knowledge, not much has been done on the tantric texts related to aghorasādhanā, which is only rarely
referred to by the Kīnārāmīs themselves (an exception is Rāmdulār Siṃha et al.
(ed.): Aghora granthāvaliḥ. Collected Works of Aghora Manuscripts.
Varanasi, 1986). As I did not touch the topic
for several years I might not be up to date. So if someone could provide
further information on the tantric tradition on aghora I would be very thankful.
zotter at
Research Fellow
Collaborative Research Centre 619 Ritual Dynamics
Heidelberg University
South Asia Institute
Department of Cultural and Religious History of South Asia (Classical Indology
 Neuenheimer Feld 330
D-69120 Heidelberg

Von: Francois Voegeli <francois.voegeli at GMAIL.COM>

Gesendet: 10:46 Freitag, 29.Juni 2012
Betreff: Re: [INDOLOGY] ma thesis

Dear Patrick, Dear Members of the list,
I would appreciate locating that reference too. During a recent fieldtrip to Nepal, we met in Devghat a very interesting member of this community. The chief of our expedition has been doing some fieldwork with the aghoris for some time, and this meeting will probably be mentioned in our report. 
The personality of this aghori very much impressed me, and I became interested in this community I heard of, but never met closely. Any information on them would then be welcomed.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the people on this list who answered my question posted some time ago on p(a)uNDarIka (Mr/Dr/Prof. Eltschinger, Houben, Gengnagel, Salomon, Goldman). Actually, this question stemmed from a project I am pursuing in Lausanne, and which is starting to give some interesting results on the history of Vedic Ritual. I will post them on a website asap and advise the community. Thanks again.

F. Voegeli


Dear List,
>I would appreciate any help in locating a copy of this MA thesis.
>Hovedside > Samfunnsvitenskapelige fakultet > Sosialantropologisk institutt > Sosialantropologi 
>Forfatter: Strøm, Herman 
>Tittel: Approaching the Aghori 
>Undertittel: spiritual transactions and social capital in a North-Indian religious community 
>Publisert år: 2006 
>Dokumenttype: Masteroppgave 
>Språk: Engelsk 
>Permanent lenke: 
>Here is the link  
>All the best,
>Patrick McCartney  
>PhD Candidate - Anthropology
>School of Culture, History & Language
>College of the Asia-Pacific
>Rm 4.30 Baldessin Precinct Building
>The Australian National University
>Canberra, Australia, 0200
>skype - psdmccartney
>W- +61 2 6125 4323

Dr François Voegeli

Senior FNS Researcher
Institut d'Archéologie et des Sciences de l'Antiquité
Anthropole, bureau 4018
Faculté des Lettres
Université de Lausanne
CH-1015 Lausanne 

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