[INDOLOGY] New Publication: The Festival of Indra

michael baltutis indresvara at yahoo.com
Tue May 16 21:38:37 UTC 2023

Greetings All,

I am pleased to announce the publication of mymonograph: 

The Festival of Indra: Innovation, Archaism, and Revival ina South Asian Performance. SUNY Series in Hindu Studies. Albany: SUNYPress

The Festival of Indra details the textual and performative history of animportant South Asian festival and its role in the development of classicalHinduism. Drawing on various genres of Sanskrit textual sources—especially theepic Mahābhārata—the book highlightsthe innovative ways that this annual public festival has supported the stableroyal power responsible for the sponsorship of these texts. More than just atextual project, however, the book devotes significant ethnographic attentionto the only contemporary performance of this festival that adheres to theclassical Sanskrit record: the Indrajatra of Kathmandu, Nepal. Here, Indra'stall pole remains the festival's focal point, though its addition of the royalblessing by Kumari, the "living goddess" of Nepal, and the regularpresence of the fierce god Bhairav show several significant ways that ritualagents have re-constructed this festival over the past two thousand years.

“Thisvaluable and ambitious work covers an important and understudied ritual formthat has a long South Asian history, the Indra Festival. This festival isparticularly interesting historically, since it falls between the Vedicsacrificial models of ritual in the earliest period and the image‐puja modelsof later temple Hinduism. Baltutis approaches the topic as an Indologist,historian, and ethnographer, and the resulting book represents a significantcontribution to South Asian religious studies.” — Richard H. Davis, author of The Bhagavad Gita: A Biography 

Ordering information can be found here: The Festival ofIndra. 


Professor, South Asian Religions
Chair, Department of Anthropology, Global Religions, and Cultures
Chair, Global Council
University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh
Book Review Editor, International Journal of Hindu Studies

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