A major publication with a chapter on branding including a DVD is also:

Visnu's Children


Hüsken, Ute
Viṣṇu's Children : Prenatal life-cycle rituals in South India / Ute Hüsken. Transl. from German by Will Sweetman, with a DVD by Ute Hüsken and Manfred Krüger. - Wiesbaden : Harrassowitz, 2009. - 322 S. : Ill. S. - (Ethno-Indology ; 9)
ISBN 978-3-447-05853-7
EUR 52,00
-- Angekündigt für August 2009 --

The Vaikhanasas, a group of Brahmanic priests in the Visnu temples of south India, can look back on a long and turbulent history, that is characterized by the effort of claiming their status against rivaling priests.Central to this monograph is a controversy, ongoing for centuries, as to what makes a person eligible to perform the rituals in Visnu temples: does birth or an initiation create the ideal intermediary between the god and humans? Since the 14th century CE the discussion in the relevant Sanskrit texs centers around the question of whether the Vaikhanasas priests must undergo an initiation including a branding on the upper arms, or whether their particular prenatal life-cycle ritual visnubali makes them eligible to perform temple ritual. As hereditary temple priests the Vaikhanasas’ own stance is explicit: they are Visnu’s own children, preordained for temple service already before birth. In addition to the textual perspective, three instances of local conflicts from the 19th/20th centuries about the question of whether the Vaikhanasas require an initiation are analysed in their contexts. Furthermore, three examples of present day performances of the crucial ritual visnubali are presented and interpreted in the light of the relation between text and performance and from the perspective of the acting priests’ ritual competence. The book also contains a DVD with some of the video-coverage of the three visnubali performances.

Preface. 7
Introduction. 13
1. The Daśavidhahetunirūpaṇa. 23
2. Rituals in the Daśavidhahetunirūpaṇa. 53
3. Branding for Vaikhānasas in the 19th and 20th centuries. 143
4. Saṃskāra performance in the early 21st century. 161
5. Variation in life-cycle rituals and the stability of tradition. 257
Sanskrit texts. 273
Secondary literature. 279
Appendix 1: Tabular view of six Guruparamparās. 295
Appendix 2: Text of the DVD booklet. 301
Appendix 3: Text of the "Introduction" to the DVD. 309
Abbreviations. 313
Index. 315

UTE HÜSKEN, Professor of Sanskrit, University of Oslo. 

Prof. Dr. Axel Michaels

Director Excellence Cluster "Asia and Europe in a Global Context", Sprecher des SFB 619 ("Ritualdynamik")

Universität Heidelberg, Südasien-Institut, Im Neuenheimer Feld 330, D-69120 Heidelberg
Tel. +49-6221-548917 / Fax +49-6221-546338 
http://www.asia-europe.uni-heidelberg.de/ -- www.ritualdynamik.uni-hd.de -- http://www.sai.uni-heidelberg.de/abt/IND/index.html
Emails: sek-michaels@uni-heidelberg.de (SAI office) -- Axel.Michaels@urz.uni-heidelberg.de (official and personal) -- michaels@asia-europe.uni-heidelberg.de (Cluster mail)

Am 06.06.2012 um 05:54 schrieb <christoph.emmrich@UTORONTO.CA>:

Dear Adam,

Here are two studies by Srilata Raman on a South Indian practice that  
includes branding:

Raman, Srilata. 2005. Sam??raya?a [Samaashrayana] as Ritual and Non-Ritual in
?r?vai??avism (Shrivaishnavism). In Jörg Genganagel, Ute Hüsken and  
Srilata Raman (Eds.), Words and Deeds. Hindu and Buddhist Rituals in  
South Asia. Vienna: Harrasowitz. 91-114.

Raman, Srilata. 2007. Initiation and Conversion in Medieval South  
India. Pañcasa?sk?ra [Panchasamskaara] as Historical Practice in the  
?r?vai??ava [Shrivaishnava] Hagiographical Literature. In Gerhard  
Oberhammer and Marion Rastelli (Eds.), The Relationship between  
Vi?i???dvaita [Vishishtaadvaita] and P?ñcar?tra [Pancharaatra].  
Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. 263-286.



Christoph Emmrich
University of Toronto

Quoting Adam Bowles <a.bowles1@UQ.EDU.AU>:

Dear colleagues,

A third party has asked me for information on the practice of   
branding as part of traditional medical practice in South Asia or in  
the Fijian Hindu community, especially in respect to children. Can   
anyone point me in the direction of useful material?

Many thanks

Dr Adam Bowles
Lecturer in Asian Religions
School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics
Faculty of Arts
The University of Queensland
Tel: +61 7 33656324
Email: a.bowles1@uq.edu.au<mailto:a.bowles1@uq.edu.au>
Web: http://www.uq.edu.au/hprc/dr-adam-bowles

Associate Editor, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies

CRICOS Provider Number: 00025B

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