The Domain of Constant Excess: Plural Worship at the Munnesvaram Temples in Sri Lanka

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Berghahn Books, Dec 1, 2002 - Social Science - 254 pages

The Sri Lankan ethnic conflict that has occurred largely between Sinhala Buddhists and Tamil Hindus is marked by a degree of religious tolerance that sees both communities worshiping together. This study describes one important site of such worship, the ancient Hindu temple complex of Munnesvaram. Standing adjacent to one of Sri Lanka's historical western ports, the fortunes of the Munnesvaram temples have waxed and waned through the years of turbulence, violence and social change that have been the country's lot since the advent of European colonialism in the Indian Ocean. Bastin recounts the story of these temples and analyses how the Hindu temple is reproduced as a center of worship amidst conflict and competition.

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Contents

Chapter 1 Worship Difference and Marvellous Potentiality
1
Chapter 2 Fluidity and Ambiguity in the History of Munnesvaram
15
Chapter 3 Myths and Marginality
43
Chapter 4 Ritual Practices and Religious Identity
59
Chapter 5 The Saivite Temple as a Monumental Architecture
89
Puja and Arccanai
117
Chapter 7 The Presence of Sakti
133
Chapter 8 Guardians Games and the Formation of Power
145
Chapter 9 The World Inside Out
163
Chapter 10 The Domain of Excess
183
Divine Kings and Regal Gods Temples in Society and History
195
References
213
Index
227
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About the author (2002)

Rohan Bastin is Head of the School of Anthropology, Archaeology & Sociology at James Cook University.

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