Hindu Monastic Life : The Monks and Monasteries of Bhubaneswar

D.M. Miller, Manohar, 1996, 2nd revised edition, 240 p, illus, ISBN : 8173041563, $40.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Contents: Introduction/backgrounds in tradition and history: 1. Hindu asceticism and monasticism. 2. The setting: Bhubaneswar, Orissa. 3. A tentative history of monasticism at Bhubaneswar. I. The ascetics: 1. Religious leaders: the ascetic as guru and preacher: The guru; the preacher; summary. 2. Common lifestyles: non-intellectual devotion and solitary withdrawal : The bhaktas, father and son; the troubadour; the solitary ascetic; summary. 3. Three atypical life histories : The fun-lover and the mendicant; the babaji ("Doctor refugee"). 4. The development of the monastic career : Psycho-social factors motivating entrance, according to age; initiation; ranks of ascetics; religious experiences. 5. The laity's perception of ascetics and contemporary Hinduism : The laymen's opinions; patrons and clients; the du bois value guide. II. The monasteries: 6. The range of religious structures : Fission and intercommunication; chosen deities; monastic orders and non-sectarianism. 7. The varieties of social structure : Financial structure; organizational structure; succession to headship. 8. The range of religious rituals : Public external festivals; internal monastic celebrations held annually; a special-purpose ritual; private internal observances; daily worship. 9. Social functions: their range and trends : Monasteries as feudal landlords; the monastery as guest-house; dispensaries; educational institutions; religious parks and roadside shrines; centres of sacredness.

"Originally published in 1976, this reprint of Hindu Monastic Life is based upon the field research conducted by Professor David M. Miller in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India, in 1963-64. That field study was later revised and enlarged with the participation of Professor Dorothy C. Wertz, who brought her training in the sociology of religion to bear upon Professor Miller's field notes. The lasting value of this jointly authored work is that it is a detailed descriptive and analytical study of Hindu monastic life as it was lived, and as it is being lived, in a traditional Hindu temple-pilgrimage town.

Part one begins with life history sketches of eight typical monastics that provides a unique insight into those who enter monastic life. This section concludes with the laity's perception of monastics, drawing upon material from the late Professor Cora Dubois value guide of selected representatives of lay Hindus living in Bhubaneswar.

Part two focuses upon monasticism as a central Hindu religious institution not only throughout time, but in contemporary India today. Representative descriptions are given of the socio-religious structures and functions of the twenty-two monastic establishments in Bhubaneswar in 1963-64. The authors conclude with observations about the role that Hindu monasticism will play in contemporary India. Professors Miller and Wertz have written a work that will appeal equally to Hindu studies scholars as well as those interested in comparative studies of monastic individuals and institutions. The second edition is enhanced by an enlarged and complete bibliography of Hindu monasticism." (jacket)

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