By Maya Warrier
This ebook explores devotional Hinduism in a contemporary context of excessive consumerism and revolutionised communications. It specializes in a fast-growing and high-profile modern Hindu guru religion originating in India and attracting a transnational following. The company is led by way of a greatly well known girl guru, Mata Amritanandamayi, whom devotees worship as an avatar and a healer of the ills of the modern global. by way of drawing upon multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork one of the mata's essentially city, informed 'middle category' Indian devotees, the writer offers an important insights into new traits in renowned Hinduism in a post-colonial and speedily modernising Indian atmosphere.
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Additional resources for Hindu Selves in a Modern World: Guru Faith in the Mata Amritanandamayi Mission (South Asian Religion Series)
Unlike these mystics, she claims to be completely in control of herself during her bhavas. Rather than spontaneous states of chaos, her bhavas are ritualized states when the Mata systematically and deliberately dons the garb of a goddess, in order to reveal her divinity to her followers. 38 ENCOUNTERING THE MATA The Mata’s biography explains the import of the bhava darshan as follows: Bhava Darshan is the manifestation of different Isvara Bhavas or Divine Moods by an Incarnation of God according to the wishes of the devotees .
This brahmachari arranged for me to get in touch with local devotees, who in turn introduced me to fellow-devotees known to them, and so the network of contacts grew. After the first few months of fieldwork in Delhi, I moved on to Kerala where I spent several weeks in the Mata’s ashram headquarters in Amritapuri. There I met more of the Mata’s ascetic disciples and lay devotees, those resident in the ashram, as well as others (Indians and foreigners) visiting from different cities across India and abroad.
The melodious and highly charged bhajan session that preceded the embrace, the effect of many voices singing in unison, and the unexpected changes in tempo, had all served to excite the emotions and create a mood of anticipation and awe. Now, as I stood in the queue and saw devotees ahead of me break down and cry in the Mata’s arms, I caught myself wondering whether the same would happen with me. Was there something about the Mata that triggered off these volatile reactions when one was in her embrace?