Look Inside

Sacred Complex of Budhi Santani: Anthropological Approach to Study Hindu Civilization

FREE Delivery
Delivery Usually ships in 3 days
Item Code: BAD695
Author: Prasnata Kumar Acharya
Language: English
ISBN: Prasnata K. Acharya
Pages: 256
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 470 gm
Book Description
About The Book

Several scholars in India and abroad have used the sacred complex model of Prof. L.P. Vidyarthi to study the nature and process of compromise and cooperation among various faiths, sects and traditions of Hindu civilization as reflected in different Hindu places of pilgrimage. This book has revealed the way the sacred complex model can be applicable to a single dominant shrine, as a nexus of ritual activities, economic cooperation and social ties, in understanding the characteristics of Hindu civilization. The author has used sacred complex as a conflux of seven elements comprising sacred geography, sacred performances, sacred specialists, sacred sacrificers, sacred sacrifices, sacred symbols and sacred beliefs, and has specifically attempted to explore the linkage of local pattern of Hindu social organization with the organization of sacred performances. The facts delineated in the book will be helpful to the researchers and educationists working on Hindu civilization.

About the Author

P.K. Acharya got his M.Sc. degree in 1979 and Ph.D. in 1994. He started his career as Lecturer in Anthropology in 1981 and rendered his service in different colleges of the State Government of Orissa till July 1998. Thereafter, he joined Nabakrushna Choudhury Centre for Development Studies (ICSSR Centre), Bhubaneswar, Orissa, as Reader in Social Anthropology.

He has a number of research contributions. He has submitted reports on 13 caste communities of Orissa to the prestigious "People of India" project conducted by the Anthropological Survey of India. Apart from publishing several research papers in journals and books, he has produced reports on projects, namely, Comparative Study on Girls' Literacy in Orissa and Tamil Nadu, funded by the Planning Commission of India; Functioning of Welfare Schemes for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Orissa, funded by the Committee of Governors of India and many other research projects funded by state, national and international level agencies.


For a pretty long time anthropologists concentrated only on the study of primitive societies. Anthropological researches on civilization came into force in 1950s with initiatives taken by Robert Redfield. Inspired by Redfieldian approach to civilizational study, L.P. Vidyarthi developed the sacred complex model, which helped in analysis of the characteristic features of Hindu civilization as reflected in places of pilgrimage. Vidyarthi's trichotomic concept of sacred complex attracted several Indian scholars to carry forward similar studies at different places of pilgrimage. The present book reveals novelty in application of the sacred complex model. Apart from sacred geography, sacred performances and sacred specialists-the three components of sacred complex defined by Vidyarthi-the author has thrown light on other integrated components of sacred complex such as sacred sacrificers, sacred symbols and sacred beliefs. Thus a broader structural dimension of sacred complex has been discussed. The book has presented a portray of combination and compromise of great and little traditions, functional integration of different sects and castes and structural synthesis of the presiding deity, goddess Budhi Santani, whose body-parts are worshipped at distantly located places. In addition, the book has highlighted that the nature of organization of sacred performances reflects the local pattern of Hindu social organization. This book will be useful to the research- scholars, academicians and general readers who are interested to know about the integrational as well as dynamic aspects of Hindu civilization. In spite of best efforts, errors and omissions might have been committed and the author will be grateful if these are pointed out and suggested for improvement of this book.


Anthropological studies in India took a turn, both conceptually and methodologically, with the beginning of the second half of the twentieth century. A group of Chicago-bred anthropologists initiated a series of.. empirical works to study the diversities and unitary characters withig the Indian civilization. The scope of Indian social anthropology, limitedi as it was to the isolated folk societies, extended gradually to the study oi peasant societies and also to their interaction with larger societies or civilization of which they were parts. The nature of Indian civilization was analysed, both from theoretical and methodological points of view, giving rise to the emergence of a number of concepts like rural cosmopolitanism (Lewis, 1955), processes of universalization and parochialization (Marriott, 1955a), great and little traditions, cultural, specialists, style of life (Redfield, 1955a, 1956), cultural performances and cultural media (Singer, 1955; Redfield and Singer, 1956).

Under the influence of and stimulation received from the American scholars, some Indian social anthropologists, in replacement of the traditional fact finding mission' (Jha, 1983), carried out analytical studies of different communities having motivation towards formulation of terms, concepts, theories and methods so as to Indianize the critical understanding of Indian civilization. Vidyarthi along with Sinha professed that 'Indianizing the social anthropological approach will help in better understanding of the cultural process and civilizational history of India as reflected in the teachings and ideals of numerous social thinkers and in ancient scriptures and, therefore, coined the term 'sacred complex' as a model for studying Hindu places of pilgrimage. Although it was a proposition in the light of the conceptual and theoretical frameworks of Redfield (1955, 56, 57) and Singer (1955, 58), sacred complex was a terminological modification in adaptation to the field situation at Gaya in 1961. Under the generic term of sacred complex, a number of analytical concepts such as sacred centre, sacred cluster, sacred performances, sacred specialists, etc. were incorporated, which are now in vogue in the study of Indian civilization.

In addition to a typological development for a description of the pattern of a sacred complex, the study is based on trichotomic inter- related phenomena such as sacred centre, sacred performance and sacred specialist. Viewed on such a paradigm, this novel field of investigation provided a scope for academic as well as applied manifestation. While on academic ground, it helped in the formulation and development of several concepts, methodology and hypotheses in order to focus fresh light on the nature and process of compromise and co-operation among various faiths, sects and traditions of Hindu civilization as reflected at a Hindu place of pilgrimage, on the applied ground, it explores the traditional channels of civilizational integration among people of diverse cultural heritage, which may be made use of in understanding and tackling the problems related to Hindu civilization.

Fascinated by the new methodological dimension, a band of young Indian anthropologists made further experimental studies on Vidyarthi's findings at different sacred centres in detail (Jha, 1971; Narayan, 1972: Vidyarthi, Saraswati and Jha, 1978) alongwith many article-oriented publications. Characteristically, minor studies were limited to focus either on the geographical as well as organizational set-up of sacred centres (Saraswati, 19626, 1967: Upadhyaya, 1974; Mohapatra, 1974: Jha, 1980) or on pilgrims and structure of Hindu pilgrimage (Saraswati, 1962a; Chakravarti, 1974; Jha, 1978) whereas exhaustive studies were carried on sacred complex as a whole.

Saraswati in an article "Holy Circuit of Nimasar" (1962a, 1965) reflects the nature of relationship among the pilgrims, the ritual specialists and the peasant villages located on a Parikrama route. In his work on Temple Organisation in Goa (1962b) while he describes about the organisational role of the sacred institution as a whole, in another article "Cultivation of Excellence in Religious Organisation" (1967), which was an analysis based on census figures, he speaks of the vitality of a more complex organisation that is the organisation of the ascetics of Kashi. Based on an anthropological method of fieldwork, Chakrabarti (1974) has made an humble attempt in his article, "Some Observations on the Pilgrims and their Pilgrimage: A Case Study of Tarakeswar" to present the societal composition of a particular section of pilgrims-the Jal-Jatris belonging to the Tarakeswar Sacred Complex, along with their mode of behaviour and purpose of pilgrimage.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Q. What locations do you deliver to ?
    A. Exotic India delivers orders to all countries having diplomatic relations with India.
  • Q. Do you offer free shipping ?
    A. Exotic India offers free shipping on all orders of value of $30 USD or more.
  • Q. Can I return the book?
    A. All returns must be postmarked within seven (7) days of the delivery date. All returned items must be in new and unused condition, with all original tags and labels attached. To know more please view our return policy
  • Q. Do you offer express shipping ?
    A. Yes, we do have a chargeable express shipping facility available. You can select express shipping while checking out on the website.
  • Q. I accidentally entered wrong delivery address, can I change the address ?
    A. Delivery addresses can only be changed only incase the order has not been shipped yet. Incase of an address change, you can reach us at help@exoticindia.com
  • Q. How do I track my order ?
    A. You can track your orders simply entering your order number through here or through your past orders if you are signed in on the website.
  • Q. How can I cancel an order ?
    A. An order can only be cancelled if it has not been shipped. To cancel an order, kindly reach out to us through help@exoticindia.com.
Add a review
Have A Question

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Book Categories