Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism

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Subject: Asian Studies

Edited by: Knut A. Jacobsen (Editor-in-Chief), University of Bergen, and Helene Basu, University of Münster, Angelika Malinar, University of Zürich, Vasudha Narayanan, University of Florida (Associate Editors)

Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism presents the latest research on all the main aspects of the Hindu traditions. Its essays are original work written by the world’s foremost scholars on Hinduism. The encyclopedia presents a balanced and even-handed view of Hinduism, recognizing the divergent perspectives and methods in the academic study of a religion that is both an ancient historical tradition and a flourishing tradition today. The encyclopedia embraces the greatest possible diversity, plurality, and heterogeneity, thus emphasizing that Hinduism encompasses a variety of regional traditions as well as a global world religion. Presenting all essays and research from the heralded printed edition, Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism is now available in a fully searchable, dynamic digital format. The service will include all content from the six printed volumes..

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Dādū Dayāl

(5,800 words)

Author(s): Monika Horstmann
Dādū Dayāl (1545?-1603) was a religious teacher and poet in the Sant tradition who lived in Rajasthan and gave rise to a sect named the Dādūpanth (“Path of Dādū”). Dādū is the respectful endearing Rajasthani term for “grandfather” rather…

Dalit Critiques of Hinduism

(8,958 words)

Author(s): Roger Begrich & Shalini Randeria
“I had the misfortune…

Dalits/Ex-Untouchables

(6,393 words)

Author(s): Rupa Viswanath
“Dalit” today is the most widely used term in the English language and in scholarly circles for the South Asian subpop…

Dance

(8 words)

Dance: Classical Tradition Dance: Regional Tradition: Kerala

Dance: Classical Tradition

(5,139 words)

Author(s): Ahalya Satkunaratnam
The concept of Hindu dance encompasses many regional practices, religious traditions, and forms of performance, reflecting the expansive term “Hindu.” In tracing the concept of Hindu dance, it becomes apparent that several practices that precede the expression “Hindu” and “Hinduism” have influenced the formation of significant bodily and aesthetic religious traditions and beliefs. There is, today, a plethora of dance forms with connections to Hindu values, philosophies, worldviews, and themes, t…

Dance: Regional Tradition: Kerala

(5,628 words)

Author(s): George Pati
Kerala, the southwestern-most state in peninsular India located between the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, occupies a total area of 62,543 km2 and defines a coastline of 580 km. Its geographical position and abundance of natural plant products add to its natural beauty and serenity, and Malayalis popularly refer to it as “God’s own country.” The deities, pilgrimage, and traditions of Kerala reflect aesthetic beauty and diversity (Pati, 2009). Such diversity can be observed in the performative t…

Daśanāmīs

(6,883 words)

Author(s): Wade Dazey
The Daśanāmī order is a Hindu monastic federation that according to its own tradition was founded and organized by the famous Advaita Vedānta philosopher Śaṅkara. The hagiographic accounts of Śaṅkara’s ascetic life, the texts describing the normative structure of the order attributed to him, and the many influential philosophical texts attributed to Śaṅkara and his disciples, taken together, have endowed this order with considerable prestige and influence. If one accepts the conventional date…

Dattātreya

(2,925 words)

Author(s): Antonio Rigopoulos
Dattātreya is a puranic deity, in o…

Dayananda Saraswati

(5,819 words)

Author(s): Nonica Datta
Dayananda Saraswati (1824­–1883), as he came to be known, was born into a Brahman family of the Audichya caste in the Morbi district, Gujarat. His earlier name was Dayaram Mulshankar. At an early age, this Śaiva reformer left his parental home and began his journey in search of mokṣa . As an itinerant reformer, he wandered in the Kumaon Mountains of the Himalayas and the Vindhya ranges. He walked in Doab regions and traveled to Banaras, Calcutta, Bombay, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh. Dayananda’s last days were spent in Rajasthan, where he emerged…

Death and Afterlife

(9,893 words)

Author(s): Elisabeth Schömbucher-Kusterer
As a biological phenomenon, death is universal. On a general level, reflections on death show many similarities cross-culturally. Coping with death through ritual practice can be observed in every society; ritual actions such as funerary rites, rituals of mourning, and rites of remembering as well as various concepts of death and afterlife are thought to try to conquer death, regenerate life, achieve immortality, and continue life after death (Bloch & Parry, 1982). Despite these conceptual simil…

Denmark

(3,585 words)

Author(s): Marianne Q. Fibiger
Hindus in diaspora make up the most significant proportion of Hinduism in Denmark. However, Hinduism is also represented among the ethnic Danish community, either as an alternative or a supplement to the Evangelical Lutheran Church (the national church of Denmark), of which more than 80% of Danish citizens are members. Almost two thousand people of primarily Danish ethnic origin are a part of what could be termed Hindu-related groups (e.g. ISKCON, Radhasoamis, and Brahma Kumaris), but many more are related to Hindu-inspired groups (e.g. Transcendental Meditation and other yoga and meditation groups), as either core members or occasional users. Thus, as with Buddhism, there is a spectrum of different "Hinduisms" in Denmark. This article will concentrate on the around 17,000 Hindus of Indian and Sri Lankan origin who now live in Denmark and who immigrated either as refugees from Sri Lanka (approx. 10,000 out of 11,111) or as working immigrants from various parts of India (approx. 7,000 out of 8,778). However, these figures are only approximate, since Statistics Den…

Devadāsīs/Courtesans

(6,931 words)

Author(s): Saskia Kersenboom
Courtesans between Power, Shame, and Fame Devadāsī (slave of god) ranks among the most controversial and powerful incentives of Western fantasies about the East. As “container term,” it came to frame nearly all women working in the Indian public sphere, both sacred and secular; thereby it obliterated large differences in regional, historical, social, and professional hierarchies. Other terms that have been very productive historically are the Sanskrit gaṇikā (precious, courtesan) and the Anglicized nautch (from Skt. naṭ-, “to dance”) . The encounter among Western travelers…