The Experience of Hinduism

Essays on Religion in Maharashtra

Edited by Eleanor Zelliot & Maxine Berntsen

Subjects: Hindu Studies
Paperback : 9780887066641, 414 pages, February 1988
Hardcover : 9780887066627, 414 pages, February 1988

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This book presents multi-faceted images of religious experience in the Marathi-speaking region of India. In addition to Irawati Karve's classic, "On the Road," about her pilgrimage to Pandharpur, there are three essays by Karve that appear in English for the first time. Here is possession by gods and ghosts, an actual sermon by an inspired saint in the traditional bhajan style, and an autobiographical account of the religious nationalism of the militant R. S.S. These are engaging, true-to-life accounts of the lives of individual Hindus.

Essays and imaginative literature, a poem, and a short story interplay the ideas, concepts, personalities, practices, rituals, and deities of Hinduism in a surprisingly coherent manner.

Eleanor Zelliot is Professor of History at Carleton College. She has published extensively in the area of social and cultural history of Western India. Maxine Berntsen received her Ph. D. in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been living in India since 1966, and in 1978 became an Indian citizen. She resides in Phaltan, Maharashtra, where she has established two schools. She is also the co-author of a six-volume book on the Marathi language.


"These essays and stories have what novelists would call a 'fine sense of place. ' The book is a series of vivid and convincing portraits. I know Maharashtra well, and reading the book made me homesick. " — James W. Laine, Macalester College