By Frederick Smith
The Self Possessed is a multifaceted, diachronic examine reconsidering the very nature of faith in South Asia, the fruits of years of in depth study. Frederick M. Smith proposes that optimistic oracular or ecstatic ownership is the commonest type of non secular expression in India, and that it's been linguistically individual from detrimental, disease-producing ownership for hundreds of thousands of years.
In South Asia ownership has consistently been broader and extra different than within the West, the place it's been nearly solely characterised as "demonic." At most sensible, spirit ownership has been considered as a medically treatable mental affliction and at worst, as a situation that calls for exorcism or punishment. In South (and East) Asia, ecstatic or oracular ownership has been broadly practiced all through background, occupying a place of recognize in early and up to date Hinduism and in sure varieties of Buddhism.
Smith analyzes Indic literature from all ages-the earliest Vedic texts; the Mahabharata; Buddhist, Jain, Yogic, Ayurvedic, and Tantric texts; Hindu devotional literature; Sanskrit drama and narrative literature; and greater than 100 ethnographies. He identifies a number of kinds of ownership, together with competition, initiatory, oracular, and devotional, and demonstrates their multivocality inside quite a lot of sects and spiritual identities.
Possession is usual between either women and men and is practiced via contributors of all social and caste strata. Smith theorizes on notions of embodiment, disembodiment, selfhood, own identification, and different key matters during the prism of ownership, redefining the connection among Sanskritic and vernacular tradition and among elite and well known faith. Smith's learn is usually comparative, introducing enormous fabric from Tibet, classical China, smooth the United States, and elsewhere.
Brilliant and persuasive, The Self Possessed offers cautious new translations of infrequent fabric and is the main entire examine in any language in this topic.