Indian Asceticism: Power, Violence, and Play by Carl OlsonIndian Asceticism: Power, Violence, and Play by Carl Olson

Indian Asceticism: Power, Violence, and Play

byCarl Olson

Paperback | March 17, 2015

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Throughout the history of Indian religions, the ascetic figure is most closely identified with power. A by-product of the ascetic path, power is displayed in the ability to fly, walk on water or through dense objects, read minds, discern the former lives of others, see into the future, harmothers, or simply levitate one's body. These tales give rise to questions about how power and violence are related to the phenomenon of play.Indian Asceticism focuses on the powers exhibited by ascetics of India from ancient to modern time. Carl Olson discusses the erotic, the demonic, the comic, and the miraculous forms of play and their connections to power and violence. He focuses on Hinduism, but evidence is also presented fromBuddhism and Jainism, suggesting that the subject matter of this book pervades India's major indigenous religious traditions.The book includes a look at the extent to which findings in cognitive science can add to our understanding of these various powers; Olson argues that violence is built into the practice of the ascetic. Indian Asceticism culminates with an attempt to rethink the nature of power in a way that doesjustice to the literary evidence from Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain sources.
Carl Olson is a professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Allegheny College. Besides numerous essays in journals, books, and encyclopedias, he has published seventeen books on subjects such as Hinduism, Buddhism, comparative philosophy, and method and theory in the study of religion. His most recent books inclu...
Title:Indian Asceticism: Power, Violence, and PlayFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9.21 × 6.1 × 0.91 inPublished:March 17, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190225327

ISBN - 13:9780190225322

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Table of Contents

PrefaceList of Book Abbreviations1. Introduction2. The Banyan Tree of Indian Asceticism3. Types of Power4. Violence, the Demonic, and Power5. Language and Power6. Ludic Elements: Eroticism, Comic, and Power7. Play, Miracles, and Power8. Power and TheoryBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"In this interesting book Professor Olson discusses how asceticism is at the heart of Indian religions, offering forms of practice for the attainment of supernatural powers and spiritual liberation. Not only is this a fascinating account of asceticism in Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism, itrelates these practices to contemporary debate in the human sciences such as about the role of cognition in cultural practice. This clearly written book will be invaluable to students of Indian religions and asceticism." --Gavin Flood, Professor of Hindu Studies and Comparative Religion, Oxford University