Frank J. Korom – Andre Gingrich (Ed.) – Guntram Hazod (Ed.)


The Presence of Absence: Using Stuff in a South Asian Sufi Movement




ISSN 1998-507X
Online Edition




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The Presence of Absence: Using Stuff in a South Asian Sufi Movement

ISSN 1998-507X
Online Edition




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Frank J. Korom – Andre Gingrich (Ed.) – Guntram Hazod (Ed.)


The Presence of Absence: Using Stuff in a South Asian Sufi Movement




ISSN 1998-507X
Online Edition



Frank J. Korom
PDF Icon  The Presence of Absence: Using Stuff in a South Asian Sufi Movement ()
S.  1 - 21
doi:10.1553/wpsa23s1

Open access
Abstract:
The “presence of absence” here refers to a process by which a fi gure no longer physically in the world of lived reality is made manifest through the ritual use of stuff formerly belonging to or associated with the entity no longer present in the mundane realm, some of which may be termed relics. To develop this concept, I draw upon one contemporary Sufi group called the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship, which has branches in the United States, Canada, and Sri Lanka, the place of origination of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, a Tamil speaking saint who died in 1986, and is buried outside of Philadelphia. The study focuses on members’ use of photographs of Bawa, sound recordings of his sermons, and items such as slippers he wore, chairs in which he sat, beds on which he slept, artwork he painted, and vegetarian recipes he prescribed to visualise and remember him constantly in the present. In so doing, it allows the community not only to “see” him but also to touch, smell, hear, and taste him. The argument assumes a form of “corpothetics,” as Christopher Pinney has termed it, in which the entire sensorial range of the body is engaged in the process of practicing lived religion. This moves us beyond the now tired concept of auspicious sight (darsan) in South Asian religions to penetrate even deeper into how the entire range of the body’s capacities are employed and engaged in the mystical process of making present that which is currently absent.

Published Online:  2012/03/14 12:03:05
Document Version:  1.0, 2012/03/30 07:20:33
Object Identifier:  0xc1aa500d 0x002aad7a




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epub.oeaw – Institutionelles Repositorium der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
epub.oeaw – Institutional Repository of the Austrian Academy of Sciences
A-1011 Wien, Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2
Tel. +43-1-515 81/DW 3402-3406, +43-1-512 9050, Fax +43-1-515 81/DW 3400
http://epub.oeaw.ac.at, e-mail: epub@oeaw.ac.at