Evoked Pūjā: The Behavioral Ecology of an Equatorial Ritual

Pūjā is the principal ritual of theistic Hinduism. As such, it rightly receives its fair share of scholarly attention. Much of this attention to date, however, has been primarily descriptive in nature. While the utility of the data writ large for certain introductions to Hindu traditions is not in d...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Main Author: Ellis, Thomas B.
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: [2015]
In:Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Year: 2015, Volume: 83, Issue: 4, Pages: 1108-1156
Online Access: Volltext (Verlag)
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Summary:Pūjā is the principal ritual of theistic Hinduism. As such, it rightly receives its fair share of scholarly attention. Much of this attention to date, however, has been primarily descriptive in nature. While the utility of the data writ large for certain introductions to Hindu traditions is not in doubt, such descriptions do not constitute explanations. Absent explanation, the presumption of understanding is premature. In this article, I argue that pūjā is a compensatory ritual for those with insecure-anxious attachment styles. Such styles are prevalent in India to the extent that they reflect facultative responses to Hindu childrearing practices. Hindu childrearing practices, in turn, employ what has been called the Pediatric model. This model is most adaptive to the rearing of children in robust pathogen and parasite ecologies. Through pūjā , the devotee seeks assurance of protection and resource distribution, assurances particularly sought by the insecure-anxiously attached.
ISSN:1477-4585
Contains:Enthalten in: American Academy of Religion, Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1093/jaarel/lfv035