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Book: Religion and Touch

Chapter: 6. The Senses and Their Absences in Balinese and Tamil Hinduism

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.42174


Hindu ritual is always and everywhere deeply sensory and sensual. In Bali this is spectacularly and famously obvious in temple ritual, which is a feast for all the senses, but least of all touch – apparently. But it is there between the lines – not highlighted, but in the background. In Tamil Nadu, a very different corner of the Hindu world, touch is more central, both ordinary touch and the subtle, extrasensory “touch” that occurs in darshan – the central moment in the ritual process. This chapter explores these spectrums of presence and absence of touch. It also “touches” upon the political-economic realities often obscured behind the sensory and symbolic feasts of ritual.

Chapter Contributors

  • Graeme MacRae ( - gmacrae) 'Massey University'