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Structure and CognitionAspects of Hindu Caste and Ritual$
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Veena Das

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780198077404

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198077404.001.0001

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Concepts of Space *

Concepts of Space *

(p.99) Chapter 4 Concepts of Space*
Structure and Cognition

Veena Das

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the strict procedures that are observed in Hindu rituals. These procedures vary, from the movement of either the right or the left hand, to the direction a subject faces when the rite is being conducted. The first section examines the division between the general categorization of space and the right and left hand distinctions in the ritual procedures stated in the Grihya Sutra of Gobhila. It notes that these procedures have a number of variations in the performance of local or domestic ceremonies, which are based on caste, sect, and region. This section also describes these domestic ceremonies and tries to provide an understanding of particular structural aspects of Hindu society. This chapter also argues that structural categories that arise in the analysis of domestic ceremonies are repeated in different field studies of Hinduism.

Keywords:   Hindu rituals, categorization of space, right and left hand, ritual procedures, Grihya Sutra, Gobhila, domestic ceremonies, structural aspects of Hindu society, field studies of Hinduism

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