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The Sense Of The Presence

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the sensory and interactive modes for approaching the presence of Sathya Sai Baba in the devotional world centered on him. Devotees long to touch his feet, receive his words or a mantra such as the Gayatri, or ash from his hands. Seeing him at darshan time is like receiving an electric charge. This "sacred sensorium" or perceptual apparatus for approaching the guru or the divine is cultural, historical, social and political in nature rather than merely psychological. The chapter argues that we have to embed the sensory perception of the sacred and its corporeality within a larger discursive framework that addresses both the phenomenology of the event and its historical, epistemological, performative, and social registers.

Keywords: darshan; global religious movement; sacred sensorium; Sathya Sai Baba



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