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The Guru’s Essence And Emotional Impact

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Chapter Summary

Essentialism is a mode of understanding that relies upon hidden, partly unknown essences. This chapter examines whether disciples actually limited themselves to such interpretations or if there can be found essentialist thinking behind representations of Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda's charisma. It describes the role played by religious experience in the formation of the essentialist notions of Prabhupāda. The moods and feelings produced either in routine rituals or unique encounters with Prabhupāda form an integral component of the representations disciples formed of him. The encounters with Prabhupāda frequently evoked feelings in the devotees that they tried to account for by essentialist notions. The devotees also are acutely aware of the feelings and moods that arise in their interactions with the guru, which often take place on special occasions and which are often personally consequential. The essentialistic modes of thinking can help to make sense of such events.

Keywords:Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda; charisma; emotional feelings; essentialism; guru

10.1163/ej.9789004166134.i-234.46
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