- Various elements of Hindu practice have been claimed to be shamanic, especially by those interested in local, village practice rather than the more philosophical and priestly Hinduism of the Brahmin caste and texts. The problem of what to include as “Hindu” and how this might relate to shamanism can be illustrated with relation to the Ayyavazhi religion of southern India. Ayyavazhi is generally included as a Hindu movement, but seems to require recognition as a distinct practice. Some adherents make use of divination to seek the cause of illness and to find appropriate healing methods. Even if such practices are shamanic (which is debated), they are not always positively valued or encouraged. In Piers Vitebsky’s discussion of the Sora, he notes both distinctions between indigenous practices and Hinduism, and the integration of Hindus into Sora shamanic practice, especially as the posthumous or “spirit” marital partners of shamans.
Historical dictionary of shamanism. Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis. 2007.
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