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Author: Kirin Narayan
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8120808908
At home, amid rituals, and in the company of Gurus, Hindu teachings are largely conveyed through stories. Storytellers, Saints, and Scoundrels focuses on the folk narratives related with zest and humor by one old Swamiji to the varied groups that gather during his darshan hours. Kirin Narayan brings the tools of anthropology, folklore, and literary criticism to bear on these tales and asks: what is it about oral narratives that make them such a compelling vehicle for religious teachings?
The stories reproduced here reveal the varied faces of the ascetic in the Hindu imagination: potentially a wise saint, he may well be a scoundrel intent on duping disciples. In contextualizing the tales and their teller-a self-professed agrambagram sadhu-Narayan explores the Indian ascetic tradition that connects forest-dwelling sages of antiquity with cosmopolitan Gurus surrounded by foreign disciples.
While Storytellers, Saints, and Scoundrels raises provocative theoretical issues, it is also a moving human document. With his inventive mind, generous spirit, and droll characterizations of academic pursuits, Swamiji is a memorable character. His teachings emphasize an affectionate respect for other people regardless of their background or religious affiliation.
Storytellers, Saints, and Scoundrels is the winner of the Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic writing offered by the Society for Humanistic Anthropology and Co-winner of the Elsie Clews Parsons Prize for Folklore, 1990.
This is patently a precious and beautiful book. IT is delightful reading, and carries important information to both specialists (anthropologists, folklorists, indologists), as well as to lay seekers of exotica or of plain fine fables, this is truly a book for all seasons and for all reasons.
-Swami Agehananda Bharati
South Asia in Review
This volume is beautifully written, is a delightful read, is theoretically sophisticated, yet presents a rich human portrait of the ethnographer and her informant. Most important, we learn a great deal about folktales, Indian gurus and India.
-Edward M Bruner
This volume is well suited to introductory courses on Indian culture or modern Hinduism, as well as more advanced courses on folklore. Interesting and well-written, it deserves wide popular audience too.
-Francis X Clooney
Religious Studies Review
PREFACE TO THE INDIAN EDITION
A NOTE ON TRANSLITERATION
1. There's Always A Reason
2. Lives And Stories
4. The Listeners
5. Loincloths And Celibacy
6. False Gurus And Gullible Disciples
7. Death And Laughter
8. Heaven And Hell
9. The Divine Storyteller
10. The World Of The Stories
11. Storytelling As Religious Teaching
Glossary of Commonly Used Hindi Terms
Map of India