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Author: Surajit Sinha
Publisher: Indica Books
ISBN/UPC (if available): N/A
Kashi, one of the oldest living civilization centres of the world, is the city of Hindu ascetics. First of its kind, this book is a total survey of ascetics of a sacred city. It reveals many unusual aspects of ascetic organizations: asceticism provides a safety-valve of individual liberty against the pressures of the rigidly hierarchic caste system.
Yet, both the Shaiva and the Vaishnava ascetics tend to be influenced by caste considerations, but present a much more wider and liberal outlook on the question of linguism or regionalism. The ascetics involved in the spiritual pursuit of moksha are also involved in the management of estates, business, fighting and litigation, patronage of the arts and excellence, and in political gamemanship.
They maintain various forms of linkage with the householders. In the wake of modernization, the ascetic organization is shorn of much of its earlier sacrosanct social functions. But nevertheless it still serves a most fundamental need of man.