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The Camphor Flame: Popular Hinduism and Society in India Paperback – 15 Aug 2004


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Review

ÝA¨n excellent book. . . . ÝM¨uch anthropological research on Hinduism has emerged in recent decades, and C. J. Fuller has done an admirable job of synthesizing it for specialists and nonspecialists alike. -- William S. Sax "Journal of the American Academy of Religion"

[A]n excellent book. . . . [M]uch anthropological research on Hinduism has emerged in recent decades, and C. J. Fuller has done an admirable job of synthesizing it for specialists and nonspecialists alike.--William S. Sax "Journal of the American Academy of Religion "

"The Camphor Flame" is a book to read from cover to cover. . . .[A]n impressive and valuable book.--Kathleen M. Erndl "Journal of Asian Studies "


"The Camphor Flame" is a book to read from cover to cover. . . .[A]n impressive and valuable book.--Kathleen M. Erndl "Journal of Asian Studies "



"The Camphor Flame" is a book to read from cover to cover. . . .[A]n impressive and valuable book.
--Kathleen M. Erndl "Journal of Asian Studies "


[A]n excellent book. . . . [M]uch anthropological research on Hinduism has emerged in recent decades, and C. J. Fuller has done an admirable job of synthesizing it for specialists and nonspecialists alike.
--William S. Sax "Journal of the American Academy of Religion "

""The Camphor Flame" is a book to read from cover to cover. . . .[A]n impressive and valuable book."--Kathleen M. Erndl, "Journal of Asian Studies"

"[A]n excellent book. . . . [M]uch anthropological research on Hinduism has emerged in recent decades, and C. J. Fuller has done an admirable job of synthesizing it for specialists and nonspecialists alike."--William S. Sax, "Journal of the American Academy of Religion"

About the Author

C. J. Fuller is Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His books include "Servants of the Goddess" (Cambridge) and "The Renewal of the Priesthood" (Princeton).


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Amazon.com: HASH(0x95276f60) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95f638a0) out of 5 stars Filling the gap 26 Jan. 2001
By Steven Bragg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Fuller provides an up-to-date presentation of the popular practice of Hinduism in India. Using ethnographic data and personal field research in a Minakshi temple in south India, Fuller provides a window into daily worship unladen with ancient textual scriptures and controversial philosophies, however, giving careful representation of the traditional, and mainly centralist, view of Hinduism as a point of reference. Fuller presents the basic why's of Hindu practice in an easy-to-follow format and language throughout the text. Beginning with an anthropological account of Hindu society in India, he continues with chapters on gods and goddesses, worship, sacrifice, rituals, devotion, pilgrimage, and misfortune, giving special attention to women's issues in the second chapter on devotion. I found this work extremely helpful in understanding the practical application of many previous works' attention to the Vedic texts and philosophies. A work of this subject and caliber had been lacking in Hindu scholarship until this book.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95285b34) out of 5 stars For expert and layman alike 12 Jun. 2003
By J. Marren - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Fuller's excellent work does a good job of making the complexities of Hinduism comprehensible even to a non-expert--not an easy task. The Hindu religion is of course not an institution in the Western sense, but rather a collection of beliefs and practices, ever-changing, in many cases highly local, and bewildering to the Western monotheistic mind with its "330 million" gods. Its complexities both drive and result from the infinite complexities of Indian society itself, and an understanding of Hinduism is crucial for any understanding of the country. I read the book in preparation for my second trip to India, and it made the experience infinitely more enjoyable and understandable.
Fuller's explanation of the principle of "hierarchy" as the underpinning for both Hinduism and Indian society as a whole was very enlightening, as one realizes that it is completely antithetical to Western thought which values individual freedom above all else. Particularly good is the description of the structure of Hindu worship, or "puja," which despite its infinite variations Fuller contends consists of 16 (more or less) steps, of offerings and services to the deity. The description of the caste system, which bears almost no relationship to the Western notion of class, is excellent. Fuller's explanation of the concept of purity, and how it drives the status and treatment of women, is also very good.
More casual readers may feel a bit bogged down as later chapters explore more esoteric subjects such as devotionalism and village rituals. From a scholarly point of view, I'd say this book is at the college text level, and like college texts it gets more complex as you work your way through. But this work is more than worth it even if you focus on the first few chapters. Highly recommended!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x952ba4d4) out of 5 stars Extremely well researched 20 May 2014
By Andrew Tompkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the best anthropological studies of "popular hinduism." Having worked in India for many years and in a variety of places I have found this book to most accurately describe what I have experienced.

While many studies of Hindu religious belief focus on philosophy it is ritual and practice that make up the most important elements of a majority of Hindus lives, not philosophy. This book is one of a rare quality in documenting a lifetime of research and experience. Anyone desiring to learn a more accurate understanding of the Hindu life and ritual can find that here in this volume.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Olesya - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very informative and helpful book if you want to learn more about Hinduism. Sometimes can be a little boring and tedious, but such moments are very rare.
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