Asketen auf Zeit
Das brahmanische Initiationsritual der Bāhun und Chetrī im Kathmandu-Tal
After its integration into the series of life-cycle rituals (saṃskāra) in the first millennium BC, the Brahmanical initiation (upanayana) underwent continual revision and reinterpretation. Today it is performed during a ritual complex called vratabandha, in which it is conducted together with three other saṃskāras, the whole set being embedded in a preliminary and framing ritual.
For the present volume, a combination of textual studies and fieldwork was employed to examine the principles by which a particular Vedic school (the White Yajurveda) and a concrete context (the vratabandha of Nepalese Bāhuns and Chetrīs) combines and adapts elements of different types of ritual (saṃskāra, pūjā, homa, etc.) in order to accommodate itself to changing times and circumstances.
The detailed formal analysis provides a key to interpreting the meaning of the whole complex of acts that constitute a vratabandha, in which the initiate temporarily becomes an ascetic in order to be initiated into his future householder role as a ritual practitioner.
Christof Zotter (1975- ) studied Indology and Ethnology in Leipzig. After working as representative for the Kathmandu Branch Office of the South Asia Institute, he joined the collaborative research center 619 "Ritual Dynamics" (abbrev. SFB 619) at Heidelberg University. Since 2014 he is head of the editorial program of the research unit "Documents on the History of Religion and Law of Pre-modern Nepal" at the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.