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The Economics of EcstasyTantra, Secrecy and Power in Colonial Bengal$
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Hugh B. Urban

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195139020

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019513902X.001.0001

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The Progressive “Exotericization” and “Institutionalization” Of an Esoteric Tradition

The Progressive “Exotericization” and “Institutionalization” Of an Esoteric Tradition

Chapter:
(p.203) 8 The Progressive “Exotericization” and “Institutionalization” Of an Esoteric Tradition
Source:
The Economics of Ecstasy
Author(s):

Hugh B. Urban (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/019513902X.003.0009

This short chapter demonstrates that the esoteric elements of the tradition of the Bengali Kartābhajā sect would eventually become an increasing source of embarrassment. They were to be progressively institutionalized and marginalized as a later tradition evolved from the secretive obscure cult centring around the mysterious mad Fakir Bā into a largely innocuous, well‐organized, and rather, bureaucratic, and popular devotional faith centring around the miraculous healing powers of the Satī Mā, and the sacred hierarchy of the Mahāśays (regional gurus).

Keywords:   Bengal, cults, faiths, India, Kartābhajās, secrecy, sects

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