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The Goddess Lives in Upstate New YorkBreaking Convention and Making Home at a North American Hindu Temple$
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Corinne G. Dempsey

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195187298

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195187296.001.0001

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Grounding the Sacred

Grounding the Sacred

Traveling Deities and Sanctified Terrain

(p.149) 7 Grounding the Sacred
The Goddess Lives in Upstate New York

Corinne G. Dempsey (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the transplanting of South Asian divinities onto North American soil, and the transposition of South Asian sacred geography to rural upstate New York. It begins by recounting the circuitous route of Íri Rājarājeśwarī’s granite mūrti from an ashram in the Poconos to Aiya’s temple housed in his garage and, finally, to its current location that transformed a barn in Rush, New York, into a temple. It discusses the importance of sacred geography within Hindu traditions, and recounts the challenges and innovations involved in establishing sacred terrain at diaspora temples in general, and at Rush in particular. The chapter concludes by recounting narratives of traveling Hindu deities and accounts of their miraculous appearances at Rush, demonstrating divine as well as human creativity and adaptability.

Keywords:   geography, Poconos, Rājarājeśwarī, mūrti, barn, diaspora, Hindu deities, adaptability

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