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Swaminarayan HinduismTradition, Adaptation, and Identity$
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Raymond Brady Williams and Yogi Trivedi

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199463749

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199463749.001.0001

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Swaminarayan (BAPS) Identity Formation in Virtual Transnationalism

Swaminarayan (BAPS) Identity Formation in Virtual Transnationalism

(p.402) 20 Swaminarayan (BAPS) Identity Formation in Virtual Transnationalism
Swaminarayan Hinduism

Andrew Kunze

Oxford University Press

This chapter draws on fieldwork interviews in 2011 and 2012 to trace the ritual background, historical development, and contemporary effects of online darshan and other devotional practices enabled by digital media in the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha. These online devotional practices have arisen as the latest iteration of a longer ritual tradition, which within BAPS has continually adapted to media innovations in order to maintain close ties between Gujarati culture and religious devotion. That project of digital devotion changes the way that twenty-first century BAPS followers connect, not only to Pramukh Swami, but also to one another. The design of the online material yields two novel impacts specific to the digital devotee: it consciously counteracts the difficulties of living in non-Gujarati Western cultures on a daily basis, and it inclines viewers to imagine themselves as part of a transnational network.

Keywords:   darshan, bhakti, Internet, BAPS, digital devotion, transnational, adaptation, online, ritual, electronic, social media

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