Puja and Samskara by Musashi Tachikawa, Shoun Hino and Lalita Deodhar treats two representative Hindu rituals of contemporary India, Puja (offering service) and Samskara (initiation rituals at important occasions of life). Samskara rites are performed at significant junctures of an individual's life, from birth to death, by the individual's family. Puja rites, rather than being performed in relation to the life cycle of an individual in a family, are more deeply related to the annual rituals of the cult to which an individual or the person's family belongs.
Persons may go to a temple and request priests to perform Puja rites, or they may perform them themselves at home. For people living in India, Puja and Samskara are not at all uncommon. Puja rites are performed everywhere-at temples, in private homes, on street corners-and although in recent times families observing all the traditional Samskara rites have declined in number, almost all Hindu families still perform the major Samskara. It is difficult, however, for those living outside India to know how these rites are performed. Hence, this book presents a large number of photographs that enable readers to gain an accurate grasp of them and indicates the place of ritual in the total structure of religion.
About the Authors:
Musashi Tachikawa is professor at the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, Japan, (Ph.D., Harvard University (1975); D. Litt., Nagoya University (1970-92). His publications include the Structure of the World of Udayana's Realism (Reidel, 1980), Fiver Hundred Buddhist Deities (Adroit, 2000), Three Hundred Sixty Buddhist Deities (Adro, 2001).
Dr. Shoun Hino is Professor of Gifu Pharmaceutical University, Japan. He obtained a Ph.D. degree from the University of Poona in 1979 and works on Vedanta, Suresvara in particular. He is completing twelve-volume Suresvara's study under the title of Advaita Tradition Series (Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi) and recently published Puja and Samskara (Motilal Banarsidass) in collaboration with Prof. M. Tachikawa.