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Online publication date:
November 2023
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Book description

Mahasu is the joint name of four gods whose influence is widespread throughout the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Like other deities in the Western Himalayas, they are regarded as royal gods who rule over territories and people. This book traces changes in faith and practices surrounding the Mahasu brothers, and shows how the locals understand these changes by emphasizing the dominant role of humans in the decisions of the gods. The locals are also constantly testing the authenticity of the human mediumship. Thus, the book presents the claim that the gap between local conceptions of divinity and the perceptions of anthropologists regarding gods may be narrower than we think.

The Biography of a God: Mahasu in the Himalayas is based on ethnographic research, resulting in an important contribution to the study of Indian village deities, Himalayan Hinduism, lived Hinduism, and the anthropology of religion.

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