Performance as Religious Observance in Some Śaiva Ascetic Traditions from South and Southeast Asia




dance, dramaturgy, comedy, Śaivism, Tantra, Atimārga, Pāśupatas, Lākulas,, Kārukas, Kāpālikas, Nāṭyaśāstra, Vidus, Canthang Balungs, Sidha Karya


My essay synthesizes, and elaborates on, previous research on the overlaps between performative arts and ascetic traditions of the Śaiva Atimārga in South and Southeast Asia. My analysis focuses mainly on textual data from Sanskrit and Old Javanese literature from the 4th to the 15th centuries, with contributions from modern and contemporary ethnography of Java and Bali. Here I will argue that categories of Śaiva practitioners who combined dance, recitation, and drama in both areas may derive from a shared tantric fund, and that those low-status agents characterized by antinomian behaviours were not only driven by ideals of individual salvation or quest for powers, but also contributed to their local social milieus (i.e. as ‘folk’ entertainers) and ritual economies (i.e., as performers attached to temples and royal palaces).

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How to Cite

Acri, Andrea. 2018. “Performance As Religious Observance in Some Śaiva Ascetic Traditions from South and Southeast Asia”. Cracow Indological Studies 20 (1):1-30.