Sacred and Profane is a narration of social customs, unusual events and mythical stories, prevalent in our part of the universe, some of which are embedded in religion and others are not, but all are mostly accompanied by rituals and practices that have gained certain obligatory force and a power of compulsion to abide by a regimen of performance for their followers. Their succinct description and accompanied ethos, without any religious connotation, coming from a renowned scholar, makes it a compulsive reading, which succeeds in arousing the curiosity of an inquisitive mind.
An intriguing book for both academic and non-academic readers. G. S. Sachdeva’s compilation and secular presentation of several rituals and customs that are treated as ‘unusual’ or ‘strange’ by outsiders, but normal by its practitioners, illustrate that they all have their own life and meaning that grow and adapt with time. The book provides plenty of food for thought for the scholars of society and culture to carry out in-depth research in order to better appreciate, with emic and etic perspectives, the many dazzling customs and rituals of both indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
This is a fascinating book. It introduces us to a wide range of religious practices, many of which may appear ‘strange’ and ‘unusual’. However, they continue to be popular with the common people and also play an important role in their lives. Professor Sachdeva does not simply condemn or decry them, as a rationalist would do. Nor does he celebrate them as a traditionalist would do. Instead, he invites us to acknowledge their presence and understand the value they have to their practitioners.
Gripping narrative of the intricacies of religious order in the ultra-modern era with a blend of functional and pseudo-secular analysis. The work uncovers the observance of unbelievable ritualistic practices associated with myths and realities of the sacred in South Asia. No doubt, the compilation set forth the everyday religion in motion with rational and non-logical acts, expressing an instrumental bearing of men towards the mysterious religious cosmos.
The book seeks to focus on some aspects of culture or religion or faith-based human practices. These are so interwoven with the lives of people that the dividing line between sacred and profane often gets blurred. Derived primarily from information in the public domain, the author has audaciously tried to make sense of customs and rituals around which lives of ordinary people revolve, ordained by scriptures, need of the hour, born out of beliefs, having scientific basis to bring about colour and discipline in life.