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 काट्टो,काट्टु,काटी,काटेको साझा खोजी......
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Posted on 02-02-07 10:00 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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काट्टो,काट्टु,काटी,काटेको साझा खोजी..... . Excerpts from Library. Katto and the Funeral Priest The Funeral Priests are a special group of Brahmans –Mahabrahmans. The specialist that conducts the ritual is not only acting in service for the deceased’s soul and family, theFuneral Priest himself becomes the pret or pitr – the deceased’s soul – and he is worshipped as the deceased. Even before the chief mourner shaves his head, the Mahabrahman should be shaved as if he was the pret himself. The Funeral Priest is also consubstantial with the deceased. The Nepali royal and aristocratic funerals are the most explicit rituals in this regard (Parry 1980), and particularly the katto-ritual whereby a Brahman priest eats parts of the king’s body. “Katto” means literally “something not worth eating”. Traditionally it is a part of the dead body, and in particular the brain, which is eaten. The kattopriest is seen as a “sin eater”. By eating the “uneatable” the priest becomes declared as an outcaste, and he is banned and chased out of Kathmandu valley. The ceremony ensures the salvation of the king’s soul, and the deceased’s body takes spiritual form on this day. The role of the Mahabrahman is crucial because he enables the soul to cross towards the other world. The gifts to the Funeral Priest are in fact a symbolic representation of the gifts to the deceased, or more correctly, they are identical because the idea is that the departed receives the gifts in the next world. The ideal gift is all the standard requirements needed for use in daily life for one year – everything from food, clothes, furniture, money, and so on. This has its rationale in the idea that the Funeral Priest is the deceased at the moment he receives and accepts the gift. The power to bless and curse the deceased enables the priest to negotiate and take advantage of the size of the offering, emphasising that the gift will be received by the pret, and thus, the family has to offer a lot.
 
Posted on 02-02-07 10:20 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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The katto Ceremonies of King Birendra and King Dipendra The 75 year old Brahman priest Durga Prasad Sapkota ate the katto of the late King Birendra on the 11th day of mourning, Monday June 11 at Kalmochan Ghat. The elephant was decorated traditionally, and the Brahman was dressed as the king wearing a gold-embroidered Nepali dress. The priest wore a replica of the crown; he used clothes, shoes and other ornaments that belonged to the deceased king. He was sitting in a tented room which was furnished with offerings from the Royal Palace, such as a sofa, bed, and study table together with more personal belongings of the king including his briefcase and walking stick. On Thursday June 14th, the katto ceremony of king Dipendra was held at Kalmochan Ghat. Kalmochan Ghat is located by the Bagmati River where it forms the border between the former kingdoms of Kathmandu and Patan, and when the katto-Brahman crossed the river, according to the tradition, the priest is not allowed to return again, and he is so highly polluted that the people would not even “see his face” again. When there were only petty kingdoms in Nepal, Kalmochan Ghat and the Bagmati River represented the country’s border, and the kattopriest was expelled from the kingdom by the symbolic crossing of the river. Nowadays the priest is expelled from the Kathmandu valley. Durga Prasad Sapkota felt that he was forced to do the katto ritual, and afterwards he felt cheated. He demanded a house and he was promised gifts worth 10,000 dollars, but he received only some 300 dollars, and he now aims to sell the king’s clothes and personal belongings he received for 10,000 dollars. He is living in his old house at Pahupatinath because he has no other options. According to him, the king’s flesh in the katto ritual is a relict myth from the past. He cooked the meal himself which consisted only of rice, vegetables and goat meat. Some people living in the vicinity of Pashupatinath believed, however, that the kattopriest ate the king’s flesh, and in particular the part of the brain where the “third” eye is located. The priests who cremated King Birendra said that some security guards collected small parts of the ashes from the king which were put into the katto-priest’s meals without Sapkota’s knowledge. It was only symbolically, they believed, but it was a part of the meal, because only goat meat would not have affected and polluted the priest in such a negative way. Just after the ritual Sapkota could not walk openly in the streets, and especially not in the Pashupatinath area. People treated him as excluded from the community, and he sat, predominantly, in the backyard of his house, feeling guilty and impure after the katto ritual. The other temple and funeral priests referred to Durga Prasad Sapkota as “the priest who became a pode”, meaning a “toilet-cleaner”. Sapkota, on the other hand, emphasised that he was a Brahman, although he acknowledged that he was impure and a katto-Brahman. His wife also stressed that both of them were Brahmans, and they categorically refused to hear anything about low-caste status; Sapkota perceived himself as both a Brahman and a priest. According to Sapkota, he was not treated as, and he had definitively not become, a low-caste person or outcaste (despite his impure condition after the katto-ritual, two years later he had worked as a priest on several occasions). Seen from the position of wider society, the priest eating katto will attain the king’s sins. But the impurity of the priest does in no way correlate to the sins committed by the king, who is a living Vishnu, the supreme Godhead. Even low-castes detest the priest and expel him out of the country stressing that the priest is below the lowest in regards of purity. Low castes may eat cows – another type of Vishnu’s flesh – but despite their impurity they are purer than the katto-priest. Everyone, except his family, see the katto-priest as the most polluted man in the nation. It does not seem plausible, however, that the king has been the most sinful person in his kingdom. The pollution acquired through katto must represent other sins than the king’s sins. This, it is argued, is a part of cosmogony – the re-creation of society and cosmos, and has to be seen in light of Hocart’s (1950) interpretation of caste and caste theories in general. .

 
Posted on 02-02-07 10:26 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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. Caste – Ideology or Subtle Substance? Brahmans work as priests, and religion is most often an integral part of explanations of the caste system, its origin, function and hierarchy. The problem is, however, to relate text to context. Ideological and religious foundations of castes are based on the Sanskrit texts, and among them, the Bhagavad-Gita and Manu. The Bhagavad-Gita (Bg) distinguishes four castes: “Brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras are distinguished by the qualities born of their own natures in accordance with the material modes (…)” (Bg. 18.41). The duties and the qualities are further described: “Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness - these are the natural qualities by which the brahmanas work. Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and leadership are the natural qualities of work of the ksatriyas. Farming, cow protection and business are the natural work for the vaisyas, and for the sudras there is labour and service to others. By following his qualities of work, every man can become perfect” (Bg. 18.42-45). Thus, there are four classes in the hierarchical order: (1) the sacerdotal and learned class, the members of which may be, but not necessarily priests, (2) the regal and warrior caste, (3) the trading and agricultural caste and (4) the servile caste, whose duty is to serve the other three. Declan Quigley argues that it is impossible to explain caste as a product of a particular ideology, and he sustains a critique not only of Dumont’s theory but all who emphasise the Hindu ideas when explaining castes (Quigley 1996:1, 12-13). Louis Dumont’s Homo Hierarchicus (1970) has been the most influential contribution to the recent debate on caste, but nowadays few scholars advocate his ideas. Therefore, his theory of the castes is a point of departure for the debate and the disputes of the caste system(s). Fundamental in Dumont’s concept of caste and hierarchy is totality: “So we shall define hierarchy as the principle by which the elements of a whole are ranked in relation to the whole, it being understood that in the majority of societies it is religion which provides the view of the whole, and that the ranking will thus be religious in nature” (Dumont 1970:66, original emphasis). His theory is based on a social principle; hierarchy, and thereby distinctions between the castes. It defines groups in a hierarchy of ritual purity and pollution and prescribes inter caste relations, especially regarding marriage and commensality (Bennett 1983:8). According to Dumont, “Superiority and superior purity are identical: it is in this sense that, ideologically, distinction of purity is the foundation of status” (Dumont 1970:56). The fundamental opposition between pure and impure is not the cause but the form of all distinctions between caste (ibid:26). “It is generally agreed that the opposition is manifested in some macroscopic form in the contrast between the two extreme categories: Brahmans and Untouchables. The Brahmans, being in principle priests, occupy the supreme rank with respect to the whole set of castes” (Dumont 1970:29). Dumont’s theory cannot cope with the role of priests whose status is at best seen as intensively ambiguous and at worst defiled (Quigley 1999:308). “Perhaps the central feature of caste is that one cannot ride roughshod over one’s ritual obligations without fear of losing one’s status, one’s very position in the community” (ibid:313). It is not necessary at this point to challenge or criticise Dumont’s approach to caste, but it is cogent to merely point out that his theory of caste represents one side in the debate. The other interpretative framework, based on a “coded substances theory”, is mainly advocated and developed by the “ethnosociological school” or the “Chicago School” (e.g. Marriott and Inden 1974, 1977, Marriott 1976, 1990). The caste structures and principles are seen from the “inside” and from the actors’ perspectives. Caste systems may be defined as “moral systems that differentiate and rank the whole population of a society in corporate units (castes) generally defined by descent, marriage and occupation” (Marriott and Inden 1974:982). In the “coded substance theory” the stress is put on the non-duality of South Asian social thought; “South Asians do not insist on drawing a line between what Westerners call “natural” and what they call “moral” things; the Hindu moral code books are thus filled with discussions of bodily things, while the medical books at many points deal with moral qualities” (Marriott and Inden 1977:228). Moral qualities are thought to be altered by changes in the body resulting from eating certain types of food, sexual intercourse and participation in rituals. When a Bengali 118 The Proceedings of the Manchester Conference on Archaeology and Religion woman is being married it is believed that her body is transformed as well as her inborn code for conduct (Inden and Nicholas 1977). “The code for conduct of living persons is not regarded as transcendent over bodily substances, but as immanent within it”, and as such “Bodily substances and code for conduct are thus thought to be not fixed but malleable, and to be not separated but mutually immanent features: the coded substance moves and changes as one thing throughout the life of each person and group. Actions enjoined by these embodied codes are thought of as transforming the substances in which they are embodied” (Marriott and Inden 1977:228). Seen from the “coded substance theory”, moral and social codes are presumed to be inherent in every kind of generic category, and each single person has an embodied moral code of this world. Persons are therefore “unique composites of diverse subtle and gross substances derived ultimately from one source; and they are also divisible into separate particles that may be shared or exchanged with others” (Marriott and Inden 1977:232). These substances exist prior to birth in the parents (seeds, food). In life a person becomes what one eats. This high-lights consumption of food as fundamental in transactions and creations of moral qualities, but also the defilement from bodily substances which are disposed of such as menstrual blood, semen, excreta, and those associated with death. All bodily genera are descended from the original cosmic Purusa, and “person and genera are thus conceived of as channelling and transforming heterogeneous, eveflowing, changing substances” (ibid:233). Simply presented and with a container metaphor as point of departure, the body is a “vessel”. This “vessel” metaphor is crucial in the understanding of castes as transactions of coded substances. A pure person that has been defiled by temporary impurity, basically through water or food consumption, has to purify his body (“vessel”) through subsequent rites. Therefore, all interactions and transactions of substances are potentially dangerous because it may involve defilement of one’s purity. Each substance has a value, an entity which in theory is both morally and religiously defined, and society is structured around the different transactions that are hierarchically regulated through sanctions and taboos. Those who perceive themselves as being purer than others are particularly concerned about interaction with people they see as less pure than themselves. These personal perceptions are difficult or impossible to rank in one model because most people put themselves on top of the social ladder in terms of status and purity. There is a general concern about one’s own purity and possible social interactions and transactions of substances which may threaten the personal purity. The body as a “vessel”, which each and everyone is concerned with, is fundamental in castes when perceived as moral substance codes. The Funeral Priests who conduct cremations and mourn the dead are called Mahabrahmans which literally means the “great Brahmans”, but this sub-caste of Brahmans are also known as Mahapatra which means “great vessels” (Parry 1994:76). Their role in funerals as “great vessels”, which are filled with sin and pollution, is the crux of debate regarding the caste hierarchy and the common assumption that Brahmans are ranked highest because of their purity.
 
Posted on 02-02-07 10:29 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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. Hocart’s Interpretation of Caste The main core of Hocart’s theory is in essence that all societies are communities of persons organised for ritual purposes, and their primary aim is to secure and procure life in its broadest sense. This has to be seen in relation to the divine king who was both God and human. Everything in service of him was a ritual service. Accordingly, the caste system is a distribution system of rights and duties connected to the royal ritual and the king’s service (Raglan 1950). The caste system is a sacrificial organisation where the aristocracy are feudal lords performing rites by which they need vassals and serfs because some activities involve pollution, and the lords cannot become defiled (Hocart 1950:17). Hubert and Mauss (1964) distinguish between the ”sacrifier” – those who perform the sacrifice, and “sacrificer” – the ritual specialist sometimes employed to perform the sacrifice for the sacrifier. The sacrificial basis of the caste system is religious purity of those worthy and excellent castes which are allowed to participate in the sacrifice. The main object of these sacrifices is immortality in the form of freedom from death and diseases, it is to becoming a god and ascending to the world of gods. Or in the words of a sage, “The sacrificer [sacrifier] passes from men to gods” ([Hocart 1950:18] – Hocart builds parts of his theory on the differences between sacrifier and sacrificer, but he does not distinguish these ritual roles by the terminology developed by Hubert and Mauss. I will use Hubert and Mauss’ terminology when discussing Hocart even though he does not use this distinction himself, and when quoting Hocart, Hubert and Mauss’ terminology is added in brackets and written in italics). Obtaining immortality and eternal presence with gods is the main goal and idealised outcome of the sacrifice. Corpses are vehicles which can be used to move from this world to the other world. The recent dead cling to this world although the spirit is being transformed into other spheres. The dead are truly liminal beings, and as such are highly polluted (Kinsley 1997:237-238). The funeral aims to give the deceased to the gods whereby he can attain the divine and eternal sphere by becoming a god. Cremation is a transformation and a medium to change and to transmute. The king was “the sacrifier” in the state sacrifices in the earliest texts. This means not necessarily that the king controlled the total ritual, but he was the chief actor and the sacrifice was his responsibility whereby he supplied the offerings and covered the expenses. In Rig-Veda (X, 90) it is expressed directly that castes are made from sacrifice. The skeleton of the ancient caste system is based on four groups of the population: 1) brahman, 2) kshatriya, 3) vaisya, and 4) sudra. This model is based around the king, which comes from the kshatriyas. The priests cannot form a caste themselves due to the practice of celibacy, and thus the priests are derived from the farmer caste or the aristocracy. They hold the same place in the hierarchy and in ritual as the Brahmans when priesthood became hereditary (Hocart 1950:23-26). Later tradition has stressed that the kshatriya caste is a warrior caste, and the Chhetris are commonly ranked as second after the Brahmins in the fourfold caste system. In the earliest prose writing the kshatriya caste was nevertheless the royal caste, and only later the stress was put on the warrior aspect. Therefore, the first caste is the one that provides the king, and as such the royal one or the nobility. The difference between the king and the priest is their roles in the sacrifice; “A nobleman gives but does not solicit; offers sacrifice, but does not perform it, studies, but does not teach” (Hocart 1950:34-35). The second caste supplies the priests, namely the Brahmans. They perform the ritual for the king. The priest may perform the sacrifice himself, but he is mainly the person that officiates for the sacrifier, and therefore the priests are more closely related to the royal family than the farmers since it is the king that normally is the chief sacrifier (ibid:37). The main function of the third caste is to support the king and the priests, and to feed the sacrifice from their lands and cattle (ibid:39-40). According to Hocart then, the caste system is basically a sacrificial organisation where everything is structured around the king and his sacrificial role. The other groups in the society have different obligations in relation to the sacrifices .
 
Posted on 02-03-07 12:11 AM     Reply [Subscribe]
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हँ गजब गजब को कुरो थाहा पाइयो बा!!! सायमि बुरो पनि काट्टो पिएचडि गर्न लाग्या हो कि? ल ल २ - ३ च्याप्टर त आजकै मालले भरीन्छ होला थेसिस ।
 


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