‘Respect Pollution’: Urenhed og renselse i hinduismens rituelle personhierarki

  • Mikael Aktor
Nøgleord: Ritual pollution; ritual impurity; ritual purity; ritual purification; Edward B. Harper; respect pollution

Resumé

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The American anthropologist Edward B. Harper coined the concept ‘respect pollution’ for a practice where a person shows respect towards another person at a higher level in the Hindu ritual hierarchy by doing something in relation to the latter that would normally be regarded as involving impurity and pollution. That could be touching someone’s feet or foot wear, eating the lefto-vers of others, or getting in physical contact with urine or feces. What would normally be regarded as impure becomes a source of purification or even salvation when it is an index of a ritually superior person, say, a saint or a god, or even, for women, one’s husband. This article explains the background of these practices in the classical rules of purification known from the medieval Hindu law literature with respect to each of these cases, feet, sandals, leftovers, feces and urine, but ex-pands the field by including places of death and cremation. In the second part of the article examples are given of the ways these cases are turned into ‘respect pollution’.

DANSK RESUMÉ: Den amerikanske antropolog Edward B. Harper introducere-de begrebet ‘respect pollution’ for en praksis, hvor en person viser respekt for en anden person, der står højere i det rituelle personhierarki, ved at gøre noget i for-hold til denne, der almindeligvis involverer rituel urenhed og besmittelse. Det kan være at komme i berøring med andres fødder eller fodtøj, at spise rester af mad, andre har spist af, eller at komme i berøring med afføring eller urin. Ting, der el-lers opfattes som urene, bliver i en sådan praksis kilde til renselse eller endda frel-se, forudsat at de konkrete urenheder er knyttet personer med højere status i det ri-tuelle hierarki, det være sig en helgen eller en gud, eller, for kvinder, ens ægte-mand. Artiklen forklarer baggrunden for disse praksisser i de klassiske regler for renselse, der er formuleret i den middelalderlige hindulovlitteratur, i forhold til hver af disse eksempler, fødder, sandaler, madrester og afføring, men udvider feltet ved også at inddrage steder, hvor en person er død eller kremeret. I den anden del af artiklen gives der eksempler på, hvordan disse felter transformeres til medier for ‘respect pollution’.

Publiceret
2019-03-05
Citation/Eksport
Aktor, M. (2019). ‘Respect Pollution’: Urenhed og renselse i hinduismens rituelle personhierarki. Religionsvidenskabeligt Tidsskrift, (69), 120-134. https://doi.org/10.7146/rt.v0i69.112746