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From 'Krishna's Arrangements' to „Cultivated Consciousness“: Religious Experience in the Vaishnava Community in Zagreb, Croatia / Hrvoje Čargonja.

By: Čargonja, Hrvoje.
Material type: ArticleArticleDescription: str.Subject(s): religious experience; neohinduism; ISKCON; Hare Krishna; anthropology of religion In: „Time of Decline, Time of Hope – Scientific, Cultural and Political Engagement of the Study of Religions“, Programme and abstracts, 8th conference of the European Association for the Study of Religion, Brno, Czech Republic In: EASR (European Association for the Study of Religions) 8th conference: „Time of Decline, Time of Hope – Scientific, Cultural and Political Engagement of the Study of Religions“Summary: The contents of my presentation is an overview of my PhD research on the religious experience among the members of Hare Krishna community active in Zagreb, Croatia since late seventies. Informants revealed a continuum of religious sensations with a variety of sensorial, cognitive and affective elements. The reports mainly conform to the injunctions from the vast scriptural background of this theistic Vaiṣṇava tradition, especially abundant on the subject of cultivation of devotional and mystical consciousness. On the examples of several case studies I would like to show how intimate and subjective reality of the supernatural is shaped by social environment imbued with complex theological beliefs and practices systematically applied in the pursuit of the ultimate aim in Vaishnava theology—creating an experience of love of Krishna. To propose some interpretational models of these integrative experiences I would like to discuss several theoretical notions adopted in the line of phenomenological framework of my research. Concepts of “captivated consciousness”, and “cultivated imagination” as well as the Indian view of emotion in rasa theory will be discussed to show how the practice of inspiring ritual acts with devotional passion allows for experience conceptualization with direct impact on subjective and social aspects of an individual.
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The contents of my presentation is an overview of my PhD research on the religious experience among the members of Hare Krishna community active in Zagreb, Croatia since late seventies. Informants revealed a continuum of religious sensations with a variety of sensorial, cognitive and affective elements. The reports mainly conform to the injunctions from the vast scriptural background of this theistic Vaiṣṇava tradition, especially abundant on the subject of cultivation of devotional and mystical consciousness. On the examples of several case studies I would like to show how intimate and subjective reality of the supernatural is shaped by social environment imbued with complex theological beliefs and practices systematically applied in the pursuit of the ultimate aim in Vaishnava theology—creating an experience of love of Krishna. To propose some interpretational models of these integrative experiences I would like to discuss several theoretical notions adopted in the line of phenomenological framework of my research. Concepts of “captivated consciousness”, and “cultivated imagination” as well as the Indian view of emotion in rasa theory will be discussed to show how the practice of inspiring ritual acts with devotional passion allows for experience conceptualization with direct impact on subjective and social aspects of an individual.

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