Globalized Religion: The Vedic Sacrifice (YajÃ±a) in Transcultural Public Spheres
AbstractThis paper examines how yajÃ±a, a traditional Indian ritual involving sacrificial offerings into fire, has been reshaped through globalizing processes. Traditionally, yajÃ±a sacrifices, which can be traced back three thousand years, focused on individual needs such as good health, prosperity, the removal of obstacles, and so on. Stimulated by various migration flows and technological change, however, yajÃ±a is now practiced by Hindus living in the diaspora as well as by Westerners seeking new religious paths and has been modified in novel ways. Whereas in former times yajÃ±a was mainly restricted to socially limited groups, it is performed now as a public spectacle for various ends, including those of transnational and transcultural philanthropy. This shift turns yajÃ±a into an indispensible means for people to lead more religiously meaningful lives in different parts of the world, while also imparting the ritual itself with a new global importance.