Dismembering Demons: Spatial and Bodily Representations in the Fifteenth-Century Ekaliṅgamāhātmya

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines representations of divine and human bodies and spatial practices in a fifteenth-century Sanskrit Hindu text entitled Ekaliṅgamāhātmya (ELM), a foundational Purānic narrative of Ekaliṅga temple that is located in the Mewar region of Rajasthan, India. The chapter argues that bodies, both human and divine, serve as blueprints for the geographical landscape and for the Hindu temple, and as such they mediate between structured order on the one hand and chaos—represented mythologically as cosmogonic time before the creation of geographical place, and politically by geographical spaces outside of political control—on the other. In order to understand the importance of this temple and its function as the royal center of political power and religious authority in the Mewar region, therefore, we have to examine the textual representations of divine and human bodies as they relate to the built environment and the geographical landscape more broadly. In short, in the ELM the body serves as the blueprint for cosmic and political order that is in constant struggle against the dangers of primordial chaos and political instability.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTransformational Embodiment in Asian Religions
Subtitle of host publicationSubtle Bodies, Spatial Bodies
EditorsGeorge Pati, Katherine C. Zubko
ISBN (Electronic)9780429356056
ISBN (Print)9780367375553
StatePublished - Oct 30 2019


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