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Colloquium on Asian religions: Between Devotee and God: The Study of “Atmosphere” of a South Indian Temple Festival

When:Mo 22-09-2014 16:00 - 17:30
Where:Oude Boteringestraat 38, Groningen

Speaker: Professor Frank Heidemann (University of Munich)

Religious experience takes place in emotionally tuned spaces, in which a devotee appears as recipient and co-producer of the atmosphere. Such atmosphere can be considered as the pervading mood in a particular space (Gernot Böhme) or the way we find ourselves in different perceptual environments (Michael Hauskeller). To celebrate a temple festival in a South Indian village, technical procedures as well as atmospheres are planned and realised. Physical and social components amalgamate to a totality which dominates its parts. Devotees experience God  in these highly charged atmospheres and at the climax, when a group of men walk over fire, God has reached each devotee. This lecture raises questions about the ontology of atmospheres and the culture-specific forms of its perception.