Mathas, toward understanding the public religious, educational, and political ascetic institution in South Asian religions

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Abstract

The matha is an important yet understudied public religious, political, and educational institution with wide-ranging influence in the formation of the structures and theology of Hinduism and Jainism. Recently, scholars of South Asian religion have turned their attention to understand these institutions and their role in the creation of sectarian identity and theology, as educational and economic centers, and symbols of sovereign power. This essay is not attempting thorough historical account of ascetic institutions in India. Instead, its focus is to highlight the existing and recent scholarship on the matha to encourage more research on the topic. Therefore, this essay provides an overview of recent trends in the scholarship of mathas in India, focusing on exemplary works that have helped us to understand the history of these institutions more deeply, providing an overview of the matha through an overview of recent work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12476
JournalReligion Compass
Volume17
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies

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