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Sin and Flaws in Kerala Temple Astrology

Abstract : Indian concepts for which the terms 'sin' and 'expiation' are regularly given are respectively pāpa and prāyaścitta (Skt.). They are often associated with the notion of karma: briefly said, the misfortune which one experiences may be explained as being the consequence of one's own acts committed in a previous life and those past actions are termed 'sinful' in English translations. A 'sinner' may however alleviate to some extent the consequences of his 'sins' by practicing 'expiations'. Put into English in this vocabulary, things look familiar, perhaps a bit too much. My argument is that in the context of astrology, what is rendered as 'sin' or 'expiation' corresponds to a more ambivalent conception of wrong deeds, of their consequences, and of the solutions they call for, than what may be found in Christian-inspired cultures. This suggests in turn that the contrast drawn between 'the 'transcendental' and the 'practical' aspects of religion, may not be a very fruitful one.
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Gilles Tarabout. Sin and Flaws in Kerala Temple Astrology. Phyllis Granoff & Koichi Shinohara. Sin and Sinners. Perspectives from Asian Religions, E.J.Brill, pp.309-323, 2012, Numen Book Series, n°139, 9789004229464. ⟨halshs-00870206⟩

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