Vol 6 Issue 1 January 2019-February 2019
Abstract:This paper demonstrates the community-centric existence of the Santal, from which emerges a socialistic view of religion. For the Santal, religion is the symbol and expression of a collective living. The Santal’s idea of the sacred generates from fear, anxiety and survival strategies, and is not limited to an impalpable higher being, but also responds to different components of nature. The meaning of an individual’s being is wholly manifested only in conjunction with other aspects of the world that s/he lives in. These comprise inanimate and animate elements of the nature, such as hills, forests, rivers, birds and animals, as well as a belief system that include gods, spirits and ancestors. As the Santal philosophy is based on pleasure principle and a pacifist view of life, it does not believe in dividing among the people.
Rather than centering religiosity on the hierarchical relationship with one high god, the Santal practices camaraderie with anthropomorphic spirits that intercept one’s everyday life and activities. Although the Santal considers Dharam as the supreme spirit, s/he also believes in propitiating the village spirits as well as the ancestral and domestic spirits, who keep a watch over the villagers and stand for the betterment of the village, communal health and happiness.
Indigenous groups like the Santal percieve nature as complementing their being. This makes their understanding of religion and god sensory, inclusionary and a part of the mundane. They conceive different communal gatherings and festivities as well as birth, marriage and death rites in terms of bodily experience. For such an individual, the universe and the body share an inter-reciprocal relationship. The phenomenological essence of the Santal spirituality criticizes the modern fractured conception of the world that is essentially dualistic, mechanistic and hierarchical, and uncouples the body from the mind, culture from nature, and human from non-human.
Keywords:Santal, religion, body, community, spirits.
SANTAL – CHILD OF THE NATURE
International Journal of Novel Research in Humanity and Social Sciences