Rapt in the Name: The Ramnamis, Ramnam, and Untouchable Religion in Central India
In Rapt in the Name, Ramdas Lamb provides an intriguing account of the Ram bhakti tradition in India. Less well-known in the West than the tradition of devotion to Krishna, the Ram tradition is an important component of Hinduism. Ram is the most-worshipped form of the divine in North India today and has long been particularly important to those of the lower castes throughout India. Lamb explores both the evolution of the tradition and the rise of lower caste religious movements devoted to Ram, specifically the Ramnami Samaj, an Untouchable religious movement in Central India.
Lamb’s study of the Ramnamis has spanned nearly three decades, first on a personal level as a Hindu monk and later as both a friend and a researcher. He discusses the historical origins, as well as present-day forms and structure of the Samaj, including a description of its distinctive ritual dress and practices. Among the more innovative aspects of the sect is its adaptation of the story of Lord Ram that is uniquely woven into its devotional repetition of his name (Ramnam). In addition, Lamb shares biographical sketches of six Ramnamis, each of which reveals the freedom of individual exploration and expression that is integral to the sect. This is a fascinating account of religious life and adaptation on the periphery of society.
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Providing the Context
Historical Development of the Ram Tradition
Religion and the Low Caste in Central India
Its Contemporary Forms
Ramnamis Contemporary Use of the Manas and Ramnam
Six Biographic Sketches
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AdhR Adhyatma Ramayana ascetic became become beej mantras began beliefs Bhajan Mela brahmanical caste Hindus central chamar chant Ramnam Chhattisgarh continued culture deity early elders festival Gauravram Ghasidas gyanis Hanuman harijan high-caste Hindi Hinduism Ibid initiated Kabir Kabirpanthis Kamalabai Krishna leela live low caste Madhya Pradesh Manas Manas verses mandali mantras marriage Moti movement mukut nirgun North India ordhni orthodox panth Parasuram parents participants philosophy political popular practice of Ramnam Puranas Ram bhakti Ram story Ram's Rama Ramanandi Ramcaritmanas Ramjatan Ramkatha Ramnam tattoos Ramnami Samaj Ramtaram recitation refer region relationship religion ritual role sacred sadasyas sadhus sagun Sanskrit Satnamis satsang scripture sect members sect's sectarian shawls shruti shudra Siddharam smriti social and religious stambha status subcaste Sukhibai takkar Tantric Tapasyananda tion tradition Tulsidas Tulsidas's Untouchable Upanisad Vaishnav Valmiki Ramayana value system various Vedas Vedic village wear worship