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Mesocosm: Hinduism and the Organization of a Traditiona Author:Robert I. Levy with the collaboration of
Mesocosm offers an entirely new understanding of the role of a traditional Hindu city In the lives, of Its. Inhabitants. Formerly the capital of Nepal, the city of Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley was, by the mid 1970s. the last surviving example of a kind of city once characteristic of archaic civilizations. In Bhaktapur. Hinduism reached Its fullest potential for organizing communities. Robert Levy Was able to document Bhaktapur's unique structure. in which the public life of the community and the private worlds of its members shared a complex social and religious relationship. before modernism overtook the city and began to transform It.
Levy, views the city as a 'mesocosm'. mediating between the microcosm of the Individual and the macrocosm of the culturally conceived larger universe. With a highly integrated society and culture. organized for the most part through religious symbols. Bhaktapur is a sacred space. Roles assigned by an elaborate caste system. a pantheon of Immanent gods, and the tempos and forms of the festival year and various rites of passage construct a 'civic dance' within that special, a web of communication and Instruction which deeply affects Bhaktapur's citizens? Hinduism and Its symbolism permeate the life of the city and organize the personal experience of Its Inhabitants.
Levy Investigates the meaning of the community to the people who live there and suggests how the religious forms that have challenged Hinduism In South Asia-Christianity and, above all Islam-are profoundly antithetical to Hinduism as the organizing principle for cities such as Bhaktapur. Mesocosm Is a groundbreaking contribution to anthropology. social and religious history. and Nepalese and South Asian studies.
About the author:
Robert I. Levy is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California. San Diego. and author of the highly regarded seminal study, Tahitians: Mind and Experience in the Society Islands. That work and Mesocosm reflect the author's ongoing exploration of the interrelationship between different kinds of community organization and the private experience and personal organization of those communities' Inhabitants.
Publication: Mandala Book Point Number of Pages: 828+XXII ISBN: 81-208-1038-4