An insightful, short morality tale about a small compound (agrahara) of Brahmins living in South East India around 1930 or 1940. A FAB (Fallen-Away Brahmin), who lives among them with his concubine, dies. As he is unclean, there is indecision about burial rites and cremation—if they should perform the rites then who should perform them. And, no good Brahmin can eat until this corpse is disposed of. Days go by, the corpse rots in the heat. The Brahmins begin to sneak food by visiting “lesser Brahmins” in nearby compounds. The leader, Praneshacharya, consults with their special deity, Maruti, to no avail. But his overnight consultation brings about his fall from purity and eventually from pride. There is no salvation or reincarnation in this book, only revelation for Praneschacharya about his sins of pride.
Samskara includes an excellent Afterward, Notes, and the Conversation with the Author. As a western reader, I do not expect to pick up a book based in the Hinduism and understand it as I would a Catholic book. My comprehension would be superficial without the excellent explanations following the book text. So, thank you, Oxford Review Press, for publishing a book that is entertaining and informative.
A good read if you are into East Indian culture.