A consideration of the relationship between religious ritual and theatre : with special reference to Hindu forms of worship.
Pillay, Charles Moghamberry.
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This study seeks to explore the relationship between religious ritual and theatre through an examination of the manner in which the Hindu religion functions. In the Introduction to this thesis, the nature of both religious rituals and theatre, and the similarities that exist between ' these forms of performance, are explored. At the heart of any performance is the desire to communicate. Religious rituals are primarily a means of communicating the philosophy of a particular religion. In this thesis, the basic beliefs and philosophy of the Hindu religion are described; the imagery, symbols and mythology, that have evolved with the religion, are analysed as extensions of the basic philosophy of the religion; and the manner in which these symbols and images function in Hindu religious practices is examined. This is followed by a detailed documentation of two Hindu rituals. The first, the Havan is a home based ritual, while the second, the Fire-Walking Festival, is temple based. The historical evolution of these rituals, based on essentially scriptural evidence, is also examined. An overview of the impact of the Hindu religion on Indian theatre concludes this dissertation.