Early life[ edit ] U. Ananthamurthy at Manasa Gangotri, University of Mysore in the early s before embarking to England. His education started in a traditional Sanskrit school in Doorvasapura and continued in Tirthahalli and Mysore.
Samskara begins with one of the central cleansing and purification rituals in the rites of Hindu worship. Praneshacharya, the most respected Brahmin in his traditional and conservative agrahara, begins each day by bathing the sickly and desiccated body of his infirm wife. Praneschacharya has faithfully carried out this ritual for more than twenty years.
He views sexless marriage as a penance and a sacrifice that will deliver salvation in this life and in the next. But the death of an impious and sinful Brahmin, Naranappa, in the agrahara brings Praneshacharya to a spiritual crisis of his own that makes him question his long-practiced rituals and beliefs.
Samskara—the compulsory rite given to Brahmins at their passing—becomes the central controversy of the novel. Naranappa has renounced the Brahmin rituals of the agrahara and has carried out the most outrageous and offensive acts to show his disapproval of his fellow worshippers and neighbors.
The most impious of his actions, however, was casting off his lawful wife and his choosing to live with a lower class, outcast woman named Chandri. Despite his hedonistic behavior, the Brahmins never excommunicated Naranappa from their small, conservative village.
This announcement causes an immediate conflict over the performance of the death rites for this blasphemous man whom they continued to allow to live among them.
Now that he has died, none of them want to be responsible for performing the death rites for his body. Praneshacharya addresses his village, thrown into great turmoil: Can we just fold our arms and stare at a dead body laid out in the agrahara?
According to ancient custom, until the body is properly removed, there can be no worship, no bathing, no prayers, no food, nothing. And, because he was not excommunicated, no one but a Brahmin can touch his body.
Between the horrible stench, the abundance of rats and appearance of vultures, all members of the community must flee.
It is no wonder that these Brahmins would be upset by this depiction of their religious sect as ridiculous hypocrites with individual hedonistic obsessions. The Brahmins in the novel at least feign piety and self-control, while Naranappa openly flaunts his rejection of their strict practices.
For example, Dasacharya is a miserly man who gets all of his food and nourishment from the meals that Brahmins receive at death ceremonies and anniversaries.
For the first time his connoisseur eyes had the chance to appraise this precious object which did not normally stir out of the house, this choice object that Naranappa had brought from Kundapura.
Look at those breasts. Her eyes, which should be fickle, are not misty with grief and fear, but she looks good that way. In order to entice the Brahmins to bury her lover, Chandri takes off her gold jewelry and adornments and offers these riches to the men of the village.
The lure of gold causes many of the Brahmins to change their minds about performing the death rituals for Naranappa; several of them decide that the material gain from the burial is worth putting their Brahminhood in jeopardy.
Praneschacharya performs an elaborate ritual and chants in front of the image of the god in the hopes of getting some answers. After several hours, he is exhausted, hungry, and frustrated because the Monkey god has given him no signal.
He wanders out of the temple and into the forest, where he encounters Chandri, herself deep in mourning.samskara by u.r. ananthamurthy reviewed by jim hepplewhite Samskara is a fine, precise novel of the psychological kind that New York Review of Books can be proud of. Samskara: A Rite for a Dead Man, Second Edition (Oxford India Perennials Series) [U.R.
Ananthamurthy] on schwenkreis.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Examining the caste system, culture, religious rules, and traditions, as well as the ambivalent relationship between handed-down cultural values and the new values of a changing worldReviews: 2.
The blurb tells me that Samskara, a Rite for a Dead Man is a classic of modern Indian literature but I bought it when the author U.R. Ananthamurthy () was a finalist for the Man Booker International Prize/5.
Narannapa’s demonic ways and Praneshacharya’s penance.
Eros and Thanatos in "Samskara" by U.R. Ananthamurthy Mar 9, It was out of this living world that two of his greatest works — Samskara and Bharatipura I felt completely broken when U.R. Ananthamurthy passed away on Friday evening. It was as if a. Samskara is an effective tale of a community choked by unsustainable tradition.
Ananthamurthy offers fine portraits of a variety of characters as they struggle between natural urges and societal expectations, and has crafted an impressive story here.