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How People Recognize Charisma: The Case of Darshan in Radhasoami and Divine Light Mission

Lucy DuPertuis
Sociological Analysis
Vol. 47, No. 2 (Summer, 1986), pp. 111-124
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/3711456
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3711456
Page Count: 14
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How People Recognize Charisma: The Case of Darshan in Radhasoami and Divine Light Mission
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Abstract

This paper examines the recognition of charisma as an active, conscious social process involving the confirmation of belief through non-cognitive methods of altering perception. In the illustrative case of Sant Mat/Radhasoami/Divine Light Mission tradition the Hindu concept and ritual of darshan is examined. Devotees use meditative means to recognize charisma in the guru considered as the formless Absolute, as himself, and as a "presence" generated within the community of followers. The aim on all three levels is ecstatic merging of a separate sense of self with the Absolute,. It is conjectured that once Westerners learned this they no longer felt need of the guru. The discussion calls for further research on social components of mystical practices.

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