The Sathya Sai Baba global civil religious movement was founded in the 1960s by a charismatic Indian guru, Sathya Sai Baba. Based on devotion to Sathya Sai Baba, the movement claims approximately ten million members and eleven thousand devotional centers worldwide and pursues the universal values of truth, righteousness, peace, love, and nonviolence.
Reflecting both Hindu and Muslim religious practices as well as Buddhist, Christian, and Zoroastrian influences, Sathya Sai not only attracts devotees from a number of different backgrounds but also moves easily within new worlds, undergoing a kind of "cultural translation" as it lands in new settings. Through an analysis of Sathya Sai's fascinating migration, "Winged Faith" investigates the culturally embedded concepts that "take wing" as the movement quite literally moves from one location to another. Focusing on the problems of relationality and pluralism that seem endemic to processes of globalization, "Winged Faith" questions narratives of self and being; circuits of sacred mobility, postmodern religious space, and the politics of nostalgic affect; sacred spectating and illusion; moral stakeholding and the problems of community building; embodiment and the translation of embedded bodily practices; and the global consumption of sacred objects along with the rituals and spaces that culturally encode valorization. A thrilling study of a transcultural, transurban phenomenon, "Winged Faith" introduces new methods for discussing and interpreting religious practice.
A welcome addition to our catalog of religious movements and a timely reminder that circulation does not flow in only one direction-and never will again. -- Jack David Eller Anthropology Review Database [An] informative and erudite book. -- Alexandra Kent Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute a rich and challenging text. -- Hanna H. Kim H-Asia Winged Faith is a readable and carefully documented account of an extraordinary modern religious figure, but its appeal is much wider. It is an important contribution to the literature on globalization and a valuable corrective to the pervasive view that globalization, especially cultural globalization, is simply westernization. -- Bryan S. Turner Society It is a book that should be widely read by scholars and people coming from a wide range of disciplines and perspectives. -- Amit Chaturvedi Contemporary South Asia Srinivas' impressive study argues for new visions of pluralism that hinge upon an engaged cosmopolitanism...One hopes Srinivas' impressive work will be read by scholars from numerous fields, as its reach is incredibly broad. -- Jeffrey M. Brackett Journal of Hindu Studies