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The Afterlife of Sai Baba


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From ethnography to archive, from text to film, McLain skillfully weaves together the most comprehensive study we have to date of Sai Baba of Shirdi, convincingly situating the 'original' Sai Baba within the modern religious history of India, right where he belongs. -- Christian Novetzke, author of Religion and Public Memory: A Cultural History of Saint Namdev in India The first comprehensive academic book on the hugely influential Indian holy man, Shirdi Sai Baba, fills an important void in the scholarship. -- Hugh Urban, author of Tantra: Sex, Secrecy, Politics, and Power in the Study of Religion

About the Author

Karline McLain is chair and associate professor of religious studies at Bucknell University. She is the author of India’s Immortal Comic Books: Gods, Kings, and Other Heroes.


Engaging and accessible. . . . A valuable contribution not only for its ability to fill a content gap in the study of modern South Asian religion, but for its successful use of this data to explore the inherent paradoxes that reformist spiritual movements face in such a context. Beyond scholars of South Asian and transnational Hinduism, the clarity and accessibility of this work will make it pertinent to anyone interested in the dynamics of modern religious syncretism.
*Reading Religion*

Karline McLain’s multilayered, multitextual, and multisited study, The Afterlife of Sai Baba, vividly and compellingly depicts the complex and evolving 100-year legacy since the death of famous Maharashtrian saint, Sai Baba from Shirdi.
*H-Net Reviews*

A welcome, long-overdue scholarly account of the development of multiple modes of veneration of Shirdi Sai Baba. . . . McLain’s inviting and lively prose will appeal to a wide range of readers, including general readers interested in saint cults and religion, as well as to those with specialized interests in South Asian popular religion and history. . . . This book would be a wonderful text to use with university students in history, anthropology, and religious studies.
*Nova Religio*

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