Chanting of the pirith is also believed to invoke the blessings of the gods. Thus, it may be noted that there are very strong spiritual and religious connotations associated with both of these religious ceremonies, which are an essential part of Buddhism. The views of Eliade would be quite relevant in the context of both the Kandy Perahera and pirith chanting because Eliade believes that the experience is something very special that cannot necessarily be condensed into the social, economic or psychological spheres. For Eliade, the religious experience is unique because it is scared and special.
According to Eliade, “ to try to grasp the essence of such a phenomenon by means of physiology, psychology, sociology, economics, linguistics, art, or any other is false” (Pals 2006: 197). Eliade firmly believes that trying to understand the experience of religion by condensing them into one or more of these spheres mentioned above would be quite impossible because it would tend to ignore the sacred element inherent in them. The significance of these religious rituals is the spiritual feelings that it produces in the people, and the music, in particular, has a special significance for Buddhists because the pirith chanting is supposed to be associated with feelings of peace and closeness to the spiritual supreme being. Eliade’ s views would apply quite well in this context.
For him, “ sacred” is the feeling that people get when they are being gripped by “ gripped by a reality that is wholly other than themselves – something mysterious, awesome, powerful, and beautiful” (Pals 2006, 199). Such a feeling, according to Eliade, cannot be explained through the frame of the rational; rather it is a unique feeling and phenomenon that is associated with the religious experience.
According to Eliade, the sacred is “ an intuitive burst of discovery” and during this process, “ the religious imagination sees things otherwise ordinary and profane as more than themselves and turns them into the sacred” (Pals 2006, 205). This can be applied in the context of the parade of the Kandy Perahera, the dancers and jugglers could be deemed to be heathen elements that are not necessarily religious or sacred, yet they are a part of the religious rituals associated with Buddhism.
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