Song Choices of Swiss Sathya Sai Baba Devotees

Meier, Vanessa (2014). Song Choices of Swiss Sathya Sai Baba Devotees. Diskus, 16(1), pp. 68-81. Bath College of Higher Education

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The charismatic and controversial Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba is the centre of attention and devotion for a great number of adherents from various national, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. Due to its global spread, the Sathya Sai Baba movement is an ideal case for examining displaced religious practices. Singing is a vital part of the religious practice of Sai devotees. In this article I will discuss the contents and usage of the songbook that Swiss devotees compiled. We can observe the extent to which Indian contents are carried over and how they are supplemented with Swiss songs, but also with songs perceived as being part of a universal spiritual treasury of songs (e.g. Native American, Hebrew or International Christian songs). I will suggest that the concept of de- and reterritorialization helps us to analyze the practices of this global religious community. Additionally, I will argue that the devotees’ choice of songs and their singing practices are indeed a manifestation of their claim to universalism as well as their need to be rooted locally. I will further argue that a globalized religious movement is limited in dealing with the encounter of diverse cultural contents by the strategy of reterritorialization, but beyond that creates a new and supraterritorial cultural context.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute for the Science of Religion

Graduate School:

Graduate School of the Humanities (GSH)

UniBE Contributor:

Meier, Vanessa


200 Religion
200 Religion > 290 Other religions
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 390 Customs, etiquette & folklore




Bath College of Higher Education




Vanessa Lange

Date Deposited:

03 Feb 2015 16:53

Last Modified:

15 Sep 2020 15:56

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Religion, kulturelle Globalisierung, Deterritorialisierung, Sathya Sai Baba, Guru, religiöse Praxis, Liedgut




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