Research project: To what extent is there a varying degree of sacredness At the Community of the Many Names of God?

The degree of sacredness at the Community of the Many Names of God, later to be referred to as Skanda Vale, varies highly based on the criteria that it is being studied under.  The chosen definition of sacredness has the strongest effect on its own variance, but beyond this a number of other variables also hold significant value in this investigation.  These include the method that the concept is investigated with, and the topics under which it is studied.  The studies into each of these criteria will be represented in this investigation, leading to a conclusion on how far there is a clear variance of sacredness at Skanda Vale.  Before this study continues, it is important to give a brief outline of the history behind the community, and how the underlying concepts of the study will be used.

Skanda Vale is a community founded on the principles of Sanathana Dharma, located near Carmarthen, West Wales.  It was established in 1973 after its founder Guru Sri Subramanium, later to be referred to by his honorific of Guruji, had a vision of what was to later become Skanda Vale.[1]  Since the death of the Guru in 2007 the community has continued to expand, with an annual visitor rate of about 70,000 visitors a year, of whom most are either Tamil or Gujarati Indians.[2]  The community is fairly distinct amongst the Indian-influenced traditions in that it utilises the belief system of Sanathana Dharma.

Sanathana Dharma, or ‘eternal religion’, is the official belief system that is adopted by the community.[3]  Although members of the community repeatedly rejected the idea that they are, in essence, a Hindu community, it must be acknowledged that the roots of Sanathana Dharma lie within the western conceptualisation of Hinduism.  This is due to the presence of the Sanathana Dharma concept within the Dhammapada, the Manusmrti, and the Epics, all of which can be categorised into the Hindu tradition.[4]  Therefore, this essay will follow that Skanda Vale can be related to Hinduism, and so will sometimes utilise Hindu explanations for different practices.  The essay will also use this relation in helping to explain how the community responds to the concept of sacredness.

Sacredness is, as Stirrat defined, ‘one of the most problematic categories in anthropology’.[5]  Not only does the concept have a number of different possible meanings, but it can also be used for the same meaning and in the same context as several other terms.  These other terms include, but are not limited to: holy, reverential, pure, divine, spiritual, and godly.  With this being acknowledged, it is important for the study to narrow its definition of ‘sacred’.  For this reason, this study has concentrated on two forms of sacredness in assessing the extent to which sacredness in the Community of the Many Names of God varied.

The first form of sacredness, the ‘absolute’ sacredness model as defined by Mircia Eliade, is a notion of sacredness in its ultimate reality sense.  Stirrat sums up Eliades definition as being ‘concerned with universals; with the possibility of individual salvation whether it be moksha, nirvana or heaven’.  He suggests that this model of sacredness ‘has a relevance for human life not as a model of social life but as a model for individual emulation and striving’.[6]  This definition can be used in describing an individual’s experiences during practices at Skanda Vale such as pujas and meditations as representing a striving towards a higher goal.  Thus the experiences of the individual will prove to be valuable in analysing the sacredness at Skanda Vale, as they will help to fulfil the criteria of sacredness as laid out in Eliades’ definition.  Due to the sole focus of this definition on the individual, however, this definition will need to be backed up with an alternative definition that will allow for further exploration into sacredness.

The second form of sacredness, Durkheim’s ‘social’ model of the sacred, describes the sacred as being this-worldly and as a part of daily life.[7]  His suggestion of the sacred as ‘anything a collectivity deems sacred, regardless of its pertinence to transcendental matters’ is implicative that the sacred is created by people.[8]  This can be related to Skanda Vale in the sense that sacred things that are shared collectively, and thus not exclusive to the individual, could be categorised as forms of social sacredness.  These could include all forms of iconography, ritual, and possibly sacred people and animals.  This definition allows for the study to observe how these different elements are sacred in practise, without the focus on an end goal.


The initial methodology for the project varied from the final method undertaken.  Whilst the aimed method for the study consisted of anonymous questionnaires to be handed out, individual formal interviews with devotees, and my own personal experiences, it changed shape after the title of the study was forced to change within the first few days of staying in the community.  Alongside the title of the study changing, the anonymous questionnaire became irrelevant.  This enabled the interviews with devotees to become more central to the study.  Also, due to a few of the devotees informally advising me that the only knowledge I could gain of my research topic would be through personal experiences, I decided to make my own personal observations more central to the study.  This resulted in a deeper self-immersion into the religious activity of the community, with a result being that I could gain my own personal experience of sacredness in the community.

The questionnaire that was drawn up had the idea that it would be used as a directive to follow in conducting interviews.[9]  It was aimed that by asking such open questions as ‘what does ‘sacred’ mean to you?’, and, ‘what is your relation to the sacred?’, the respondents would give qualitative insight into the nature of sacredness.  The data collected from this questionnaire would then be used to explain how the residents of the community represented sacredness in the community.

The interview template had a varying effectiveness.  In the first interview, with Swami 1, I soon found myself unable to ask some of the questions due to the unsuitability of the questions to the flow of the conversation.[10]  I therefore improvised in my questioning, deviating from my script but conclusively giving myself a broader outline of sacredness in general than I would have gained if I had followed the script.  After this first interview, I decided to modify the research topic.

The research topic evolved from being focussed on the sacredness of animals into becoming a study on sacredness in general at Skanda Vale.  Because of this, I found in later interviews to be asking questions in response to experiences that I had had in between interviews rather than asking about specific things for my research topic.  For instance, it was only because of my sheer curiosity that I decided to ask about the monument at the top of the hill.  The conclusion to my question was that it was Guruji’s samadhi lingam, or burial place, which would become a main point analysed in the study.  Because I allowed the study to open up into being focussed on sacredness in general, not only did most of my conversations with people become relevant, but my own experience gained importance.  For this reason, I decided to give a greater emphasis to my own personal experiences, thus enabling me to split the methodology into emic methods and etic methods.

The emic method, consisting of my own emotional observations as recorded in my diary at the end of each day whilst staying in the community, provides to the study my own experiences of sacredness.  These are crucial in providing the study an extra layer of depth, as my personal experiences represent the experiences of an open-minded visitor to Skanda Vale.  Accompanying the diary entries are my retrospective analogies of the different events and situations, as constructed whilst writing up this study.  These analogies work around the problems with some of the diary entries, such as the fact that most of the diary entries were unfinished due to tiredness whilst writing them.  The emic method, however, does not hold the same kind of academic validity as the etic method holds.  For this reason, the more scientifically valid etic method was concentrated on equally as much as the experiential emic method.

The etic methods that were used gave an ethnographic-based depth and validity to the study.  The questionnaire formed the basis for my questions to begin with in the interviews.  These interviews were with four different long-term monastics in the community, as arranged by a coordinator in the community.  The information gained from these interviews formed the basis for the evidence gathered to support my claims in the study.  Casual conversations, which took place during meal times and whilst working, have also contributed in part to the study.  Also, general observations have been made on, for instance, the formality of the pujas.  Each of these forms of data collection have contributed to making this study as valid in its claims as possible.  These data collection methods were reinforced by the background reading that was done before going on placement.

Before going on placement, several articles, like Stirrat’s ‘Sacred Models’, had been read to understand the concept of sacredness in a general sense.  The results from this reading were inconclusive: ‘sacredness’ could have a few different implications, and I did not know which one to follow.  For this reason, I decided to collect all of the data that I possibly could, and leave the analysing of it until later on.  This enabled me to fulfil my aim for the project of understanding sacredness at Skanda Vale, as being open to analysing all of the collected data allowed me to filter through which stuff was relevant and which was not.  In finding the relevant data, an understanding of how to use the concept of ‘sacredness’ was gained, and the study could be built upon the chosen definitions.

Research Ethics

Throughout the course of this study, a number of measures were made to ensure good research ethics.  The measures taken were to ensure confidentiality, to gain informed consent, to gain approval for all photography taken in the community, amongst others.  These were as are advised in the university research-related-documents ‘Research and Ethics at Bath Spa University’ and ‘Data Protection for Research’.

The interviewees disregarded the need for the ethical practise that needed to be undertaken.  I managed to get a couple of consent forms signs by different interviewees, but each interviewee appeared to see this as tedious practise and refused to sign more than one form.  They were each also told that their anonymity would be ensured, even though they each stated that they did not mind their names being used.  With the exceptions of the consent forms failing to be retrieved for a couple of the interviews, all interview-based ethics criteria were fulfilled.

There were a number of criteria that the community gave towards ethical photography.  For instance, no photography was to be taken in either of the indoor temples or during the pujas at the outdoor temple.  I have previously experienced this at other sacred sites, and being told this simply reinforced the notion of the centrality of sacredness to life at Skanda Vale.  The university form for consent towards photography was signed on the basis of my agreement to the fulfil the restrictions imposed by the community.

The study

This study on the sacredness at Skanda Vale has been divided into six different headings.  These are: animals, pujas and other rituals, people, icons, and food.  This study will relate how sacredness varied in each section based on the findings that have been made from both a personal experiential perspective, and from a community observational perspective.  For this reason, both emic and etic data collection methods have been used.  In the emic, the observations of my own experiences have been related to each different section.  In the etic, the observations that I made of the thoughts and actions of other people within the community, both laypeople and monastics, have been related to each different section.

The hypothesis for this study is that sacredness would be found to be an underlying core of the community, and that most parts of life at Skanda Vale have a central theme of sacredness.


With the inspiration for this study taken from the gross media furore regarding the forced euthenasia of Shambo the sacred Skanda Vale bullock in July 2007, this study initially treated sacredness solely in the animal context.  With the questionnaire being designed solely to investigate how the monastics explained sacredness in animals, the answers from the interviews were expected to be loosely based upon the hypothesised results.  This did not happen after the first, surprising, interview.  However, the unexpected replies from the respondents are useful contributions to the study, as are my own personal experiences.

One of the main focusses of the formal interviews was my personal investigation into how the community’s treatment of animals varies based on the animals’ level of sacredness.  This investigation was prompted by the research that I had conducted previous to going on placement into the case of Shambo, the sacred bullock who famously was subjected to euthanasia after reputedly contracting bovine tuberculosis, who was repeatedly referred to as ‘the sacred bullock’.  I aimed to explore how far the Skanda Vale community committed to its statement that ‘fundamental to the philosophy of Skanda Vale is that all life is sacred’,[11] whilst also ascertaining if Shambo’s notoriety was due to his higher level of sacredness within the community.

My interest particularly in the sacredness of Shambo as compared to other animals was due to the mixed messages that I got from the reading I had done previous to going on placement.  In the article on the case of Shambo on the Skanda Vale website, little is written about the two cows, Bhakti and Dhakshini, that were similarly subjected to euthanasia a month after Shambo’s death.  Whilst Bhakti and Dhakshini are referred to as ‘other members of our family’, Shambo’s status evolved from being ‘one of the Temple bulls’ on 27th April 2007, to being ‘the sacred Temple bull’ on 23rd July 2007.[12]  This final status of Shambo, as ‘the sacred Temple bull’, gave me the idea that Shambo had increased in sacredness during these three months, and thus concurred with the idea that sacredness is a concept with varying attributes at Skanda Vale.

I enquired into the varying degrees of sacredness during the formal interviews that were conducted.  From these interviews, a few key points were found.

The dedication of the community towards preserving life was found to have been inspired by several different philosophies.  An article on the website states that the animals that are looked after fulfil an important part of the discipline and training of the community for ‘selflessly serving and learning to experience the sacred principle of Unity in Diversity’.[13]  This discipline of selflessly serving was explained in both interviews Appendix 1 and Appendix 3.[14]  In Appendix 1 a story was told by the Swami of the aggressive bullock Mukhi.  Mukhi was described as having been aggressive for his entire life up to the point of him not being able to stand any more.  To protect against internal combustion which would have killed the bullock, brought on by stomach acids not being able to be released because of the bullock not being able to move at all, members of the community rolled him over every day until he let out his gases.  After a while of having this treatment given to him, Mukhi became very calm and placid, and did not show any sign of aggression any more.  He lived on for two years after losing mobility, within which every day he would be rolled over by members of the community.  The Swami explained that the change in the bullock’s behaviour was due to an evolution of the bullock’s soul, whereby he became conscious of and identified with love, having paid his karma through his physical suffering.  He also explained that there was a great joy that was felt by all in the community on the day of Mukhi’s death.  The principle of ‘Unity in Diversity’ was expressed in this story in the sense that the selflessness, or karma yoga, that was practised by the members of the community who looked after Mukhi created the love and joy, or bhakti yoga, that was felt by all upon Mukhi’s death.  The universality of the yogas was very much apparent in this story, with there being no suggestion of any boundaries separating the people from the bullock.  This universality continued to be found when looking at the philosophy towards wild animals too.

Despite the visible signs suggesting that the only animals that were truly looked after were the animals that were, in effect, domesticated, the universality of sacredness appeared to include wild animals as well.  In interview Appendix 3, the swami told of how areas of the land owned by Skanda Vale are left for the wildlife, with an emphasis given to some areas for promoting biodiversity.  He told of how foxes treat Skanda Vale as a safe place from hunters, and that on several occasions members of the community have had to stop fox-hunters from coming onto Skanda Vale land.[15]  I was later also told by several members of the community about how one of the monastics feeds the wild birds outside his hut with a real enthusiasm towards encouraging more birds to create a home out of Skanda Vale.  The exact motives of this monastic for as to why they wanted to encourage more birds to live around Skanda Vale are unknown, although it can be assumed that it would in part have been due to the teaching that all life is sacred, and if there were more life then then would be more sacredness.  These statements that the swami gave in this interview and the example given by the practises of the bird-feeding monastic complemented the suggestion that has previously been mentioned that ‘all life is sacred’, as wild animals have inherently not been excluded from also being classified as sacred.


Whilst the puja was not in itself explicitly described by any of the members of the community as being sacred, on analysis of the information gathered it is clear that sacredness is absolutely central to pujas.  Pujas also arguably have a varying level of sacredness based on the type of puja, length and form of puja.  This variance will be explored based both on my own personal spiritual and observational experiences, and on the information gathered from interviews and conversations.

The definition of a puja was very clearly defined by several of the interviewees.  Swami 3 described the puja to be an ‘expression of devotion through ritual worship’, whilst Swami 2 explained about how the different parts of the puja, like the singing, the flame, the icons, and the chanting, are aimed to be points of focus to bring about the power and grace of God.  Whilst these definitions do not actually utilise the word ‘sacred’, they both imply that the sacred is very central to pujas.  Thus pujas can be validly analysed in order to distinguish a variance in levels of sacredness.  This varying level of sacredness will be determined from information gathered from both the interviews and conversations with community members, and from my own personal experience of the different pujas.

I recorded having very different experiences of the different pujas in my diary.  In the recording of the most intense puja, on Day 7 I noted my spirit was ‘almost shocked into silence’.[16]  Also noteworthy was the puja on the morning of Day 6, where there were two lingams that ‘immediately took my eye’, with there being a ‘very powerful presence there’.[17]  These experiences contrast significantly with the experience of the 5am puja on Day 5, which was recorded as being ‘almost a little bit gloomy’.[18]  The emotional response that I got from the different pujas suggest that the levels of sacredness were different in the pujas given in the examples, with Day 5 being the least sacred of the three highlighted pujas.


In researching the potential of varying levels of sacredness in people at Skanda Vale, I was particularly attracted by the hierarchical monastic order as a focus point for how there could be a variance in sacredness.  However, as there was no practical way that I could ascertain that sacredness indeed did vary between the hierarchical order, I resolved to research into the variation of levels of experiences that were implicated by hierarchical status.

The notion of Sanathana Dharma, or timeless consciousness, seemed to be all-pervading in my study on variance in experience level.  In Appendix 2 the Swami explained that hierarchical position is not so important in a spiritual sense, and that everyone can get a great closeness of God.  This statement was mirrored in the many different tales that I was told of pilgrims who would come to Skanda Vale and experience a closeness to God.  However, the statement was also potentially refuted on at least one occasion.  I was told by a monastic in the community, previous to going to one particularly special puja, to make sure that I sit as close to the front as possible, for the energy is much more powerful when sitting closer to the front.  I agree wholeheartedly that this was the case, but what it implies is that the monastics in the community, who are normally seated at the front of the temple, receive the strongest of the energies.  Therefore, it is clear that hierarchy does play a role in defining the experiences of closeness to God at Skanda Vale, despite the suggestion by the Swami in Appendix 2 that everyone has an equal opportunity to get close to God.  This still does not, however, suggest that sacredness itself varies amongst people in the community.

In order to understand whether there is any one person that could be understood to be more sacred than another, it is important to analyse the role of Guruji, the founder of the community, who passed away in 2007.  On the Skanda Vale website, several stories are told of Guruji’s spiritual experiences.  One such continuous experience was his daily encounters with the Divine Mother, who is described as having been ‘simultaneously terrifying, overwhelming, ecstatic and blissful; sometimes taking form, and other times formless energy’.  Through these experiences, ‘Divine Mother’s warmth, sweetness and love softened the character of both Guruji and Skanda Vale as a whole’, leading to the inauguration of the Maha Shakti Temple in 1991.[19]  This story shows how Guruji either was sacred, or was closely connected to a sacredness, in order for him to have had the continuous experiences that he had.  This viewpoint is firmly backed up by Swami 3, who stated that Guruji was ‘a pure instrument of the divine’.  Clearly, Guruji is seen as having been very close to the sacred.  The extent to which he is seen as having been the most sacred person as Skanda Vale, however, can be questioned in exploring the ramifications of his death on the continuation of the community.

Guruji’s leadership of the community, both as sacred leader and as diplomatic leader, passed on to the Council of the Swamis following his death.  Swami 1 explained that, previous to his death, Guruji passed the leadership of the community on to the Council of the Swamis, ordaining five new Swamis in so doing.[20]  Swami 2 explained of how, after Guruji’s death, one of the Swamis had a spiritual experience where he was told to build a lingam on top of Guruji’s burial place.  Later, another Swami had an experience where he was given a message that the rock for the lingam should be found in Switzerland.  This led to an expedition being carried out in Switzerland, with the right rock being found and duly transported back to Wales by lorry.[21]  These two stories of communications between Swamis and the sacred suggest that the sacred transmissions that Guruji was receiving may have been passed over to the Council of the Swamis on his passing over of leadership of the community.  Whilst it is clear that he was the most sacred person at Skanda Vale whilst he was alive, it now seems to be implied that the Swamis are the most sacred people at Skanda Vale, for it was two of the Swamis that received the sacred transmissions after Guruji’s death.  With this being said, it is also important to analyse if Guruji’s samadhi lingam can be argued as being a part of the innate nature of Guruji, and therefore potentially a space for the transmission of the sacred through Guruji, or if it is to be treated as a consecrated icon without the possibility of strong links to the human form of Guruji.  This will also suggest whether Guruji remains to be sacred after his death, or whether his sacredness was confined to his time inside his human bodily form.

Guruji’s samadhi lingam is an example of how the sacredness of Guruji is still very central to Skanda Vale.  The site of the samadhi lingam, which, Swami 2 explained, was chosen by Guruji twenty years before he died, was consecrated six months before Guruji died.[22]  Guruji’s decision to be buried in concrete was explained in a few informal conversations with different community members as having been so that his immense shakti energy, which he had accumulated throughout his life, could be resonated in the concrete.  This suggests that Guruji still has eminence in community, as the shakti energy that is freely flowing through the area of the samadhi lingam is only there because of his decision that he would release all of it into the area upon his death.

The shakti energy that Guruji left in his burial place was then analysed extensively on an emic level.  Another significant feature that is suggestive of Guruji’s continued role as sacred leader of Skanda Vale is evident in the monthly pujas that are held at the samadhi lingam every full moon.  I was fortunate enough to witness one whilst I was staying at Skanda Vale, and through my experience during and after the puja I gained an understanding of some of the faith-based understandings of the community.  It was almost like as if, during this puja, I had a teacher helping me personally to understand the teachings.  During the puja, the community encircle themselves around the rock in the middle of the lingam, sing bhajans, rub jasmine-scented oil over the rock, give the rock aarti, and end with some meditation.  I found this procession to be very intense, feeling that there was a strong energetic presence in the area that we were in.  After I stayed and meditated for a significant amount of time, maybe up to an hour, I walked back to the main community area.  Whilst I was walking back, as is depicted in my diary entry for that day, ‘I felt like someone was either in me or walking very close to me’.  I related this experience to others in the community and to the other two students the next day, and all agreed that it was a powerful puja, with some understanding the feeling that I had of being followed whilst walking back.  I was told by one such community member that the energy that followed me down could have been the energy of Lord Subramanium, Guruji’s deity.  If this is so, the samadhi lingam could be viewed as being a frontier place for entering into the divine, and thus to be viewed as a very sacred location.  It seems to be important to detach Guruji’s bodily being from the samadhi lingam, and as such to treat the samadhi lingam as more of an icon than as a specific representation of Guruji.  With this being said, the argument over Guruji’s status after his death as continuing to be the most sacred person at Skanda Vale can be refuted.

The arguments displayed show that sacredness does vary amongst the community at Skanda Vale.  Whilst Guruji was alive he clearly held the most sacredness amongst the community at Skanda Vale.  Since his death, the sacredness appears to have moved to the monastic order as a collective or, more specifically, the initiated Swamis.

Relationship between sacredness and dharma

A few examples were found of a clear relationship between sacredness and dharma, whereby dharma would predominate the sacredness.  Both of these examples, one involving monastics missing pujas to work and the other involving over-eating to save against wasting blessed food, show how a situation that would be deemed to normally be sacred becomes overcome by dharma, with the sacredness being implicitly lost.

An example of when a puja could be missed because of another activity being deemed more important was given by Swami 2 in an informal conversation, whilst I was working with him.  He explained that, when some of the community were building the Sri Ranganatha temple sometime between 1997 and 1999, they would work very long days and sometimes nights, resulting in them missing all of the pujas.  He suggested that it was all worthwhile, because not only did Guruji personally visit the workers every day, but the building work also fulfilled the workers’ duty.  This is an example of when duty, or dharma, has had a greater importance than the sacred pujas.  A similar analogy can be made relating to sacred food, or prasad.

There were a few occasions when I felt that it was my duty to over-eat.  As the food served at mealtimes at Skanda Vale was prasad, we felt duty-bound to making sure that we finished all of the food that we had taken.  On one such occasion, I wrote in my diary of having to eat most of another student’s breakfast because she started to feel ill whilst eating it.  This came after I had asked for a smaller plate of food than normal, opting for a ‘medium’ sized plate rather than a ‘large’.  I dutifully finished all of the food, but in turn also spent the next few hours in discomfort whilst digesting the food.  On another occasion, I had a late dinner after being a part of a drumming jamming session and so had to eat my food very fast before the evening puja.  Because I ate so fast, I felt very lethargic throughout the puja.  These experiences are both suggestive of a predomination of dharma over the sacred.


The examples that have been given in this study show that there is a significant variation in sacredness in different areas of Skanda Vale.  Whilst the study on the variation in sacredness amongst the animals of Skanda Vale proved to be inconclusive, it seems to be clear that Guruji was the most sacred person at Skanda Vale up until his death.  Pujas, which are in themselves representations of the sacred, can also vary in sacredness based on the type and significance of the puja.  A final analogy, which is potentially the most potent, is that dharma can predominate sacredness.  When a pilgrim or monastic is duty-bound, they will give up the experience of the sacred in order to fulfil their duty.  Therefore, the sacredness varies between having the highest eminence, as was inherent during the samadhi lingam puja on Day 6, to being of low importance when dharma becomes more important.  The levels of sacredness have also evidently been mainly self-created; philosophies such as the philosophy of Unity in Diversity, and openness of the self to experiencing the fullest extent of the divine, affect how sacred a moment, life-form, or object are perceived to be.  There is a huge variation in sacredness at Skanda Vale.  This is, more than anything else, due to the wide spread of people from different cultures and backgrounds who visit or stay at Skanda Vale, and have different belief systems that affect their experience of the divine.

Word count: 5367/5000



Chryssides, G. and Geaves, R., The Study of Religion: An Introduction to Key Ideas and Methods.  London: Continuum, 2007.

Flood, G., An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Rodrigues H., Introducing Hinduism. Abingdon: Routledge, 2006.

 Journal articles

Geaves, R.,‘The Community of the Many Names of God: Sampradaya Construction in a Global Diaspora or New Religious Movement?’, Religions of South Asia. 2007, 1 (1), pp. 107-25.

Dimitrova, D., ‘The Development of Sanātana Dharma in the Twentieth Century: A Rādhāsoamī Guru’s Perspective’, International Journal of Hindu Studies. 2007, 11(1), pp. 89-98.

Stirrat, R.L., ‘Sacred Models’, Man. 1984, 19(2), pp. 199-215.

Orrù, M. and Wang, A., ‘Durkheim, Religion, and Buddhism’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 1992, 31(1), pp. 47-61.

Online sources

Skanda Vale,

– ‘About Us’ (Stable URL: [Accessed 10.01.2012].
– ‘Our Temples’ (Stable URL: [Accessed   10.01.2012].
– ‘Shambo’ (Stable URL: [Accessed 10.01.2012].
– ‘Skanda Vale – Spring 2008 Newsletter’ (Stable URL:       content/plugins/download-monitor/download.php?id=10) [Accessed 05.02.2012].
– ‘The History of Skanda Vale’ (Stable URL:     skanda-vale) [Accessed 05.02.2012].

[1]    ‘The History of Skanda Vale’, Skanda Vale (Stable URL: [Accessed 05.02.2012].

[2]    Ron Geaves, ‘The Community of the Many Names of God: Sampradaya Construction in a Global Diaspora or New Religious Movement?’, Religions of South Asia. 2007, 1 (1), pp. 107-25.

[3]    Diana Dimitrova, ‘The Development of Sanātana Dharma in the Twentieth Century: A Rādhāsoamī Guru’s Perspective’, International Journal of Hindu Studies. 2007, 11(1), pp. 89-98, p. 90.

[4]    Dimitrova, ‘The Development of Sanātana Dharma in the Twentieth Century: A Rādhāsoamī Guru’s Perspective’, p. 90.

[5]    R.L. Stirrat, ‘Sacred Models’, Man. 1984, 19(2), pp. 199-215, p. 199.

[6]    Stirrat, ‘Sacred Models’, p. 204.

[7]    Stirrat, ‘Sacred Models’, p. 204.

[8]    Marco Orrù and Amy Wang, ‘Durkheim, Religion, and Buddhism’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 1992, 31(1), pp. 47-61, p. 58.

[9]    Appendix 12.

[10]  Appendix 1.

[11]  ‘The History of Skanda Vale’, Skanda Vale (Stable URL: [Accessed 05.02.2012].

[12]  ‘Shambo’, Skanda Vale (Stable URL: [Accessed 10.01.2012].

[13]  ‘The History of Skanda Vale’, Skanda Vale (Stable URL: [Accessed 05.02.2012].

[14]  Appendix 1 and Appendix 3.

[15]  Appendix 3.

[16]  Appendix 11.

[17]  Appendix 10.

[18]  Appendix 9.

[19]  ‘The History of Skanda Vale’, Skanda Vale (Stable URL: [Accessed 05.02.2012].

[20]  Appendix 1.

[21]  Appendix 2.

[22]  Appendix 2.


Originally a research project submitted in February 2012 for the Studying Religions Year 2 Study of Religions module at Bath Spa University.

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