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Keywords:

  • India;
  • religion;
  • kinship;
  • structural analysis;
  • functionalism

This paper is, first, a structural analysis demonstrating that in Hindu sacred “law” death rites reflect a conception of kinship wherein intimacy is affected not only by such matters as genealogical distance, but also by differences in spiritual purity among kinsmen. Second, the paper shows that structural analysis of particular civilizations have more than intrinsic value, that they are also a necessary adjunct to highly general functional theories.