Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 5-10-2019


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Sebastian Madathummuriyil

Committee Member

Daniel Scheid


'idol and icon', Puja, 'Holy Communion and Prasadam', 'Phenomenological Conception of the Real Presence', 'image-descent of God', Harappa, Rgveda, Transubstantiation, Givenness, Dialogue


The diversity in the world today is undeniable and quite imposing. The claim to uniqueness and universality of faith in each religious system cannot be sustained without factoring the implications and impacts of this claim on the well-being of humanity and reality hermeneutics. The postmodern world favors pluralism and encourages mutual respect for particular opinion, praxis, faith, theology and all forms of epistemology as they exist in the individual culture, religion and society. With this in mind, this work is a comparative analysis of the notion of avatars in Vaishnavism, a religious sect in Hinduism and the concept of the Eucharist in the Roman Catholic tradition. Among the five auspicious forms of avatars in Vaishnavism, arcavatara is compared with the Eucharist. Vishnu manifests himself in the consecrated images found in the homes and temples of the Vaishnavas to demonstrate his love, to protect them from evil and to increase righteousness. God manifests Himself too in the Eucharist as a gift of presence and love. ‘Bhakti’ and reverence to the Eucharist and Vishnu yields union with God. The understanding of God’s presence and love are similar in Vaishnavism and Catholicism. These and other points are analyzed comparatively in this work.

Vishnu: Supreme Being, Arcavatara: image-descent of Vishnu, Eucharist: Sacramental Body and blood of Jesus, Avatar: Vishnu’s manifestations, bhakti: devotion, Arca: image.