Gender and Story in South India (SUNY series in Hindu Studies)


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A Love Story from South India

Presidency College, Calcutta University. She has an Interdisciplinary Ph. At present, she is writing a monograph on anti-feminist men's rights groups, following a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct fieldwork with MRAs across Indian cities, and essays on metoo to follow her research on gender-based violence. Basu has also written for the Ms.

Issues in Indian Feminism: Dowry and Inheritance. New Delhi: Sage, Rajni Palriwala and Ravinder Kaur. New Delhi: Orient Black Swan, Srila Roy London: Zed Books, Flavia Agnes. Their efforts ultimately helped spread bhakti poetry and ideas throughout India by the 12th—18th century CE. The Alvars, which literally means "those immersed in God", were Vaishnava poet-saints who sang praises of Vishnu as they travelled from one place to another.

Their poems, compiled as Alwar Arulicheyalgal or Divya Prabhandham , developed into an influential scripture for the Vaishnavas. The Bhagavata Purana 's references to the South Indian Alvar saints, along with its emphasis on bhakti , have led many scholars to give it South Indian origins, though some scholars question whether this evidence excludes the possibility that bhakti movement had parallel developments in other parts of India. Like the Alvars, the Saiva Nayanar poets were influential.

The Tirumurai , a compilation of hymns on Shiva by sixty-three Nayanar poet-saints, developed into an influential scripture in Shaivism. The poets' itinerant lifestyle helped create temple and pilgrimage sites and spread spiritual ideas built around Shiva. Some scholars state that the Bhakti movement's rapid spread in India in the 2nd millennium, was in part a response to the arrival of Islam [47] and subsequent Islamic rule in India and Hindu-Muslim conflicts. According to Wendy Doniger , the nature of Bhakti movement may have been affected by the "surrender to God" daily practices of Islam when it arrived in India.

Klaus Witz, in contrast, traces the history and nature of Bhakti movement to the Upanishadic and the Vedanta foundations of Hinduism. He writes, that in virtually every Bhakti movement poet, "the Upanishadic teachings form an all-pervasive substratum, if not a basis. We have here a state of affairs that has no parallel in the West. Supreme Wisdom, which can be taken as basically non-theistic and as an independent wisdom tradition not dependent on the Vedas , appears fused with highest level of bhakti and with highest level of God realization.

The Bhakti movement witnessed a surge in Hindu literature in regional languages, particularly in the form of devotional poems and music. The earliest writers from the 7th to 10th century CE known to have influenced the poet-saints driven movements include, Sambandar, Tirunavukkarasar, Sundarar, Nammalvar, Adi Shankara , Manikkavacakar and Nathamuni.

These include Ramanuja , Madhva , Vallabha and Nimbarka. The Bhakti movement of Hinduism saw two ways of imaging the nature of the divine Brahman — Nirguna and Saguna. Jeaneane Fowler states that the concepts of Nirguna and Saguna Brahman, at the root of Bhakti movement theosophy, underwent more profound development with the ideas of Vedanta school of Hinduism, particularly those of Adi Shankara 's Advaita Vedanta, Ramanuja 's Vishishtadvaita Vedanta, and Madhvacharya 's Dvaita Vedanta.

Nirguna and Saguna Brahman concepts of the Bhakti movement has been a baffling one to scholars, particularly the Nirguni tradition because it offers, states David Lorenzen, "heart-felt devotion to a God without attributes, without even any definable personality". The Bhakti movement was a devotional transformation of medieval Hindu society, wherein Vedic rituals or alternatively ascetic monk-like lifestyle for moksha gave way to individualistic loving relationship with a personally defined god.

Poet-saints grew in popularity, and literature on devotional songs in regional languages became profuse. There's no creation or creator there, no gross or fine, no wind or fire, no sun, moon, earth or water, no radiant form, no time there, no word, no flesh, no faith, no cause and effect, nor any thought of the Veda, no Hari or Brahma, no Shiva or Shakti, no pilgrimage and no rituals, no mother, father or guru there The early 15th-century Bhakti poet-sant Pipa stated, [79]. Within the body is the god, within the body the temple, within the body all the Jangamas [80] within the body the incense, the lamps and the food-offerings, within the body the puja -leaves.

After searching so many lands, I found the nine treasures within my body, Now there will be no further going and coming, I swear by Rama. The impact of the Bhakti movement in India was similar to that of the Protestant Reformation of Christianity in Europe. Some scholars call Sikhism a Bhakti sect of Indian traditions. The Guru Granth Sahib , the scripture of the Sikhs, contains the hymns of the Sikh gurus, thirteen Hindu bhagats, and two Muslim bhagats.

The three highest contributions in the Sikh scripture of non-Sikh bhagats were from Bhagat Kabir hymns , Bhagat Farid hymns , and Bhagat Namdev 60 hymns. While Sikhism was influenced by Bhakti movement, [98] [99] [] and incorporated hymns from the Bhakti poet saints, it was not simply an extension of the Bhakti movement. Some Sikh sects outside the Punjab-region of India, such as those found in Maharashtra and Bihar , practice Aarti with lamps in a Gurdwara.

Medieval-era bhakti traditions among non-theistic Indian traditions such as Buddhism and Jainism have been reported by scholars, wherein the devotion and prayer ceremonies were dedicated to an enlightened guru, primarily Buddha and Jina Mahavira respectively, as well as others. Bhakti, according to William Dyrness, has been a "point of convergence" between Christian gospel tradition and the Hindu devotional tradition. It has helped Indian Christians devote themselves to God as distinct from his creation, and as a personal being to love, to expect grace from, through self-giving devotion.

Appasamy, Sadhu Sundar Singh and other early converts in the early twentieth century that were rich in lyrics and brought out the mysticism, legends and meaning of Christianity. Postmodern scholars question whether the 19th- and early 20th-century theories about Bhakti movement in India, its origin, nature and history is accurate. Pechilis in her book on Bhakti movement, for example, states: []. Scholars writing on bhakti in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were agreed that bhakti in India was preeminently a monotheistic reform movement. For these scholars, the inextricable connection between monotheism and reform has both theological and social significance in terms of the development of Indian culture.

The orientalist images of bhakti were formulated in a context of discovery: a time of organised cultural contact, in which many agencies, including administrative, scholarly and missionary — sometimes embodied in a single person — sought knowledge of India. Through the Indo-European language connection, early orientalists believed that they were, in a sense, seeing their own ancestry in the antique texts and "antiquated" customs of Indian peoples.

In this respect, certain scholars could identify with the monotheism of bhakti. Seen as a reform movement, bhakti presented a parallel to the orientalist agenda of intervention in the service of the empire. Madeleine Biardeau states, as does Jeanine Miller, that Bhakti movement was neither a reform nor a sudden innovation, but the continuation and expression of ideas to be found in Vedas , Bhakti marga teachings of the Bhagavad Gita , the Katha Upanishad and the Shvetashvatara Upanishad. John Stratton Hawley describes recent scholarship which questions the old theory of Bhakti movement origin and "story of south-moves-north", then states that the movement had multiple origins, mentioning Brindavan in north India as another center.

Sheldon Pollock writes that the Bhakti movement was neither a rebellion against Brahmins and the upper castes nor a rebellion against the Sanskrit language, because many of the prominent thinkers and earliest champions of the Bhakti movement were Brahmins and from upper castes, and because much of the early and later Bhakti poetry and literature was in Sanskrit.

John Guy states that the evidence of Hindu temples and Chinese inscriptions from 8th century CE about Tamil merchants, presents Bhakti motifs in Chinese trading towns, particularly the Kaiyuan Temple Quanzhou. Scholars increasingly are dropping, states Karen Pechilis, the old premises and the language of "radical otherness, monotheism and reform of orthodoxy" for Bhakti movement. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Part of a series on Hinduism Hindus History Origins.

The series is seen as an exercise in comparative theology. Short lectures on the mystical traditions would be followed by a response from a Hindu perspective and general discussion. Related: Comparative Theology , Islam , Mysticism. A review of principal foreign policy development in the first decade of the 21st century and implications for the second decade. The abstraction "mysticism" is a problematic category that has been developed from Christian mystical theology in contrast to dogmatic or natural theology.

Viewing other religions through the lens of "mysticism", particularly the religions of India and China, has tended to give a distorted picture to the West, underlined by Radhakrishnan's claim, among others, that the east is "spiritual" while the west is "material". While acknowledging the problematic nature of the category "mysticism" this series of seminars intends to explore the mystical traditions of specific religions in dialogue with Hinduism. Related: Buddhism , Comparative Theology , Mysticism. Perhaps the shortest of the well-known sutra texts among Hindu traditions is The Bhakti Sutra of Narada, consisting only of 84 aphorisms.

This work, however, possesses the most expressive and least cryptic aphorisms, as compared to other sutra texts, while providing the seeds for a remarkably comprehensive bhakti theology. Graham Schweig, while preparing his new translation of the work for publication with Columbia University Press, will present his findings on the ways in which the literary and theological aspects of this text work together synergistically to express some of the deepest dimensions of bhakti.

He will also make some intertextual connections and resonances by drawing from the Bhagavad-gita, Bhagavata Purana, and the Yoga Sutra, in order to illuminate dramatic theological moments of the Bhakti Sutra. And further, he will offer some closing reflections on why no traditional commentaries were ever written for this work.

Related: Bhakti , Hindu Theology. Related: Categories , Comparative Theology , Mysticism. His new religious movement offers a new synthesis of Hindu and Jain ideas and practices. He is an expert in Jainism and has done textual work and fieldwork. Apart from Jaina studies, he has broad interests in religion and society, social anthropology, sociology, philosophy and Indology more broadly. Related: Jainism.

Reading:Goodall, Dominic. Related: Christianity , Comparative Theology , Mysticism. From Sanskrit commentaries we can gather that this formula was traditionally interpreted in two ways. On the other hand, a very competent scholar like Geldner has made an exception and interpreted the formula in an extra-ingenious way, as double negation, which was never considered in the tradition. This interpretation has now been revived in Slaje Related: Upanisads , Veda , Vedanta.

The last session will focus on the nature of theological reasoning that we have been engaged with in the course and the nature of theological reading. The last session will raise questions about whether reasoning is universal, the nature of Hindu theological truth, and the place of Hindu theological reasoning within the western academy.

A potter gently shapes a lump of clay upon his wheel. A carpenter hews and joins measured pieces of wood. Creation, we see, is often a process of reasoned thought and careful construction. And yet, just as often, creation arises in far more unpredictable circumstances—from chaos, transgression, and failure. This lectures series will examine the interplay of creation and chaos in narratives of the Bhagavata Purana. Ravi M. He completed his D. Gupta has taught a variety of courses in Hinduism and World Religions, and is the recipient of the David Hughes Award for excellence in teaching.

Gupta is the author of The Chaitanya Vaishnava Vedanta of Jiva Gosvami Routledge, as well as several articles in academic journals. At present, he and Dr. Kenneth Valpey are working on an abridged translation of the Bhagavata Purana, to be published by Columbia University Press. Related: Bhagavata. Professor Keith Ward has developed comparative theology and religion in many of his publications over the years. He is particularly interested in comparative theology, the dialogue between religions and the interplay between science and faith. In this seminar Keith will share some of his thoughts on comparative theology and its future direction.

This paper concentrates on how these two respective texts define the two deities. More precisely, this essay focuses on such issues as transcendence and immanence, creative power and play, obedience and love, and the relationship between God and humans. These various themes are examined from the perspective of comparative theology, which can be defined as an articulation of truths and a realization of a more complete knowledge of God in so far as it is possible by means of theology conceived broadly as inter-religious, comparative, dialogical, and confessional. This paper proposes to use a hermeneutical dialogue, which is an interpretative approach that is intended to lead to better cross-cultural understanding.

Such a dialogue is risky because it entails entering the margins between oneself and the other. When the interpreter brings together the representative texts of different traditions, she forms a triadic relationship and dialogue with the context of a marginal situation. Related: Bhagavata , Comparative Theology , Islam. In these seminars, we will read sections of the Bhagavata Purana that are relevant to the theme of the Shivdasani lectures — creation and chaos. We will explore the formation of Hindu traditions through textual sources, such as the Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita, along with the practices and social institutions that formed classical Hindu traditions.

The lectures will include an introduction to Hindu philosophy. This lecture examines a Buddhist meditation tradition exemplified particularly by visualisation text from central Asia. This is a seminar in our series on Comparative Mystical Traditions. Among the available Saivagamas the Pauskaragama is a very important and interesting in many ways. The eight chapters deal with some of the fundamental doctrines of Saivasiddhanta in a thorough fashion. Its importance is also evident by the existence of two elaborate commentaries of which one is still unpublished.

In my lecture I will highlight some of the salient features of this text based on those commentaries. Related: Saiva , Tantra. Saivism with its important branches such as Pasupata and the Saivasiddhanta was widely popular in many parts of India from the beginning of the first millennium of the common era. Of them, the Saivasiddhanta had many royal dynasties as its support.

The basic tenets of the system were enuncitated in the canonical texts called Agama believed to have been revealed by Siva Himself. In the course of its spread to south India and especially to the Tamil country the essential teachings of the Agama-s were taught by the teachers to their disciples. This is the only available first Tamil text belonging to such an early period which has been influencing the subsequent developments of Saivasiddhanta.

A comparative and analytical study of this text will be a very fruitful one which would help trace the early development of Saivasiddhanta. A brief analysis of these important but less studied texts will be the subject of this lecture. Among his recent publications are Two Saiva teachers of the sixteenth century. According to popular belief, the celebration of Durga Puja in Bengal, as the great festival of Bengalis, started roughly from the late medieval period onwards. This paper shows that the celebration of the great festival of goddesses in autumn had been prevalent in the region for more than fifteen hundred centuries, and that the practice itself was pluralistic.

It looks into four Upapuranas of early medieval Bengal and delineates the politics of the appropriation of local goddesses by brahmanism. The paper argues that the process of emergence of Durga as the brahmanical Great goddess of the region was essentially linked with the loss of the local goddess matrix, and the meanings and symbolisms related to it. Brahmanical patriarchy in early medieval Bengal retained the local goddesses as the primary symbol of the Ultimate, but played down their earlier subjectivities and the cultural ethos which had sustained them.

It explores traits and trails of other local goddesses that were either wiped off or modified in the process and locates various levels of changes in the mythic and ritual content of the goddesses in the Upapuranas. Related: Sakta.

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This event marks the launching of a newly started project at the OCHS called "Bengali Vaishnavism in the Modern Period", which undertakes the mapping, collection, translation and investigation of literature and other relevant material related to or dealing with the modern development of Caitanya Vaisnavism in Bengal from the late 18th century to the present.

It is divided into three sections: the first presents the historical context for the reception of the Bhagavata in 19th century Bengal—at the time the most prominent intellectual centre of the British Empire in South Asia—among the Bengali middle classe and some of the controversies that surrounded its popular usage as a sacred text. The second discusses the text as part of a process of religious and cultural negotiation between India and the West, with particular reference to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati - the founder in Calcutta of a modern religious institution called the Gaudiya Math - and his successors.

The third section will trace the gradual transformation of the Bhagavata from a sacred text read by the literate among the Hindus to an instrument for diffusion of religious ideas and practice during the period following World War II. The presentation ends with a brief discussion of the function of the text within its indigenous religious tradition, and the ways in which this function has transformed through the dynamic social and cultural interactions between India and the West.

Related: Bhagavata , Modern Hinduism. The sixteenth century in south India witnessed enormous output of literature composed in Sanskrit on many subjects and systems of philosophy. Sivagrayogi was a very great Saivasiddhanta teacher belonging to this period who had enriched the Saivasiddhanta literature by composing many independent texts as well as commentaries.

Some of them are voluminous and they have been exerting great sway among the devotees and learned scholars. This seminar will analyse briefly his contribution for the development of Sivasiddhanta during the pre-modern period. These lectures will begin from where Hinduism 1 left off. We will trace the development of devotion bhakti and examine bhakti and yoga in the Bhagavad-gita before moving into the medieval period. Here the lectures will describe some developments of bhakti in vernacular literatures, focusing both on texts that advocate devotion to iconic forms and the later texts that advocate devotion to an absolute without qualities.

Here we will also examine the importance of ritual texts and the relation between ritual, devotion, and yoga. We will then trace the themes of liberation and path with examples from selected tantric traditions within Vaisnavism and Saivism. Lastly we will examine the development of Hinduism in the nineteenth century with the Hindu reformers and the development of a politicised Hinduism in the twentieth century.

Drawing particular attention to accounts of the darkness, absence, and wrath of God in Western Christian mysticism, the lecture questions the essential relation between the demonic and the divine elements encountered in the numinous. Among Puranic literature, the Bhagavata Purana has been most influential, both in intellectual circles and in popular Hinduism. This paper argues that the shift from the normative bhakti of the Mahabharata to the emotional bhakti of the Bhagavata is made possible primarily through the concept of yoga-maya. The paper examines the relationship between yoga, the yogi, yoga-maya, and yogesvara in the two texts, and shows that without maya, the intensity of the emotional yoga between the devotee and Krsna found in the Bhagavata cannot take place.

Related: Bhagavata , Yoga. This seminar examines accounts of religious experience in early Buddhism as gleaned from our textual sources. Of particular importance here has been the role of meditation and living an upright and ethical life. Professor Gombrich was the Boden Professor of Sanskrit for many years. He is a world authority on Buddhism and has written definitive works on early Buddhism and the Theravada tradition.

This paper explores a pilgrimage the author undertook with a group of pilgrims to the Bhuban cave in Assam, the assumed starting point of a religious reform movement known as the Heraka. Such incidents can be read as a complex confluence of reform, intuition, experience and history. The scholarly literature concerning Gujarati Hinduism in the U. This has been at the expense of any scholarly enquiry as to the role that regional, vernacular traditions play in the religious lives of Gujarati Hindus in this country.

This paper will argue that the Jalaram Bapa tradition, through vernacular practices and beliefs concerning miraculous events and narratives, is offering a contemporary and alternative religious expression to that offered by kind of representative Gujarati Hinduisms located in the U. Furthermore, it is doing so in a very public manner that appears to validate regional, vernacular traditions as opposed to marginalising or dismissing them.

This seminar will discuss the foundational ideas of the phenomenology of religion derived from Husserl, namely bracketing the epoche , the reduction to essences, and the transcendental reduction. We will raise questions as to the viability of this approach. Gregory Shushan is Perrott-Warrick Researcher at the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion, University of Oxford, researching comparative afterlife beliefs in small-scale societies worldwide in the contexts of shamanic and near-death experiences.

In this seminar we will reflect on Sociology as a discourse inseparable from Modernity. We will discuss the key ideas of rationalisation Weber and reification Lukacs, Honneth. We will also consider sociology in the Indian context Madan. In this lecture, I explore the form and function of the Sanskrit Mahabharata. I take up features of its design, its explicit statements about itself and its most prominent themes in order to make some suggestions as to what the Mahabharata sought to do, culturally and intellectually,in early South Asian society.

I combine this with an analysis of the presence of the Mahabharata in select literary and epigraphical sources of the first millennium in order to explore the impact of the text from Guptan north India to Kerala and Kashmir. These investigations will be combined with a broader discussion of the role of narrative in the transmission and adaptation of understandings of past, place and preferred ideology within, and potentially beyond, South Asia.

His primary research interest is in the role of religious narrative in the cultural and intellectual history of South Asia. He has published numerous papers on Sanskrit and vernacular narrative materials. When we think of Rabindranath Tagore in relation to the Krishna-Caitanya religio-literary tradition of Bengal, his youthful Bhanusimher Padaboli immediately come to mind, as they should as the most explicit treatments of a Vaishnava theme in all of his immense literary corpus. It then attempts to assess in what ways and to what degree underlying characteristics of Bengali Vaishnava piety and aesthetics may be reflected or rejected, implicitly if not explicitly in the works of the mature Rabindranath.

Related: Literature , Vaisnava. Sacred biographies of Visvambhara Misra, aka Krishna-Caitanya, — constitute an unusually ample array of texts that for half a century have provided an enduring basis for an otherwise loosely coordinated community of Vaishnava devotees in Bengal and elsewhere. The Caitanya-caritamrta Nectar-like Acts of Caitanya of Krishnadasa Kaviraja is the culmination of an inter-related series of such texts.

Relying primarily on the Caitanya-caritamrta in the Bengali and Sanskrit original and in its translation by Edward C. Dimock, Jr. The third seminar will discuss the relation of religion to politics and the place of religion in the public sphere. We will look at the idea of the critique of religion as emancipatory critique Nietzsche, Foucault , the exclusion of women from the symbolic order Kristeva, Irigaray and how this is articulated in India Manushi.

The sacred biographies of Krishna-Caitanya appear to convey a great deal of historical information about the words and actions of their main subject and of hundreds of his followers and other contemporaries. They also include along the way a number of vignettes, some with political implications, that, if accurate, would extend our knowledge of early sixteenth century Bengal some degrees beyond the intramural affairs of the nascent community of devotees.

But how reliable are these texts as records of actual historical persons, words and events? Devotees tend to say very reliable. Scholars tend to divide on the issue with some claiming that theological, devotional, and polemic concerns thoroughly negate the ostensible historicity of the texts. Our last seminar will examine the importance of the philosophy of the sign in the study of religions. A key thinker here who we will look at is Bakhtin introduced to the West by Julia Kristeva. There is a striking disparity between the prominence of religious factors in personal and collective life of so much of the population of South Asian countries and the extreme rarity of study and research explicitly on religion in the universities of those same countries.

This anomalous disparity has recently become a subject of concern to a number of scholars within South Asia as well as to some elsewhere who focus their own scholarship on religion in South Asia. This lecture notes several contributory factors European origin, cultural differences, colonial precedents, novelty and lack of teachers, teaching resources and teaching positions but gives primary attention to fear and hostility between religio-political communalist and secularist mentalities and interests as inhibiting academic study of religion. Related: Ramayana. His areas of specialist research and publications cover classical Indian philosophy and comparative ethics; Continental thought; cross-cultural philosophy of religion, diaspora studies; bioethics, and personal law in India.

Teaches and publishes on Hindu religious philosophies. Also works on political philosophy, pertaining to ethics of rights, theories of justice, capabilities, education and gender issues in third world, particularly South Asian, contexts. Related: General , Philosophy.

I seek to unravel the textual history of the passage and the logic of combining its parts, as well as the message that it conveys. He has written several books and around 75 articles on his special area of research, the Sanskrit epics, as well as on other topics. Related: Mahabharata , Ritual. Buddhists do not deny the existence of gods, but they regard them as beings who are subject to karma and sa? Their life is extremely pleasant, but when they die they experience horrible agonies, and Buddhists say that there is no greater suffering in the world than that of a god who is dying.

In early legends, gods like Indra and Brahma appear as supporters of Buddha Shakyamuni. The lecture will illustrate these multi-faceted views with examples from Buddhist literature. Related: Buddhism. Related: Ethics , Science and Religion. This paper provides a critical overview of select aspects of religious material culture among the people of Tamilnadu.

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It first discusses how materials are construed in the ritual context, their agency and efficacy and the continuities seen in the process of engagement between the people and the objects. Secondly, it deals with the changing dynamics of the engagement between the people and the ritual objects, the changing social lives of these objects and examines the processes of commoditization, aestheticization and appropriation. Finally, this paper also focuses on the shared material culture between Hindus and Christians in Tamilnadu during religious ceremonies and practices of worship which are explored using examples such as thali sacred chain in the marriage ceremony , saris etc.

These lectures will take up where Hinduism 1 left off, examining in particular conceptions of liberation and paths leading to it in the post-classical, post-Gupta period. After an introductory lecture that raises some theological questions about the relation of path to goal and the importance of ritual and asceticism, we will begin with an examination of the Vedanta. We will trace the development of devotion bhakti in the Vaishnava traditions. Lastly we will trace the themes of liberation and path with examples from selected tantric traditions within Vaishnavism and Shaivism.

We will end with an examination of contemporary Hinduism at village level and in its interaction with modernity. These lectures are aimed at students of theology and religious studies. In setting a worldly French novelist against a Indian mystical philosopher, Yeats is not merely recasting the dialogue of self and soul that has governed so much of his poetry; he is signaling that one side of the debate has staked out its position in India, and that the terms of the discussion have changed.

In pursuit of Indic wisdom as he conceived it, Yeats left a trail of questions and assertions in letters and essays. This seminar will explore these issues. Related: Literature , Yoga. Related: Bhakti , Hindu Theology , Vaisnava. While the differences between Sankara's and Ramanuja's systems as found in their respective commentaries on the Brahmasutras are relatively well-known, much commented on and highly influential in the living traditions, there has been surprisingly little attention paid to a comparative understanding of their Bhagavad Gita commentaries.

Yet, in those works, they offer interpretations particular to the nature and structure of the Gita that do not map directly onto their other standard works. Using an interpretive vocabulary that engages with currents in postmodern Christian theology, I offer readings of each of their treatments of the relationship between the self-declared nature of the divine person, Krsna and his diverse mentions of the mysterious brahman.

I suggest that strikingly original views of theology and its connections to metaphysics are found in these great commentaries - views that can contribute to the actual content and not just the metatheory of comparative theology. The history of hatha yoga is only now becoming clear through close attention to the textual tradition.

This seminar examines the Vaishnava roots of some hatha yoga practice. Related: Vaisnava , Yoga. He has published a number of articles and monographs in academic journals on topics such as the Samskrita Svapnah, Bhakti and Prapatti in Srivaishnava Philosophy and the Pancaratra-kantakoddhara. Narasimhachary received the Certificate of Honour for Proficiency in Sanskrit from the President of India for the year Related: Sanskrit. This year marks the 75th anniversary of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati's — passing away. The lecture discusses the relationship of Bhaktisiddhanta with modernity, his theological ideas in relation to Christianity, and his approach to Western culture.

Bhaktisiddhanta launched a missionary effort in the s to London that involved members of the British cabinet. The lecture will also present some of the latest research on Bhaktisiddhanta featuring the recent discovery of his diary and an autobiographical sketch. Related: Diaspora , Modern Hinduism , Vaisnava. This lecture aims at presenting a holistic picture of Laksmi covering the earliest and later phases of the development of this concept.

She, known by another popular name Sri, is the embodiment of all the powers which make the Lord her consort, a veritable ruler of the world. She, as the repository of benign love, plays the role of mother of all living beings. She plays a vital role in the redemption of the erring humanity by interceding on their behalf and mitigating the rightful wrath of the Lord in which act her motherly nature gets fully manifested.

It is so well-known that Buddhist philosophers in India argued with their non-Buddhist opponents that it is hardly worth mentioning. Yet, despite the centuries-long history of such polemics, Buddhist philosophers in India rarely explained what they hoped to gain in critically engaging their opponents through such arguments. Related: Buddhism , Philosophy. In this seminar, we will explore what was at stake, both philosophically and otherwise, for Brahmanical philosophers in debates with Buddhist opponents.

Related: Buddhism , Nyaya , Philosophy. Appasamy was a Harvard, Oxford and Marburg trained Tamil Christian theologian who served as an Anglican priest and seminary professor in India before Independence, and post-Independence, as the first Bishop of Coimbatore in the Church of South India. This seminar is an exploration of theories of religious action and meta-ethics in late pre-modern Indian philosophy of religion.

Scriptural Reasoning is a practice of reading scriptures and thinking about them across traditions. It was founded by Peter Ochs as a practice of Jews, Christians, and Muslims reading their scriptures together in small groups and comes out of the post-liberal Theology of the Yale School along with traditional Jewish practices of reading scripture called Textual Reasoning.

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With a view to broadening the scope of Scriptural Reasoning it is proposed to transplant the practice into a Hindu context. The enterprise is hermeneutical in orientation although it assumes that much of the text-historical or philological work has been done. The practice will be simply to take a theme and passages from Hindu scriptures and discuss them. The aim of Scriptural Reasoning is to understand difference rather than to arrive at consensus although that too can arise but the practice is open ended. It is practice driven rather than theory driven although general features of Scriptural Reasoning have developed over the last twenty years or so.

Probably the best way to describe it is to let Peter Ochs speak:. Scriptural Reasoning SR is an open-ended practice of reading- and reasoning-in-dialogue among scholars of the three Abrahamic traditions. There are no set doctrines or rules of SR, since the rules are embedded in the texts of scripture and their relation to those who study and reason together. Individual practitioners of SR do find it useful, however, to reflect occasionally on their group practice and identify its leading tendencies.

Hindu Scriptural Reasoning will be by way of experiment to see whether a practice developed out of a Jewish context can work in a Hindu context. Can a religious practitioner be exempt from performing social duties? Ever since Buddhists and Jains rejected Brahmanical social values, the issue of social ethics for religious practitioners has been a contested topic in South Asia.

In this presentation, I examine how Baladeva Vidyabhusana, a Vaishnava theologian in the 18th century, dealt with this topic at the court of Jai Singh II, a famous Rajput king of Jaipur.


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Kiyokazu Okita obtained his D. My presentation would explore how different visions, versions and heritages of Hinduism were reflected in Extremist politics. It would trace how such reflections crafted a nationalist idea of India. I argue that the Extremist brand of nationalism cannot be equated to communalism Cf.

Zavos: and ; and C. Jaffrelot: Using a comparative model, I trace regional and trans-regional iconisations of Hinduism in Extremist politics. This is yoked to the symbolism of Krishnacharitra, and the performance of religious ceremonies for political purposes, such as the Ganapati festival in Maharashtra, which was also celebrated in Bengal.

This is connected to the point about dissemination of Extremist religious-political ideas. I see how Kathas , and periodicals on religious discussions disseminated such ideas to a wider audience, and how the latter reacted to these. Swarupa Gupta, Ph. The Hindu Mela was the first organised expression of cultural nationhood. It studies how this intersection formed a reference point for comparing the selective emphasis on Hindu heritage in the earlier late nineteenth century and early twentieth century phase, and later, in emphatically communal and political discourses.

This was evident in the contextual inclusion of non-Hindu groups in the Mela. Lines of religious divisions were blurred. The Mela was open to Indians of all classes, srenis [occupational-cum-social groups], and religious-communal groups. The ideology of the Mela was yoked to ideas about swadesh or Bharat Bhumi, which was not necessarily the land of the Hindus alone. This inclusion occurred despite the use of Hindu religious imagery. Further, I also address the issue of dissemination: for instance, at the national theatre, religious plays were staged.

A prevailing idea from the Enlightenment, still with us today, is that the light of reason would dispel the darkness of religion and reveal the universe to us. While the desire for enlightenment and the attendant aspiration for a better human future are commendable, the identification of religion with darkness and ignorance is problematic. Religion has not gone away and is a topic of deep concern both because of its destructive capacity and for its constructive capacity as a resource that gives people truth, beauty, and goodness.

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These lectures are within the broad claim that the importance of religion is existential: religions provide significant meaning to life and guide people in their choices and practices. While such an approach fits some of the female-voice verses in the Tiruviruttam , several verses resist such categories, as they can easily and equally be spoken by the hero, heroine, mother or friend. This series of seminars will provide a lively and thought-provoking forum for graduate students from across the disciplines to present their latest work on any of the Indic religions, creating an opportunity for regular discussion and cross-fertilisation among students in this area.

It will be held fortnightly in Hilary term weeks 2, 4, 6, 8 on Fridays from 4pm—5pm, with a chance for informal discussion afterwards over refreshments. Each seminar will feature two papers on related themes or subjects, of about 20 minutes each, with a chance for questions after each paper. Any graduate students working on, or otherwise interested in, Indic religions, are warmly invited to attend.

The construct theory of personhood has been employed in archaeology to explore the idea of personhood in the human past. The person in this context refers to humans, animals or objects. Personhood is constructed through relationships not only with other humans in the society but with all aspects of the world around them.

Personhood in traditional India is largely characterized by dividuality, in which the person is considered as a composite of so-called substance-codes that can be transmitted interpersonally. Beginning with the early medieval period, this paper traces the development of Hinduism in devotional bhakti and tantric traditions. The focus of this presentation will be two-fold. Contemplation and participation become one by virtue of the power of this bhakti - yantr a. Graham M. Phenomena of individual and collective possession bhar are extremely common and are viewed as a much needed proof of the auspicious presence of the goddess.

Such views are validated on a broader scale. In contemporary Bengal practices such as possession and sacrifice are objected by intellectuals and teachers, the middle class, the media and religious authorities from all faiths. In this climate, many facets of local folklore are increasingly dismissed, diminished and ridiculed often aggressively as a heterogeneous bunch of backward practices and superstitions.

He is an active fieldworker and regularly conduct ethnographic research in India. He specialises in the study of vernacular Hinduism and folklore and is particularly interested in ritual healing and therapeutic possession; ritual theory and Marxist approaches to the study of religion. Research on the early-modern history, society and language of India is an understudied field. The nineteenth century is widely regarded as a pivotal period in South Asian religious history.

Colonial presence in the region entailed intense and prolonged exposure to challenging currents of western modernity for many South Asian religious traditions and practitioners. While religious responses to the colonial challenge varied widely, the encounter with modernity is often thought of as marking a rupture with pre-modern religious traditions.

Historical consciousness has been characterised as one of the key currents and signs of the modern. Hindu religions and oriental spirituality have travelled West during the last two centuries, and adapted in many ways to the cultures and societies of the West. The presentation first looks briefly at the processes of migration of Indian religions and spirituality to the West and second to a case of return to their place of origin in the. East through modern global institutions.

Women in India: A Social and Cultural History, Volume 1

The lecture discusses issues of identity, conversion and the emerging of a globalised Hinduism in Sweden and in India that challenges local social, cultural and religious communities. It is based on field work, participant observation, and interviews of informants conducted among others in Stockholm and West Bengal during and Explore the iconography of Hindu gods and goddesses in Indian sculpture followed by a handling session.

The idea of affliction klesa in the Yogasutra of Patanjali Ramesh Pattni. What is the nature of affliction in the Yogasutra and how does it fit in within the aim and practice of Yoga? Patanjali's Yogasutra deals with the practical means of Yogic disciplines leading to the soteriological goal of liberation from the cycles of birth and death. The normal subjective identity and experience is afflicted with the klesas and the Yogasutra describe the nature of these with prescriptions of removing them from consciousness. Forms and meanings: the image of God in a Swaminarayan sect Tushar Shah.

Gender and Story in South India (SUNY series in Hindu Studies) Gender and Story in South India (SUNY series in Hindu Studies)
Gender and Story in South India (SUNY series in Hindu Studies) Gender and Story in South India (SUNY series in Hindu Studies)
Gender and Story in South India (SUNY series in Hindu Studies) Gender and Story in South India (SUNY series in Hindu Studies)
Gender and Story in South India (SUNY series in Hindu Studies) Gender and Story in South India (SUNY series in Hindu Studies)
Gender and Story in South India (SUNY series in Hindu Studies) Gender and Story in South India (SUNY series in Hindu Studies)

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