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New Books in Indian Religions

New Books in Indian Religions

Interviews with Scholars of Indian Religions with their New Books Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions

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The Future of Religious Studies: A Conversation with Russell McCutcheon

Russell McCutcheon shares his views on the academic study of religion, and the path ahead for religion graduates and the field itself. McCutcheon is a professor of religious studies at the University of Alabama and a contributor to the Religious Studies Project podcast.  ?Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-11-28
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Travis Zadeh, "Wonders and Rarities: The Marvelous Book That Traveled the World and Mapped the Cosmos" (Harvard UP, 2023)

During the thirteenth century, the Persian naturalist and judge Zakariyy?? Qazw?n? authored what became one of the most influential works of natural history in the world: Wonders and Rarities. Exploring the dazzling movements of the stars above, the strange minutiae of the minerals beneath the earth, and everything in between, Qazw?n? offered a captivating account of the cosmos. With fine paintings and leading science, Wonders and Rarities inspired generations as it traveled through madrasas and courts, unveiling the magical powers of nature. Yet after circulating for centuries, first in Arabic and Persian, then in Turkish and Urdu, Qazw?n?'s compendium eventually came to stand as a strange, if beautiful, emblem of medieval ignorance. In Wonders and Rarities: The Marvelous Book That Traveled the World and Mapped the Cosmos (Harvard UP, 2023), Travis Zadeh dramatically revises the place of wonder in the history of Islamic philosophy, science, and literature. From the Mongol conquests to the rise of European imperialism and Islamic reform, Zadeh shows, wonder provided an enduring way to conceive of the world--at once constituting an affective reaction, an aesthetic stance, a performance of piety, and a cognitive state. Yet through the course of colonial modernity, Qazw?n?'s universe of marvels helped advance the notion that Muslims lived in a timeless world of superstition and enchantment, unaware of the western hemisphere or the earth's rotation around the sun. Recovering Qazw?n?'s ideas and his reception, Zadeh invites us into a forgotten world of thought, where wonder mastered the senses through the power of reason and the pleasure of contemplation. Travis Zadeh revives the work of the thirteenth-century Persian scholar Qazw?n?, whose Wonders and Rarities was for centuries one of the most influential natural histories in the world. Inviting us to embrace anew Qazw?n??s rationalized study of nature and magic, Zadeh dramatically revises the place of wonder in the history of Islamic thought. ?Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-11-24
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Sushmita Nath, "The Secular Imaginary: Gandhi, Nehru and the Idea(s) of India" (Cambridge UP, 2022)

Given the popularity and success of the Hindu-Right in India?s electoral politics today, how may one study ostensibly ?Western? concepts and ideas, such as the secular and its family of cognates, like secularism, secularisation and secularity in non-Western societies without assuming them simply as derivative, or colonial legacies or contrast cases of Western societies? While recognizing that the dominant language of political modernity of Western societies is not easily translatable in non-Western societies, The Secular Imaginary elaborates upon an intellectual history of secularity in modern India by focusing on the two most influential political leaders ? M.K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. It is an intellectual history of both idea(s) and intellectuals, which sheds light on Indian narratives of secularity ? the Gandhian sarva dharma samabhava, Nehruvian secularism, and unity in diversity. It revisits this dominant narrative of secularity of the twentieth century that influenced and shaped the imagination of the modern nation-state. Tiatemsu Longkumer is a Ph.D. scholar working on ?Anthropology of Religion? at North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong: India. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-11-23
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Charles Goodman, "The Tattvasa?graha Of ??ntarak?ita: Selected Metaphysical Chapters" (Oxford UP, 2022)

The Tattvasa?graha of ??ntarak?ita: Selected Metaphysical Chapters (Oxford University Press, 2022) collects excerpts from a massive encyclopedic work of the late period of Buddhism in India. Translator Charles Goodman has selected sections of this Sanskrit text which cover debates over the existence of prime matter, God, and an immaterial soul, as well as controversies around the cause and effect, karma, and Jain perspectivalism. Within these chapters, through a translation of the verses of the Tattvasa?graha as well as the canonical commentary the Tattvasa?grahapañjik? by Kamala?ila, the book showcases Buddhists debates with a wide range of interlocutors. ??natarak?ita and Kamala?ila, from their vantage point late in the history of Indian Buddhism, collect a range of arguments against their historical opponents: S??khya, Ny?ya, M?m??s?, Advaita Ved?nta, Jainism, and even a group of Buddhists known as the V?ts?putr?yas. The book also includes an introductory chapter by the translator which explains the sophisticated underlying epistemological framework of this massive and massively influential text. Malcolm Keating is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Yale-NUS College. His research focuses on Sanskrit works of philosophy in Indian traditions, in the areas of language and epistemology. He is the author of Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy (Bloomsbury Press, 2019) and host of the podcast Sutras & Stuff. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-11-21
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Yigal Bronner et al., "Sensitive Reading: The Pleasures of South Asian Literature in Translation" (U California Press, 2022)

What are the pleasures of reading translations of South Asian literature, and what does it take to enjoy a translated text? Sensitive Reading: The Pleasures of South Asian Literature in Translation (U California Press, 2022) provides opportunities to explore such questions by bringing together a whole set of new translations by David Shulman, noted scholar of South Asia. Together, the translations and the accompanying essays form an essential guide for people interested in literature and art from South Asia. This book is available open access here.  Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-11-18
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Ruth Vanita, "The Dharma of Justice in the Sanskrit Epics" (Oxford UP, 2021)

Ruth Vanita's book The Dharma of Justice in the Sanskrit Epics (Oxford UP, 2021) shows that many characters in the Sanskrit epics - men and women of all varnas and mixed-varna - discuss and criticize discrimination based on gender, varna, poverty, age, and disability. On the basis of philosophy, logic and devotion, these characters argue that such categories are ever-changing, mixed and ultimately unreal therefore humans should be judged on the basis of their actions, not birth. The book explores the dharmas of singleness, friendship, marriage, parenting, and ruling. Bhakta poets such as Kabir, Tulsidas, Rahim and Raidas drew on ideas and characters from the epics to present a vision of oneness. Justice is indivisible, all bodies are made of the same matter, all beings suffer, and all consciousnesses are akin. This book makes the radical argument that in the epics, kindness to animals, the dharma available to all, is inseparable from all other forms of dharma. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-11-17
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James Mallinson and Péter-Dániel Szántó, "The Am?tasiddhi and Am?tasiddhim?la: The Earliest Texts of the Ha?hayoga Tradition" (Institut français de Pondichéry, 2021)

Today I talked to Jame Malinson about The Am?tasiddhi and Am?tasiddhim?la: The Earliest Texts of the Ha?hayoga Tradition (Institut français de Pondichéry, 2021), a critical edition and translation of the Am?tasiddhi, the earliest Ha?hayoga text. The book is available open access here.  Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-11-16
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Steven W. Ramey, "Hinduism in Five Minutes" (Equinox, 2022)

Hinduism in Five Minutes (Equinox Publishing, 2022) is an accessible and lively introduction to common questions about the practices, ideas, and narratives often identified as Hindu. Suitable for beginning students and the general reader. Steven W. Ramey is a Professor in Religious Studies at the University of Alabama, where he also directs the Asian Studies Program. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-11-10
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Lavanya Vemsani, "Hinduism in Middle India: Narasimha, The Lord of the Middle" (Bloomsbury, 2022)

Narasimha is one of the least studied major deities of Hinduism. Furthermore, there are limited studies of the history, thought, and literature of middle India. Lavanya Vemsani redresses this by exploring a range of primary sources, including classical Sanskrit texts (puranas and epics), and regional accounts (sthalapuranas). The latter include texts, artistic compositions, and oral folk stories in the regional languages of Telugu, Oriya, and Kannada. She also examines the historical context as well as contemporary practice. Hinduism in Middle India: Narasimha, The Lord of the Middle (Bloomsbury, 2022) offers a rich contribution to Hindu studies and Indian studies in general, and Vaishnava Studies and regional Hinduism in particular. Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-11-09
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Aisha Khan, "The Deepest Dye: Obeah, Hosay, and Race in the Atlantic World" (Harvard UP, 2021)

In The Deepest Dye: Obeah, Hosay, and Race in the Atlantic World (Harvard University Press, 2021), Aisha Khan explores how colonial categories of race and religion together created identities and hierarchies that today are vehicles for multicultural nationalism and social critique in the Caribbean and its diasporas. When the British Empire abolished slavery, Caribbean sugar plantation owners faced a labor shortage. To solve the problem, they imported indentured ?coolie? laborers, Hindus and a minority Muslim population from the Indian subcontinent. Indentureship continued from 1838 until its official end in 1917. The Deepest Dye begins on post-emancipation plantations in the West Indies?where Europeans, Indians, and Africans intermingled for work and worship?and ranges to present-day England, North America, and Trinidad, where colonial-era legacies endure in identities and hierarchies that still shape the post-independence Caribbean and its contemporary diasporas. Aisha Khan focuses on the contested religious practices of obeah and Hosay, which are racialized as ?African? and ?Indian? despite the diversity of their participants. Obeah, a catch-all Caribbean term for sub-Saharan healing and divination traditions, was associated in colonial society with magic, slave insurrection, and fraud. This led to anti-obeah laws, some of which still remain in place. Hosay developed in the West Indies from Indian commemorations of the Islamic mourning ritual of Muharram. Although it received certain legal protections, Hosay?s mass gatherings, processions, and mock battles provoked fears of economic disruption and labor unrest that led to criminalization by colonial powers. The proper observance of Hosay was debated among some historical Muslim communities and continues to be debated now. In a nuanced study of these two practices, Aisha Khan sheds light on power dynamics through religious and racial identities formed in the context of colonialism in the Atlantic world, and shows how today these identities reiterate inequalities as well as reinforce demands for justice and recognition. Aisha Khan is Associate Professor of Anthropology at New York University. She is a cultural anthropologist whose research interests focus on the ways that race and religion intersect in the Atlantic world, particularly in the production of identities and political culture. Her work also is concerned with Asian and African diasporas in the Americas, indenture as a system of labor, the carceral state, and the prison industrial complex. She has published in numerous journals and anthologies. Her other books include Callaloo Nation: Metaphors of Race and Religious Identity among South Asians in Trinidad (Duke University Press, 2004) and Islam and the Americas (University Press of Florida, 2015). She has also been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Aleem Mahabir is a PhD candidate in Geography at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. His research interests lie at the intersection of Urban Geography, Social Exclusion and Psychology. His dissertation research focuses on the link among negative psychosocial dispositions, exclusion, and under-development among marginalized communities in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. You can find him on Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-11-07
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Geetanjali Srikantan, "Identifying and Regulating Religion in India: Law, History and the Place of Worship" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

Judicial debates on the regulation of religion in post-colonial India have been characterised by the inability of courts to identify religion as a governable phenomenon. Geetanjali Srikantan's book Identifying and Regulating Religion in India: Law, History and the Place of Worship (Cambridge UP, 2020) investigates the identification and regulation of religion through an intellectual history of law's creation of religion from the colonial to the post-colonial. Moving beyond conventional explanations on the failure of secularism and the secular state, it argues that the impasse in the legal regulation of religion lies in the methodologies and frameworks used by British colonial administrators in identifying and governing religion. Drawing on insights from post-colonial theory and religious studies, it demonstrates the role of secular legal reasoning in the background of Western intellectual history and Christian theology through an illustration of the place of worship. It is a contribution to South Asian legal history and sociolegal studies analysing court archives, colonial narratives and legislative documents. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-11-03
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Online Sanskrit Study Resources

A conversation with Michael Fiden about University of Texas at Austin?s new open access online resource for second-year Sanskrit students, either for self-study or as a supplement to instruction. Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-10-31
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Political Deification in South Asia

How can we understand the processes through which political leaders, god-men, stars of all kinds, and big or small deities mingle together in the public sphere? And what are the consequences of deifying politicians, or opening politics to the gods? In this episode, we discuss South Asian politicians who are treated like gods, and gods who enter politics. We focus, in other words, on political deification, a phenomenon that is in display across South Asia, but also beyond. In India, both national and regional parties work to reclaim the symbols of Hinduism, in order to compete with the discourse and politics of Hindu Nationalism, espoused by the incumbent government. As a result, both Hindu nationalism and its counter-cultures are now squarely placed in the domain of religious symbols, mythological narratives, and deified political figures. Similarly, deified and martyred figures of past conflicts now serve as national icons that cohere the polity in both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In this episode, Kenneth Bo Nielsen is joined by Moumita Sen, Michael Stausberg, Praskanva Sinharay and Sharika Thiranagama to discuss the phenomenon of political deification in South-Asia. Their discussion draws on a new thematic issue of the journal Religion, edited by Sen and Nielsen: Religion, volume 52, number 4. Moumita Sen is an associate professr of Culture Studies at MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion, and Society. Michael Stausberg is editor in chief of the journal Religion and professor of the Study of Religion at the University of Bergen. Praskanva Sinharay is a PhD scholar at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, and also a Research Consultant with the Election Commission of India. Sharika Thiranagama is an associate professor of anthropology at Stanford University. The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku and Asianettverket at the University of Oslo. We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia. About NIAS: http://www.nias.ku.dk/ Transcripts of the Nordic Asia Podcasts: http://www.nias.ku.dk/nordic-asia-podcast Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-10-28
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Ayurveda and Alchemy: A Conversation with Dagmar Wujastyk

A candid conversation with Dr. Dagmar Wujastyk about her fascinating work at the intersection of yoga, Ayurveda, and alchemy. Dr. Wujastyk?s online course ?Ayurveda, Yoga and Alchemy." Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-10-27
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On Social Media and Hinduism

Dheepa Sundaram (she/her/hers) is scholar of performance, ritual, yoga, and digital culture in South Asia at the University of Denver which sits on the unceded tribal lands of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe people. Her research examines the formation of Hindu virtual religious publics through online platforms, social media, apps, and emerging technologies such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Sundaram's current monograph project titled Globalizing Dharma examines how commercial ritual websites fashion a new, digital canon for Hindu religious praxis, effectively "branding" religious identities through a neoliberal "Vedicizing" of virtual spaces. Her most recent article explores how West Bengal?s Tourism initiatives use Instagram to foster virtual, ethnonationalist, social networks during Durga puja. Spotlighting issues of access/accessibility to religious spaces and the viability and visibility of online counter-narratives, especially those from minoritized/marginalized caste, gender, and class communities, Sundaram shows how Asur tribal groups who seek to recover an alternative history of their ancestor Mahisasura, are not only excluded, but, effaced through this kind of digital cultural marketing campaign. A forthcoming piece examines so-called YouTube yogis and how the commercial landscape of yoga as part of lifestyle "cures" becomes an unwitting partner in Hindu nationalist project of repatriating yoga as a national cultural artifact. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-10-25
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Martin Fárek, "India in the Eyes of Europeans: Conceptualization of Religion in Theology and Oriental Studies" (Karolinum Press, Charles University, 2021)

Martin Fárek's India in the Eyes of Europeans: Conceptualization of Religion in Theology and Oriental Studies (Karolinum Press, Charles University, 2021) is centred around the claim that although the research in Oriental and religious studies seemingly presents unbiased, objective interpretations of Indian traditions, it really puts forward distorted images which primarily reflect the researchers? own European culture. A thorough examination demonstrates to what extent Oriental studies as well as other humanities are still influenced by theological preconceptions. ?Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com.? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-10-20
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Ruth Harris, "Guru to the World: The Life and Legacy of Vivekananda" (Harvard UP, 2022)

Guru to the World: The Life and Legacy of Vivekananda (Harvard UP, 2022) tells the story of Swami Vivekananda, the nineteenth-century Hindu ascetic who introduced the West to yoga and to a tolerant, scientifically minded universalist conception of religion. Ruth Harris explores the many legacies of Vivekananda's thought, including his impact on anticolonial movements and contemporary Hindu nationalism. ?Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-10-13
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SOAS? Yoga Studies Online

Raj Balkaran speaks with Jacqui Hargreaves & Ruth Westoby about SOAS? exciting new online learning platform: Yoga Studies Online. Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-10-12
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Tenzan Eaghll and Rebekka King, "Representing Religion in Film" (Bloomsbury, 2021)

Tenzan Eaghll and Rebekka King's Representing Religion in Film (Bloomsbury, 2021) is the first full-length exploration of the relationship between religion, film, and ideology. It shows how religion is imagined, constructed, and interpreted in film and film criticism. The films analyzed include The Last Jedi, Terminator, Cloud Atlas, Darjeeling Limited, Hellboy, The Revenant, Religulous, Earth, and The Secret of my Success. Each chapter offers: - an explanation of the particular representation of religion that appears in film - a discussion of how this representation has been interpreted in film criticism and religious studies scholarship - an in-depth study of a Hollywood or popular film to highlight the rhetorical, social, and political functions this representation accomplishes on the silver screen - a discussion about how similar analysis might be pursued for other films of a similar genre, topic, or theme. Written in an accessible style, and focusing on Hollywood and popular cinema, this book will be of interest to both movie lovers and experts alike. Listeners might be interested in Tenzan Eaghll's podcast "Fascism in Cinema."  Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-10-06
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Michael Slouber, "Early Tantric Medicine: Snakebite, Mantras, and Healing in the Garuda Tantras" (Oxford UP, 2016)

Michael Slouber's Early Tantric Medicine: Snakebite, Mantras, and Healing in the Garuda Tantras (Oxford UP, 2016) looks at a traditional medical system that flourished over 1,000 years ago in India. The volume brings to life this rich tradition in which knowledge and faith are harnessed in complex visualizations accompanied by secret mantras to an array of gods and goddesses; this religious system is combined with herbal medicine and a fascinating mixof lore on snakes, astrology, and healing. The book's appendices include an accurate, yet readable translation of ten chapters of the most significant Tantric medical text to be recovered: the Kriyakalagunottara. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-09-29
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Karen O'Brien-Kop, "Phiroz Mehta: A Zoroastrian Teacher of Indian Philosophy of Religion in 1970s-80s Britain"

Phiroz Mehta, was a self-taught philosopher of religion who became the revered core figure of a universal religion and philosophy centred on concepts of existential freedom. Less well known than his contemporary and associate Jiddu Krishnamurti, Mehta nonetheless cultivated a significant following over some 25 years and influenced an early generation of yoga and meditation teachers and practitioners in the UK, as well as international New Age figures such as Fritjof Capra. His teachings centred on freedom in several ways: by focussing on the soteriologies of liberation in Indian religions, but also in the way that he combined teachings from Buddhism, Hinduism and Zoroastrianism with Christianity, Judaism (specifically Kabbalah) and Daoism. He offered his tutees the freedom to practice philosophy and religion in whatever way they wished by drawing on a broad range of traditions concurrently. This talk hopes to raise further awareness about the unknown history of this compelling figure and his contribution to the cultural transmission of Indian concepts of spirituality to Britain. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-09-22
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Manuela Ciotti, "Retro-modern India: Forging the Low Caste Self" (Routledge, 2020)

Manuela Ciotti's Retro-modern India: Forging the Low Caste Self (Routledge, 2020) is interesting engagement with Chamar identity and understanding it through the lens of modernity. Through a rich ethnographic engagement the book has looked into what Modernity meant for Chamar community and also the dialectical relationship such identity formation had with the discourse of Modernity.  Kalyani Kalyani is a sociologist and currently teaches at School of Arts and Sciences in Azim Premji University at Bengaluru. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-09-16
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Michael S. Allen, "The Ocean of Inquiry: Niscaldas and the Premodern Origins of Modern Hinduism" (Oxford UP, 2022)

Michael S. Allen's book The Ocean of Inquiry: Niscaldas and the Premodern Origins of Modern Hinduism (Oxford UP, 2022) focuses on a single remarkable work and its place within that history: "The Ocean of Inquiry," a vernacular compendium of Advaita Vedåanta by the North Indian monk Niâscaldåas (ca. 1791 - 1863). Though not well known today, Niâscaldåas's work was once referred to by Vivekananda (himself a key figure in the shaping of modern Hinduism) as the most influential book in India. The present book situates "The Ocean of Inquiry" as a representative of both a neglected genre (vernacular Vedåanta) and a neglected period (ca. 17th-19th centuries) in the history of Indian philosophy. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-09-15
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Silvia Schwarz Linder, "Goddess Traditions in India: Theological Poems and Philosophical Tales in the Tripurarahasya" (Routledge, 2022)

Silvia Schwarz Linder's Goddess Traditions in India: Theological Poems and Philosophical Tales in the Tripurarahasya (Routledge, 2022) is a study of the ?r?vidy? and ??kta traditions in the context of South Indian intellectual history in the late middle ages. Associated with the religious tradition known as ?r?vidy? and devoted to the cult of the Goddess Tripur?, the text was probably composed between the 13th and the 16th century CE. The analysis of its narrative parts addresses questions about the relationships between Tantric and Pur??ic goddesses. The discussion of its philosophical and theological teachings tackles problems related to the relationships between S?kta and ?aiva traditions. The stylistic devices adopted by the author(s) of the work deal uniquely with doctrinal and ritual elements of the ?r?vidy? through the medium of a literary and poetic language. This stylistic peculiarity distinguishes the Tripur?rahasya from many other Tantric texts, characterized by a more technical language. ?Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-09-08
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Aniket De, "The Boundary of Laughter: Popular Performances Across Borders in South Asia" (Oxford UP, 2022)

Combining archival research with ethnographic fieldwork, Aniket De's book The Boundary of Laughter: Popular Performances Across Borders in South Asia (Oxford UP, 2022) explores how spaces of popular performance have changed with the emergence of national borders in modern South Asia. The author traces the making of the popular theater form called Gambhira by Hindu and Muslim peasants and laborers in colonial Bengal, and explores the fate of the tradition after the Partition of the region in 1947. Drawing on a rich and hitherto unexplored archive of Gambhira songs and plays, this book provides a new approach for studying popular performances as shared spaces-that can accommodate peoples across national and religious boundaries. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-09-01
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Vinayak Chaturvedi, "Hindutva and Violence: V. D. Savarkar and the Essentials of History" (SUNY Press, 2022)

Hindutva and Violence: V. D. Savarkar and the Essentials of History (SUNY Press, 2022) explores the place of history in the political thought of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (1883-1966), the most controversial Indian political thinker of the twentieth century and a key architect of Hindu nationalism. Examining his central claim that Hindutva is not a word but a history, the book argues that, for Savarkar, this history was not a total history, a complete history, or a narrative history. Rather, its purpose was to trace key historical events to a powerful source--the font of motivation for chief actors of the past who had turned to violence in a permanent war for Hindutva as the founding principle of a Hindu nation. At the center of Savarkar's writings are historical characters who not only participated in ethical warfare against invaders, imperialists, and conquerors in India, but also became Hindus in acts of violence. He argues that the discipline of history provides the only method for interpreting Hindutva. The book also shows how Savarkar developed his conceptualization of history as a way into the meaning of Hindutva. Savarkar wrote extensively, from analyses of the nineteenth century to studies of antiquity, to draw up his histories of Hindus. He also turned to a wide range of works, from the epic tradition to contemporary social theory and world history, as his way of explicating Hindutva and history. By examining Savarkar's key writings on history, historical methodology, and historiography, Vinayak Chaturvedi provides an interpretation of the philosophical underpinnings of Hindutva. Savarkar's interpretation of Hindutva, he demonstrates, requires above all grappling with his idea of history. Ujaan Ghosh is a graduate student at the Department of Art History at University of Wisconsin, Madison Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-08-31
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Michael J. Altman, "Hinduism in America: An Introduction" (Routledge, 2022)

Hinduism in America: An Introduction (Routledge, 2022) is a concise introduction to the long history of religion in the encounter between America and India. It is not a book that will tell you what Hinduism is; rather, it is an introduction to the variety of ways in which Hinduism has been represented, constructed, and practiced in the United States. Americans have been interested in the religions of India since the colonial period, and by the late nineteenth century the first Hindu teachers arrived in the United States. Throughout the twentieth century, interest in Hinduism and yoga grew, even as anti-Asian and anti-immigrant politics and policies in America intensified. When the Cold War led to changes in U.S. immigration policy in 1965, new immigrant communities arrived in the United States and built new Hindu institutions. ?Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-08-25
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On Yoga, Cultural Appropriation, and Racism

Shreena Gandhi is a multi-faceted cultural historian of religion with expertise in religion, race, the Americas and Hinduism. Trained at Swarthmore, Harvard and the University of Florida, Professor Gandhi currently teaches at Michigan State University, where she starts off the first few weeks of all her classes introducing students to the concept of structural white supremacy and why that is important for a better understanding religion in the U.S. Her research and public scholarship are on the history of yoga, and she is revising a manuscript on this using the framework of white supremacy and cultural appropriation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-08-22
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Caleb Simmons, "Singing the Goddess Into Place: Locality, Myth, and Social Change in Chamundi of the Hill, a Kannada Folk Ballad" (SUNY Press, 2022)

Singing the Goddess Into Place: Locality, Myth, and Social Change in Chamundi of the Hill, a Kannada Folk Ballad (SUNY Press, 2022) demonstrates how folk narratives reflect local context while also actively working to upend social inequities based on caste and ritual/devotional practices. By delving into this world, the book helps us understand how a landscape is transformed through people's relationship with it and how this relationship helps build meaning for the communities that call it home. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-08-18
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Meenal Shrivastava, "Amma?s Daughters: A Memoir" (Athabasca UP, 2018)

Today I talked to about Amma?s Daughters: A Memoir (Athabasca UP, 2018). This book is available open access here.  As a precocious young girl, Surekha knew very little about the details of her mother Amma?s unusual past and that of Babu, her mysterious and sometimes absent father. The tense, uncertain family life created by her parents? distant and fractious marriage and their separate ambitions informs her every action and emotion. Then one evening, in a moment of uncharacteristic transparency and vulnerability, Amma tells Surekha and her older sister Didi of the family tragedy that changed the course of her life. Finally, the daughters begin to understand the source of their mother?s deep commitment to the Indian nationalist movement and her seemingly unending willingness to sacrifice in the name of that pursuit. In this re-memory based on the published and unpublished work of Amma and Surekha, Meenal Shrivastava, Surekha?s daughter, uncovers the history of the female foot soldiers of Gandhi?s national movement in the early twentieth century. As Meenal weaves these written accounts together with archival research and family history, she gives voice and honour to the hundreds of thousands of largely forgotten or unacknowledged women who, threatened with imprisonment for treason and sedition, relentlessly and selflessly gave toward the revolution. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-08-15
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Koushiki Dasgupta, "Sadhus in Indian Politics: Dynamics of Hindutva" (Sage, 2021)

Koushiki Dasgupta's Sadhus in Indian Politics: Dynamics of Hindutva (Sage, 2021) maps the changing face of contemporary Hindu politics, evaluating the influence of sadhus (ascetics) on the course of politics in India. This book explores the anxieties around ascetic engagement with public affairs, understanding politics as janaseva and polities as rajniti, and the authority exercised by these sadhus. It investigates the spirit of ?individualism? reflected by the sadhus in the organized and unorganized domains of politics, and traces the dialectics of ?Hindutva? reflected through selected case studies, exposing the patterns of how the sadhus got involved in the muddled world of politics. This book also demonstrates the uneasy conflict between the modern Hindu right wing and Hindu traditionalists with their advocacy of Sanatan Dharma. It turns towards sadhus and gurus to explore the ?Hindu-ness? of the Hindus and confronts the metanarrative of Hindutva offered by various institutions. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-08-11
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Marion (Mugs) McConnell, "Letters from the Yoga Masters" (North Atlantic Books, 2016)

This intimate and insightful account of the life of Dr. Harry (Hari) Dickman, referred to by Swami Sivananda as ?the yogi of the West,? features more than fifty years of correspondence between Dickman and well-known yoga masters such as Swami Sivananda, Ramana Maharshi, Paramhansa Yogananda, and almost one hundred others. Marion (Mugs) McConnell, Dickman?s student, has created a brilliant and loving tribute to her teacher, who founded the Latvian Yoga Society in the early 1930s and later spread his knowledge in the U.S. with the blessings of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi.  Offering a broad range of information on yoga history, theory, and techniques from a variety of different paths, Letters from the Yoga Masters (North Atlantic Books, 2016) contains a treasure trove of previously unavailable material and presents detailed teachings about pranayama, mudras, diet, and much more, all interwoven with stories and personal anecdotes. Taken together, the rare correspondence and personal chronicles provide an unparalleled glimpse into the life of a yogi, the development of yoga in the West, and the ways that spiritual wealth is disseminated across generations. Some resources:  -SOYA (South Okanagan Yoga Academy) -Letters from the Yoga Masters -Yoga Masters playlist Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-08-11
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Kajri Jain, "Gods in the Time of Democracy" (Duke UP, 2021)

In 2018 India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, inaugurated the world's tallest statue: a 597-foot figure of nationalist leader Sardar Patel. Twice the height of the Statue of Liberty, it is but one of many massive statues built following India's economic reforms of the 1990s. In Gods in the Time of Democracy (Duke UP, 2021), Kajri Jain examines how monumental icons emerged as a religious and political form in contemporary India, mobilizing the concept of emergence toward a radical treatment of art historical objects as dynamic assemblages. Drawing on a decade of fieldwork at giant statue sites in India and its diaspora and interviews with sculptors, patrons, and visitors, Jain masterfully describes how public icons materialize the intersections between new image technologies, neospiritual religious movements, Hindu nationalist politics, globalization, and Dalit-Bahujan verifications of equality and presence. Centering the ex-colony in rethinking key concepts of the image, Jain demonstrates how these new aesthetic forms entail a simultaneously religious and political retooling of the "infrastructures of the sensible." ?Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-08-04
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Wendy Doniger, "After the War: The Last Books of the Mahabharata" (Oxford UP, 2022)

Wendy Doniger's After the War: The Last Books of the Mahabharata (Oxford UP, 2022) is a new translation of the final part of the Mahabharata, the great Sanskrit Epic poem about a devastating fraternal war. In this aftermath of the great war, the surviving heroes find various deaths, ranging from a drunken debacle in which they kill many of their own comrades to suicide through meditation and, finally, magical transportation to both heaven and hell. Bereaved mothers and widows on earth are comforted when their dead sons and husbands are magically conjured up from heaven and emerge from a river to spend one glorious night on earth with their loved ones. Ultimately, the bitterly opposed heroes of both sides are reconciled in heaven, but only when they finally let go of the vindictive masculine pride that has made each episode of violence give rise to another. Throughout the text, issues of truth and reconciliation, of the competing beliefs in various afterlives, and of the ultimate purpose of human life are debated. This last part of the Mahabharata has much to tell us both about the deep wisdom of Indian poets during the centuries from 300 BCE to 300 CE (the dates of the recension of this enormous text) and about the problems that we ourselves confront in the aftermath of our own genocidal and internecine wars. The author, a distinguished translator of Sanskrit texts (including the Rig Veda, the Laws of Manu, and the Kamasutra), puts the text into clear, flowing, contemporary prose, with a comprehensive but unintrusive critical apparatus. This book will delight general readers and enlighten students of Indian civilization and of great world literature. ?Ujaan Ghosh is a graduate student at the Department of Art History at University of Wisconsin, Madison Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-08-02
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Suman Nath, "Democracy and Social Cleavage in India: Ethnography of Riots, Everyday Politics and Communalism in West Bengal (2012-2021)" (Routledge, 2022)

Suman Nath's book Democracy and Social Cleavage in India: Ethnography of Riots, Everyday Politics and Communalism in West Bengal (2012-2021) (Routledge, 2022) explores the emergence of identity politics and violence at the forefront of political life in an Indian state. Through a close reading of everyday politics in West Bengal, India, which until recently boasted of the longest-serving elected communist government in the world, the volume presents unique observations on Indian politics and its trajectories. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-07-28
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Naman P. Ahuja, "Marg Magazine: Readings on the Temple"

In October 1946, shortly before Independence, Mulk Raj Anand founded Marg, a magazine that soon became a pioneering forum for research on Indian and South Asian art and architecture. Over its 75 years, Marg (in its quarterly magazine as well as books) has promoted a deeper understanding of eras past while examining contemporary art practices. To mark our platinum anniversary, we are delving into Marg's archive of writing on temple art and architecture, to understand the shifts in perspective over the decades. The result is a lavishly illustrated magazine, which could also serve as a guide for educators teaching the Indian Temple over a semester. It presents a cross-section of themes and covers both key sites?Khajuraho, Thanjavur and Konarak?and those less written about?Kashmir, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Kerala. These are unique not only architecturally, but also from the point of view of patronage and the diverse public functions they served. Conceptualized and curated by our General Editor, Dr Naman P. Ahuja, the essays have been contextualised through a contemporary lens. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-07-21
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Simran Jeet Singh, "The Light We Give: How Sikh Wisdom Can Transform Your Life" (Riverhead, 2022)

An inspiring approach to a happier, more fulfilling life through Sikh teachings on love and service.  As a boy growing up in South Texas, Simran Jeet Singh and his brothers confronted racism daily: at school, in their neighborhood, playing sports, and later in college and beyond. Instead, Singh delved deep into the Sikh teachings that he grew up with and embraced the lessons to seek the good in every person and situation and to find positive ways to direct his energy. Singh reaches beyond his comfort zone to practice this deeper form of living and explores how everyone can learn the insights and skills that have kept him engaged and led him to commit to activism without becoming consumed by anger, self-pity, or burnout. Part memoir, part spiritual journey, The Light We Give: How Sikh Wisdom Can Transform Your Life (Riverhead, 2022) is a transformative book of hope that shows how each of us can turn away from fear and uncertainty and move toward renewal and positive change. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-07-19
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Antonio Rigopoulos, "The Hagiographer and the Avatar: The Life and Works of Narayan Kasturi" (SUNY Press, 2021)

In The Hagiographer and the Avatar: The Life and Works of Narayan Kasturi (SUNY Press, 2021), Antonio Rigopoulos explores the fundamental role of a hagiographer within a charismatic religious movement: in this case, the postsectarian, cosmopolitan community of the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba. The guru's hagiographer, Narayan Kasturi, was already a distinguished litterateur by the time he first met Sathya Sai Baba in 1948. Drawing on years of research on the movement as well as interviews with Kasturi himself, this book deepens our understanding of this important pan-Indian figure and his charismatic religious movement. You can find oral testimonies about Sai Baba here.  Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-07-14
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Evan Berry, "Climate Politics and the Power of Religion" (Indiana UP, 2022)

How does our faith affect how we think about and respond to climate change? Climate Politics and the Power of Religion (Indiana University Press, 2022) is an edited collection that explores the diverse ways that religion shapes climate politics at the local, national, and international levels. Drawing on case studies from across the globe, it stands at the intersection of religious studies, environment policy, and global politics. From small island nations confronting sea-level rise and intensifying tropical storms to high-elevation communities in the Andes and Himalayas wrestling with accelerating glacial melt, there is tremendous variation in the ways that societies draw on religion to understand and contend with climate change. Climate Politics and the Power of Religion offers 10 timely case studies that demonstrate how different communities render climate change within their own moral vocabularies and how such moral claims find purchase in activism and public debates about climate policy. Whether it be Hindutva policymakers in India, curanderos in Peru, or working-class people's concerns about the transgressions of petroleum extraction in Trinidad?religion affects how they all are making sense of and responding to this escalating global catastrophe. Evan Berry is an associate professor of Environmental Humanities at Arizona State University and President of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-07-14
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Matthew Clark, "Botanical Ecstasies: Psychoactive Plant Formulas in India and Beyond" (Psychedelic Press, 2021)

In Botanical Ecstasies: Psychoactive Plant Formulas in India and Beyond, Dr Matthew Clark proposes that soma/hoama is instead an ayahuasca-like plant complex made from many different species. He discusses a range of candidates that reliably grow in the right areas and which in combination might produce an effect similar to the so-called 'classic' psychedelics. These early ecstatic experiences, he suggests, contributed to the emergent concept and ritual techniques of mysticism. ?Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-07-07
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Robin Dunbar, "How Religion Evolved: And Why It Endures" (Oxford UP, 2022)

What is the evolutionary purpose of religion, and are some individuals more inclined than others to be religious? Our species diverged from the great apes six to eight million years ago. Since then, our propensity toward spiritual thinking and ritual emerged. How, when, and why did this occur, and how did the earliest, informal shamanic practices evolve into the world religions familiar to us today? In How Religion Evolved: And Why It Endures (Oxford UP, 2022), Robin Dunbar explores these and other questions, mining the distinctions between religions of experience--as practiced by the earliest hunter-gatherer societies--and doctrinal religions, from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and their many derivatives. Examining religion's origins, social functions, its effects on the brain and body, and its place in the modern era, Dunbar offers a fascinating and far-reaching analysis of the quintessentially human impulse to reach beyond. Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network?s Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. Write her at [email protected] Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-07-07
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A Conversation with Sravana Borkataky-Varma

A candid conversation with Dr. Sravana Borkataky-Varma, historian, practitioner, educator, and social entrepreneur.  Women and Gender in Hindu Tantra Tantra: The Body and Release, an Esalen Signature Series Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-07-05
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Radha Raghunathan, "Soaring with Bharati in the Wisdom-Chariot (Ñ?naratam)" (Adyar Library, 2022)

Mahakavi Subramania Bharati was a multi-faceted genius, an innovative poet who initiated a new era in Tamil literature. He was the first writer to have introduced to the Tamil literary world a new genre called ?novella? by his composition of Ñ?naratam (?The Wisdom-chariot?) written in elegant Tamil prose. In Soaring with Bharati in the Wisdom-Chariot (Ñ?naratam), Dr Radha Raghunathan gives the biographical background of Bharati, his association with Dr. Annie Besant of the Theosophical Society and his contributions for ?New India? and ?Commonweal,? and a translation of Bharati?s ?novella? Ñ?naratam. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-06-30
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Simon Atkinson, "Krishnamacharya on Kundalini: The Origins and Coherence of His Position" (Equinox Publishing, 2022)

Krishnamacharya on Kundalini: The Origins and Coherence of His Position (Equinox Publishing, 2022) explores a distinctive teaching of 'the father of modern yoga', T. Krishnamacharya. Whereas most yoga traditions teach that ku??alin? is a serpentine energy that rises, Krishnamacharya defined it differently. To him, ku??alin? is a serpentine blockage which prevents pr??a (breath or life-force) from rising and which represents avidy? (spiritual ignorance). Simon Atkinson draws from over 20 years of study and practice under teachers following Krishnamacharya. He combines analysis of quotations from yoga workshops with a detailed study of traditional Sanskrit texts. Atkinson challenges claims that Krishnamacharya's position can be found in his religious tradition of ?r?vai??avism. He questions the tradition's reliance on textual sources, showing how the coherence of Krishnamacharya's position can only be maintained by employing elaborate arguments and rejecting texts that teach otherwise. Atkinson also explores how Krishnamacharya's teaching on ku??alin? influences how yoga is practiced. He argues that Krishnamacharya's position is best viewed as a model for experience that guides practice. ?Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-06-29
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Raj Balkaran, "The Stories Behind the Poses: The Indian Mythology That Inspired 50 Yoga Postures" (Leaping Hare, 2022)

Raj Balkaran's 200th podcast episode: Christa Kuberry interviews him on his beautifully written new book The Stories Behind the Poses: The Indian Mythology That Inspired 50 Yoga Postures (Leaping Hare, 2022), and highlighting their significance for practice.  Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-06-27
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Srilata Raman, "The Transformation of Tamil Religion: Ramalinga Swamigal and Modern Dravidian Sainthood" (Routledge, 2022)

Srilata Raman's book The Transformation of Tamil Religion: Ramalinga Swamigal and Modern Dravidian Sainthood (Routledge, 2022) analyses the religious ideology of a Tamil reformer and saint, Ramalinga Swamigal of the 19th century and his posthumous reception in the Tamil country and sheds light on the transformation of Tamil religion that both his works and the understanding of him brought about. This book is a path-breaking study that also traces the common grounds between the religious visions of two of the most prominent subaltern figures of Tamil modernity - Iyothee Thass and Ramalingar. It argues that these transformations are one meaningful way for a religious tradition to cope with and come to terms with the implications of historicization and the demands of colonial modernity. It is, therefore, a valuable contribution to the field of religion, South Asian history and literature and Subaltern studies. This book is available open access here.  Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-06-23
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Mark Siderits, "How Things Are: An Introduction to Buddhist Metaphysics" (Oxford UP, 2021)

Mark Siderits? How Things Are: An Introduction to Buddhist Metaphysics (Oxford University Press, 2022) is a wide-ranging survey of how Buddhist philosophers think about the nature of the world. The book takes readers through topics such as the well-known claim that there is no self, in addition to issues involved in causation, consciousness, and the metaphysics of time. Siderits argues that, as mereological nihilists, Buddhists deny the existence of conventional persons as well as the more ontologically robust self. He shows how their sparse ontology makes use of causation as the central explanation for the wholes that ordinary people mistakenly take to exist. Throughout the book, Siderits makes connections between seminal analytic thinkers like Russell and Frege as well as more contemporary work in metaphysics. Written for philosophically-trained readers, the book emphasizes reconstruction of the arguments for important Buddhist metaphysical ideas, grounded in references to particular texts, thinkers, and traditions. Malcolm Keating is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Yale-NUS College. His research focuses on Sanskrit works of philosophy in Indian traditions, in the areas of language and epistemology. He is the author of Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy (Bloomsbury Press, 2019) and host of the podcast Sutras & Stuff. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-06-20
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Karen O'Brien-Kop, "Rethinking 'Classical Yoga' and Buddhism" (Bloomsbury, 2021)

Rethinking 'Classical Yoga' and Buddhism (Bloomsbury, 2021) revisits the early systemic formation of meditation practices called 'yoga' in South Asia by employing metaphor theory. Karen O'Brien-Kop also develops an alternative way of analysing the reception history of yoga that aims to decentre the Eurocentric and imperialist enterprises of the nineteenth-century to reframe the cultural period of the 1st ? 5th centuries CE using categorical markers from South Asian intellectual history. Buddhist traditions were just as concerned as Hindu traditions with meditative disciplines of yoga. This analysis demystifies early yoga-meditation as a timeless 'classical' practice and locates it in a specific material context of agrarian and urban economies. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-06-16
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On Early American Yoga

Philip Deslippe is a historian of American religion with a background in American Studies and literature. His research focuses on Asian, metaphysical, and marginal religions in modern America. Philip is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara and writing a dissertation on the early history of yoga in the United States from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-06-15
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Roger R. Jackson, "Rebirth: A Guide to Mind, Karma, and Cosmos in the Buddhist World" (Shambhala, 2022)

Although Buddhism is one of the religious traditions best known for asserting rebirth, the history and scope of Buddhist approaches to the idea has not received comprehensive treatment?until now. This first-ever guide to ideas and practices surrounding rebirth in Buddhism covers the historical context for the Buddha?s teachings on the topic, explains what Buddhists believe is actually reborn and where, surveys rebirth-related practices in multiple Buddhist cultures, and considers whether all Buddhist traditions agree about what happens after death. Roger R. Jackson's book Rebirth: A Guide to Mind, Karma, and Cosmos in the Buddhist World (Shambhala, 2022)is, in short, the first truly comprehensive overview of rebirth across the major Buddhist traditions, written by a leading scholar and teacher of Buddhism. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/indian-religions
2022-06-09
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