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Archaeologies of power: materialization of imperial ideology on the Aśoka horizon

Graduate Seminars in Indic Religions
Ken Ishikawa
7 Jun 2013

Archaeologists have conceptualized power either as personal potency or something structural, but more comprehensively as nothing but the dialectical relationship between the two. Comparatively in Indic philosophy, both the normative knowledge of statecraft and personal experience of the ruler were considered as integral to the exercise of overlordship. I will thus archaeologically investigate the role of Aśoka the Great in exploiting sources of power especially (but not exclusively) ideology through the archaeological theory of materialization. It has been argued that ideology can be materialized: in ancient South Asia, ideology assumed its materialized forms as royal orders on permanent materials, monuments/monumental art, coins, rituals, distributions of imperial art/architecture/artifacts or settlement patterns/hierarchies.

The contents, contexts and locations of Aśokan edicts best manifest the modes of power of the Indic world. I will first challenge the discrepancy between Aśoka’s proselytization of Buddhism and religious tolerance as well as the long-held dichotomy of the Buddhist and Brahmanical models of his kingship. Secularization of certain technical terms in Aśokan edicts and their geopolitical locations rather support such imperial strategies as universal pacification and compartmentalization. The collective evidence of the royal orders of Aśoka, Khāravera, Rudradāman and Samudragupta will further illuminate the cakravartin kingship of the Indo-European origin. I will hypothesize that Aśoka as cakravartin materialized his power by marking his symbolic circumambulation of his empire with his Major and Minor Rock Edicts located on Mauryan borderlands.

Corporeal relics in stupa deposits from Gandhara

Graduate Seminars in Indic Religions
Wannaporn Rienjang
7 Jun 2013

 

The literary tradition has it that after the Buddha left his earthly body, his body was cremated and his bones divided between 8 kings. These bones are, according to Buddhist tradition, corporeal relics of the Buddha. The 8 kings subsequently buried the Buddha’s bones inside a ritual monument called stupa in their own kingdoms. Literature also claims that the 8 stupas were later opened by King Asoka, who distributed the bones, and had them buried in 84,000 stupas. The deposition of objects inside stupas in Gandhara, present-day northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan, could be traced back to the mid 2nd century BC.

Not all Gandharan stupas contain bones. Bones in Gandharan stupas consist of both burned and unburned bones. All burned bones are of small size, while unburned bones are of different sizes and show obvious indication of being animal bones. This presentation will look at the spatial distribution of bones in Gandharan stupa deposits, and attempt to discuss reasons of the absence of bones in some stupas. One of the main arguments for the absence of the bones concerns the attitudes towards body remains. Apart from Buddhists, Gandhara was also inhabited by Zoroastrians and Hindus, to whom dead body is considered impure. The co-inhabiting of the Buddhists with the Zoroastrians and Hindus may have prompted the exclusion of bones in stupa deposits.

Rudolf Otto's Perspective of Indian Religious Thought

Prof. Yoshitsugu Sawai
5 Jun 2013

In the early modern period since the seventeenth century, after contact between East and West became vigorous, Indian religious thought was introduced to the West and attracted the attention of Western intellectuals. One of these intellectuals was the Lutheran theologian Rudolf Otto (1869–1937). In his works on Indian religious thought, Otto focused on Vedanta philosophy, represented by Sankara and Ramanuja, and on Vaisnava faith in Hindu religious tradition. According to his framework of religions, the Hindu tradition as the “bhakti religion” corresponds to the Christian tradition in the West. From a comparative viewpoint of religions, based on his Christian theological studies, he argued that religions provided “parallel lines of development” in the East and the West. In my lecture, I would like to clarify the characteristics of Otto’s perspective of Indian religious thought from a hermeneutical perspective of religion and to re-examine to what extent his view may be adequate for the understanding of Hindu tradition.

Prof. Yoshitsugu Sawai is Professor of the History of Religions and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Tenri University (Japan), as well as Advisor of the Japan Association of Religion and Ethics. He is the author of The Faith of Ascetics and Lay Smartas: A Study of the Sankaran Tradition of Srngeri (Sammlung De Nobili).

The Tantric Deliberations of Octavio Paz

Graduate Seminars in Indic Religions
David Soud
31 May 2013

The Mexican poet and essayist Octavio Paz is largely thought of as a Latin American writer, but both his roots as a writer and his fields of interest extended around the world, and Indic traditions held a particular fascination for him. In 1952, en route to a diplomatic post in Japan, Paz first travelled in India; he returned as Mexican ambassador in 1962, remaining until he resigned his post in 1968 in protest over the Mexican government’s mistreatment of student demonstrators. During his years in India, Paz took a special interest in Tantra, and Tantric thought and imagery figures in many of his finest works, from Sunstone (1956) through the poems of East Slope (1969) and beyond. He also wrote several essays on India and its traditions. This talk will focus on how Paz incorporated Tantric elements into his poetic vision, which not only sustains a delicate balance between the One and the many but also returns repeatedly to questions of subjectivity and consciousness.

Cosmopolitan visions of the homeland. How Hindus in the diaspora are renegotiating multiple identities

Graduate Seminars in Indic Religions
Nirav Amin
24 May 2013

Hindus in Britain are undergoing an interesting shift in their understanding of place within society at large. From multicultural parodies of ghettos, to the current appreciable cosmopolitan ethos within many Hindu communities in Britain, this paper shall evaluate some key elements that could explain why homeland inclinations may be evolving in the next generation.

Cosmopolitanism is now increasingly being raised to avoid the drawbacks of essentialism or some kind of zero-sum, all-or-nothing understanding of identity issues within a nation-state framework (Clifford 1998).

It is amongst the backdrop of an emerging cosmopolitan that we can attempt to find ways in which Hindus have been negotiating the public, private, and religious spaces within which identity creation has been occurring. By using the framework of cosmopolitanism, we can attempt to understand the emerging new rhetoric of identity creation, and how these identities have been evolving over the course of multiple generations (Amin 2012).

Temple building has served as one pillar, amongst many, that have served in performing this renegotiation of identities. They have served as a response to the diasporic longings of a transnational community, but most importantly, in a way that is ‘recognised’ and ‘accepted’ by their host community (Kim 2007).

Hindus, raised in the ‘West’, whom are encultured into the ‘Western’ notions of religion and identity, are often caught in the middle between their ‘Eastern’ transnational linkages, beliefs, and understandings, and their daily lived reality. This paper seeks to investigate this hybrid space between the West and East in the minds and lived realities of the Hindus in Britain.

'Till all nations hear': enhancing the legacy of the American Baptist Missionary Union in Nagaland

Graduate Seminars in Indic Religions
Iliyana Angelova
24 May 2013

In the 19th century, led by their desire to convert the Shans of Upper Burma and ultimately reach China, missionaries from the American Baptist Missionary Union ended up in the plains of Assam in Northeast India and from there embarked on a dangerous evangelising mission among the 'wild' and 'uncivilised' Naga tribes inhabiting the hills bordering Assam. What proved to be a slow and difficult beginning resulted in the mass conversion of the Naga to Christianity which gave them reason to proudly proclaim by the end of the 20th century that they were the most Christian state in the world. Building up on the example of the American missionaries, Naga Christianity nowadays is characterised by a distinct evangelical zeal which has led Naga missionaries all over the world. The paper will seek to elucidate the ideology and some of the challenges which underpin this contemporary missionary endeavour.

Swami Vivekananda and the Transformation of Indian Philanthropy

Prof. Prabhu Guptara
21 May 2013

Arising from research towards a history of Indian philanthropy, the lecture examines the influence of Swami Vivekananda. Briefly, the argument is that Indian philanthropy was transformed from its focus on temples and priests (with occasional charity to the poor), to take in "modern" concerns such as schools, hospitals, orphanages and other areas of public interest; and that Swami Vivekananda's impact prepared the way for the expansion of the ambit of Indian philanthropy to national and international concerns.

Yeats’s Tantric Synthesis

Graduate Seminars in Indic Religions
David Soud
17 May 2013

In his final decade, the poet William Butler Yeats embarked on several years of study and collaboration with Shri Purohit Swami, an Indian monk. Though their partnership chiefly led to English translations of the Upanishads and the Yoga Sūtras, Yeats found himself deeply attracted to Tantra. Having read some of Sir John Woodroffe’s texts, and having been instructed in Tantra by Purohit, he incorporated Tantric principles into his later work, including his 1937 revision of A Vision and several later poems. Just as he once wrote that Nietzsche completed Blake, Yeats found that Tantra completed Nietzsche, offering a vision of the cosmos that divinized the full range of human experience. This talk will address how Yeats’s fascinating, if often flawed and self-serving, poetic appropriation of Tantra informs some of his major late works.

Hindu Theology Seminar 2

Dr Jessica Frazier
16 May 2013

Hindu Theology is an emerging field of academic inquiry. These two seminars seek to examine the boundaries and possibilities for such inquiry. According to the classical Christian definition, theology is ‘faith seeking understanding.’ Is this an adequate understanding of theology from a Hindu perspective? Is there a Hindu Theology or simply a proliferation of multiple theologies? Is faith seeking understanding simply apologetics or can the understanding come from an external discipline (such as philosophy, psychology, sociology, or neurology)? Is there a place for Hindu theology as an ‘insider’ discourse in the publically funded university? If disciplines are defined by their method and object, what is the object of Hindu theology? If God is unknowable can there be an inquiry into her? Or is the object of theology ‘revelation’ in which case Theology is concerned with history and culture? Is Hindu Theology a development in the English language of the ‘discourse’ (vāda) tradition of Sanskrit commentary or is it something different? These questions and others will be explored during these two seminars. Active participation is expected.

Muslim Representations of Women in Medinah Newspaper, Bijnaur

Graduate Seminars in Indic Religions
Megan Robb
10 May 2013

This paper will look at the representation of female sexuality in the "women's newspaper" sections of the Urdu language newspaper Medinah, published in Bijnaur district of Uttar Pradesh, India. The paper’s analysis focuses on the Urdu-language newspaper Medinah, which was published in Bijnaur district of the then United Provinces, India from 1912 until 1975. In 1912, Maulana Majid Hasan started a new publication named Medinah, named for both the holy city of Islam and the boat that carried George V to his coronation darbar in Delhi. Despite Hasan’s nod to royal authority, complete with sketches glorifying the boat Medinah that had brought the English king to South Asian shores, the newspaper became sympathetic to the Khilafat Movement and, eventually, the call for self-government. The newspaper published columns from adherents to the Deoband reformist movement, other prominent ‘ulama, and laymen in an attempt to establish a space where South Asian Muslims could carry on discourse on issues of spiritual and social importance in their native tongue. Medinah grew into a significant voice for Muslims, loyal to the British Empire but nevertheless critical of the West. As social and political realities rapidly transformed society, the editors and contributors in Medinah sought not merely to report on the diverse attitudes of Muslims toward these changes, but more importantly it sought to shape discourse on what it meant to be Muslim in the first half of the twentieth century. Women remained a major focus for the newspaper, which boasted a “women’s newspaper” section regularly published on issues of particular relevance to women. Through reading these women’s newspapers, as well as Medinah‘s coverage of newsworthy women, a portrait of female sexuality emerges as being closely tied to the well-being of the Muslim community.

Strangers in the temple: An ethnographic study of the Nanakpathi traders in a Chinese textile city

Graduate Seminars in Indic Religions
Ka-Kin Cheuk
3 May 2013

This paper aims to examine the processes by which the collective migrant identity of the Nanakpathi (the followers of Guru Nanak) traders is inhibited even though these traders regularly get together in the Sikh Temple. I will explain this process through an ethnographic study conducted in the Sikh Temple at the Shaoxing county of Zhejiang province in China. Shaoxing is now the largest fabrics wholesale market in Asia, in which over 10,000 Nanakpathi middleman traders are based. These Nanakpathis are mostly Sikhs or Sindhis, specializing in the transnational trades of fabrics and having lived in China for some years. These Sikhs and Sindhis often visit the Sikh Temple for their individual religious needs. Based on my long-term observation in the Temple, I found these traders rarely interact with each other despite their public religious engagement in the temple. In other words, neither collective migrant identity nor substantial form of social organization has been formed among these young Nanakpathis. Drawing light from their business practices in China, I argue that these traders indeed have legitimate reasons not to make local Indian friends in the Temple, thereby enabling their middleman business to thrive.

Hindu Theology Seminar 1

Dr Rembert Lutjeharms
2 May 2013

Hindu Theology is an emerging field of academic inquiry. These two seminars seek to examine the boundaries and possibilities for such inquiry. According to the classical Christian definition, theology is ‘faith seeking understanding.’ Is this an adequate understanding of theology from a Hindu perspective? Is there a Hindu Theology or simply a proliferation of multiple theologies? Is faith seeking understanding simply apologetics or can the understanding come from an external discipline (such as philosophy, psychology, sociology, or neurology)? Is there a place for Hindu theology as an ‘insider’ discourse in the publically funded university? If disciplines are defined by their method and object, what is the object of Hindu theology? If God is unknowable can there be an inquiry into her? Or is the object of theology ‘revelation’ in which case Theology is concerned with history and culture? Is Hindu Theology a development in the English language of the ‘discourse’ (vāda) tradition of Sanskrit commentary or is it something different? These questions and others will be explored during these two seminars. Active participation is expected.

The Roots of Early Hindi Literary Culture

Majewski Lecture
Dr. Imre Bangha
29 Apr 2013

The theoretical framework of Hindi literature today is still defined by the almost century-old History of Hindi Literature (1929) of Ramchand Shukla. This History, written at the time of the Indian freedom struggle, created the image of a national literature extended in time and space. Rejecting claims for a 1000–1500 year old history, my talk examines the emergence of vernacular literature in the Gangetic Plain in the fourteenth century,and argues for continuity in poetic genres, forms and language between the Jain-inspired Maru Gurjar literature and the poetic idioms of Avadhi and Brajbhasha. Using reliably dated literary material, it documents the spread of Maru Gurjar literature beyond Gujarat and Rajasthan into Central North India (Madhyadesha) and presents how non-Jains used this trans-regional literary idiom to develop it into more localised ones that in modern times came to be considered literary dialects of Hindi.

Dr. Bangha is a Lecturer in Hindi. His research has focused on early modern Hindi poetry and he has produced editions and translations of early modern Hindi texts. His research interests include the emergence of Hindi as a literary dialect in various scripts, textual transmission and Hindi manuscript culture, riti poetry and the continuity of classical Sanskrit aesthetics in court literature and individual poets such as Vishnudas, Kabir, Tulsidas, and others. He publishes his work in both English and Hungarian. Among his publications are Hungry Tiger: Encounter between India and Central Europe – the case of Hungarian and Bengali Literary Cultures(Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, 2007) and a translation of Indian short stories into Hungarian (E. Greskovits ed., Tehén a barikádon: Indiai elbeszélések (The Cow of the Barricades: Indian Short Stories) Pallas Akademia, M. Ciuc/Csíkszereda, 2008). He is currently working on several editions and translations of early modern Hindi texts including ‘Love, Scorpion in the Hand’: Late Brajbhasha Court Poetry from Bundelkhand: Thākur-kabittāvali (critical edition accompanied with an introduction and English translation of selected poems).

Graduate Seminars in Indic Religions 4

Graduate Seminars in Indic Religions
8 Mar 2013

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.

Was Vaiśeşika a materialistic darsana? An inquiry into Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya's Marxist analysis
Ionut Moise

One of the philosophical systems which enjoy a relatively great amount of attention in Chattopadhyaya’s writings is Vaiśeşika. That is a curious case indeed, since Chattopadhyaya (1918 – 1993) was an enthusiast materialist philosopher, while Vaiśeşika, at least in its later form, a staunch defender of theism (e.g. Udayana). Yet, Vaiśeşika provided Chattopadhyaya with an interesting argument as its evolution shows that originally it was not a theistic system. Theism is a later occurrence in the system. I start from the presumption that Chattopadhyaya’s view is not completely false.

The first part of my paper will look at his explanations regarding the evolution of ideas in Vaiśeşika, and I will try to explain that Chattopadhyaya's views are relatively true. The second part of my paper, however, will look at Vaiśeşika’s primary sources, which despite their lack of explicit theistic stances, shows a rather different view of theism, namely that of a ‘divine entity’, the self. And this is the 'theism' which Vaiśeşika would eventually develop.

“A bridge between the past and the future”: accessing Auroville
Emily Kilburn

Auroville is an International township in South India; the only place of its kind in the world. It is a community inspired by the texts of Sri Aurobindo; an Indian thinker who aimed to integrate the philosophies of the East and West, Idealism and Materialism, the Individual and his Society.

This talk questions the inter-relationship between the textual, political, psychological and spiritual dimensions that make up the Auroville project. In doing so it reconsiders the constructs used to theoretically access and conceive textual and social aggregates.

Hinduism 2, Hindu Traditions (Paper 21)

Prof. Gavin Flood
6 Mar 2013

Beginning with the early medieval period, this paper traces the development of Hinduism in devotional (bhakti) and tantric traditions. The paper examines the development of Śaiva, Śākta, and Vaiṣṇava traditions along with ideas about liberation, ritual, asceticism, yoga and devotion. There will be some exploration of Hinduism and Modernity and there may also be reference to major schools of Hindu philosophy such as Vedānta.

Human and animal worlds in the Atharvaveda Samhita: rituals, superstitions and psychoses in animals in Vedic society

Dr Mario Russo
5 Mar 2013

The Atharvaveda Samhita, more than any other Vedic text, is an irreplaceable source of data on the Indian society and its non-ritualistic aspects. With regard to animals, the numerous Atharvanic hymns witness a deep conditioning, either positive or negative, of them on the psyche of the Vedic social structure at that stage. Images, metaphors, descriptions of wild and domestic animals abound through the 20 books of this Samhita, together with terrific and theriomorfic descriptions of demons in the act of killing children, women and Brahmans or destroying human bodies, health and peace. The “Vedic eye” created a stunning range of scenarios in-between dream and nightmare of an unparalleled visual and terminological power. 

This lecture will highlight the relationship between human beings and animals from a moral, linguistic, religious and psychological point of view, also emphasizing interesting aspects of the irrational Vedic fear for the microcosm of the “invisible” animal enemies.

From Under the Tamarind Tree: Hereditary Performance and Sectarian Identity in South India

Shivdasani Seminar
Dr. Archana Venkatesan
4 Mar 2013

The temple of Alvar Tirunagari in the deep south of India is a unique archive of hereditary performance traditions in India. Whereas the seismic shift in patronage that occurred in the post-Independence period ensured the rapid erosion of temple-centered performance cultures, the insularity of Alvar Tirunagari ensured the preservation of multiple hereditary performance traditions—liturgical recitation, gestural interpretation, and ritual singing are just three examples—into the present century. But the performers of Alvar Tirunagari have not been untouched because of the shift in patronage, from local, elite landowners to State supported funding. Many performers have left temple service for more lucrative employment, while others supplement their meager temple income with white-collar jobs in major cities. In this paper I take up the example of Araiyar Cēvai, just one of Alvar Tirunagari’s several performance traditions, to explore the ways in which members from both within and from outside the hereditary families have sought to reshape it for a contemporary, urban audience.

Dr. Archana Venkatesan is an Assistant Professor in Comparative Literature and in Religious Studies at the University of California, Davis. She completed her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley in 2004. She has worked mainly on Andal, the female Alvar poet-saint, and published an award-winning translation of her poetry with OUP in 2010 (The Secret Garland: Antal's Tiruppavai and Nacciyar Tirumoli). She is currently working, with Prof. Francis X. Clooney (Harvard), on a translation of the Tiruvaymoli, one of the most important collections of Tamil devotional poetry.

Religion and Art

The Importance of Religion Series
Prof. Gavin Flood
1 Mar 2013

This is a series of four lectures based on Flood’s recent book The Importance of Religion: Meaning and Action in Our Strange World (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).

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. 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.

Hinduism 2, Hindu Traditions (Paper 21)

Prof. Gavin Flood
27 Feb 2013

Beginning with the early medieval period, this paper traces the development of Hinduism in devotional (bhakti) and tantric traditions. The paper examines the development of Śaiva, Śākta, and Vaiṣṇava traditions along with ideas about liberation, ritual, asceticism, yoga and devotion. There will be some exploration of Hinduism and Modernity and there may also be reference to major schools of Hindu philosophy such as Vedānta.

Graduate Seminars in Indic Religions 3

Graduate Seminars in Indic Religions
22 Feb 2013

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 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

With already over 1000 temples worldwide, Swaminarayan religious traditions are said to be continuously flourishing on a global scale. Of the various sects, Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is recognised to be at the forefront of this steady expansion. In spite of such a large membership and a noticeable material presence through their temples, there has been very little comprehensive study into the art and architecture of BAPS.

This study intends to focus on the nucleus of these temples; the sacred images housed within. By taking a specific set of mūrtis as the object of study, we aim to discover the crucial tenets and beliefs of this sect; the framework within which the images conceptually reside. Combining a variety of effective methodologies, including a visual reading of the images, this examination displays how the world of BAPS can be accessed and delineated via its religious icons.

By utilising the tool of ethnographic inquiry, it has also become possible to theoretically locate the sacred image in the rationale of the devotee. We determine the different types of images they encounter, establish how they react to them, and identify how one of these—the living image of God—exists at the very centre of the BAPS doctrine.

Emotion, Ecstasy and Intensity

Mapping the Mystical Self Series
Dr. Jessica Frazier
22 Feb 2013

Sculpted Forms of Enlightenment: Gods and Goddesses in Hindu Sculpture

Jasleen Kandhari
22 Feb 2013

Explore the iconography of Hindu gods and goddesses in Indian sculpture followed by a handling session.

Jasleen Kandhari is an art historian, lecturer and curator who has lectured on Asian art over the past 10 years in museums and universities including the British Museum, British Library, Victoria and Albert Museum, National Museums Liverpool, Design Museum, Fashion and Textiles Museum and SOAS and this year, started lecturing at the Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology, University of Oxford. She has published several articles on Hindu art collections and exhibitions including the Indian paintings collections at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, formerly Prince of Wales Museum of Western India, Mumbai and Hindus, Buddhists and Jains: In Search of the Divine exhibition at RJK Museum, Cologne in Asian Art. Her upcoming lectures at the Ashmolean Museum include Indian Portraiture: Sikh Paintings from Gurus to Maharajahs, a study day on Indian textiles and a summer school on Exploring Asian textiles at the Ashmolean.

Hinduism 2, Hindu Traditions (Paper 21)

Prof. Gavin Flood
20 Feb 2013

Beginning with the early medieval period, this paper traces the development of Hinduism in devotional (bhakti) and tantric traditions. The paper examines the development of Śaiva, Śākta, and Vaiṣṇava traditions along with ideas about liberation, ritual, asceticism, yoga and devotion. There will be some exploration of Hinduism and Modernity and there may also be reference to major schools of Hindu philosophy such as Vedānta.

Hinduism and Globalisation

Dr. Ferdinando Sardella
19 Feb 2013

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. 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 2011 and 2012.

Ferdinando Sardella is based at Uppsala University and he is a fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. He is the author of Modern Hindu Personalism: The History, Life, and Thought of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati(2013) published by Oxford University Press.

Legends of the Goddess: Ānṭāḷ Stories in the Śrīvaiṣṇava Traditions

Shivdasani Lecture
Dr. Archana Venkatesan
18 Feb 2013

This paper examines Ānṭāḷ’s story as it circulates in both textual and oral sources since the 12 century, with a particular emphasis on the Manipravala Guruparamparaprābhavam 6000 and 3000 and the Sanskrit Divyasūricaritam. I explore issues of genre, style and language choice as I chart the changes in Ānṭāḷ’s story, and the history that such alterations both reveal and conceal. 

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