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Hinduism II: Yoga, Bhakti, and Tantra: Part 6

Professor Gavin Flood
21 Feb 2008

Related: General

Performing Hirapur: Dancing the Shakti Rupa Yogini

Dr Alessandra Lopez y Royo
21 Feb 2008

Related: Dance

Hinduism II: Yoga, Bhakti, and Tantra: Part 5

Professor Gavin Flood
14 Feb 2008

Related: General

Hinduism II: Yoga, Bhakti, and Tantra: Part 4

Professor Gavin Flood
7 Feb 2008

Related: General

Hinduism II: Yoga, Bhakti, and Tantra: Part 3

Professor Gavin Flood
31 Jan 2008

Related: General

Surrender to God in Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism-Discussion

Surrender to God in Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism
Professor Julius Lipner
24 Jan 2008

This afternoon conference examines the idea of surrender to God in three religions and provides the opportunity to address comparative theological concerns. In all three theistic traditions there is the idea of human surrender to God. The conference will explore what this means in the different traditions and look towards a theological dialogue between them.

Related: Comparative Theology

Surrender to God in Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism-Dr Michot Talk

Surrender to God in Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism
Dr Yahya Michot
24 Jan 2008

This afternoon conference examines the idea of surrender to God in three religions and provides the opportunity to address comparative theological concerns. In all three theistic traditions there is the idea of human surrender to God. The conference will explore what this means in the different traditions and look towards a theological dialogue between them.

Related: Comparative Theology, Islam

Surrender to God in Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism-Professor Lipner Talk

Surrender to God in Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism
Professor Julius Lipner
24 Jan 2008

This afternoon conference examines the idea of surrender to God in three religions and provides the opportunity to address comparative theological concerns. In all three theistic traditions there is the idea of human surrender to God. The conference will explore what this means in the different traditions and look towards a theological dialogue between them.

Related: Comparative Theology, Hindu Theology

Surrender to God in Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism-Professor Ward Talk

Surrender to God in Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism
Professor Keith Ward
24 Jan 2008

This afternoon conference examines the idea of surrender to God in three religions and provides the opportunity to address comparative theological concerns. In all three theistic traditions there is the idea of human surrender to God. The conference will explore what this means in the different traditions and look towards a theological dialogue between them.

Related: Christianity, Comparative Theology

Hinduism II: Yoga, Bhakti, and Tantra: Part 2

Professor Gavin Flood
24 Jan 2008

Related: General

Surrender to God in Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism-Discussion

Surrender to God in Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism
Dr Yahya Michot
24 Jan 2008

Related: Comparative Theology

Surrender to God in Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism-Discussion

Surrender to God in Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism
Professor Keith Ward
24 Jan 2008

This afternoon conference examines the idea of surrender to God in three religions and provides the opportunity to address comparative theological concerns. In all three theistic traditions there is the idea of human surrender to God. The conference will explore what this means in the different traditions and look towards a theological dialogue between them.

Related: Comparative Theology

Hinduism II: Yoga, Bhakti, and Tantra: Part 1

Professor Gavin Flood
17 Jan 2008

Related: General

Key thinkers in the study of religion Part 8

Dr Jessica Frazier
30 Nov 2007

Related: Religious Studies

Hinduism One, Part 7

Professor Gavin Flood
29 Nov 2007

Related: General

Key thinkers in the study of religion Part 7

Dr Jessica Frazier
23 Nov 2007

Related: Religious Studies

Hinduism One, Part 6

Professor Gavin Flood
15 Nov 2007

Related: General

Key thinkers in the study of religion Part 5

Dr Jessica Frazier
9 Nov 2007

Related: Religious Studies

Hinduism One, Part 5

Professor Gavin Flood
8 Nov 2007

Related: General

Pancartha and Pasupata: Notes on the historical development of the Pasupatas

Majewski Lecture
Dr Peter Bisschop
6 Nov 2007

Related: Saiva

Key thinkers in the study of religion Part 4

Dr Jessica Frazier
2 Nov 2007

Related: Religious Studies

Key thinkers in the study of religion Part 3

Dr Jessica Frazier
26 Oct 2007

Related: Religious Studies

Hinduism One, Part 3

Professor Gavin Flood
25 Oct 2007

Related: General

The Dance Performed by the Temple: the Dynamics of Hindu Temple Architecture

Shivdasani Conference 2007
Dr Adam Hardy
21 Oct 2007

Session 17 of the 2007 Shivdasani Conference.

In the forms of shrine, which developed between the 7th and 13th centuries, Hindu temples, conceived as divine bodies, embodied structured patterns of movement in their architectural compositions. Shrines are invested with a sense of centrifugal dynamism that appears to originate at the tip of the finial, or a point just above it, progressing downwards from this point and outwards from the vertical axis. Compositional elements are made to appear to multiply, to emerge and expand out from the body of the shrine, and out from one another, as interpenetrating elements differentiate themselves and come apart. As well as a spatial structure, a temple has a temporal one, of which a given spatial arrangement is a momentary glimpse, or rather, a succession of such glimpses.  A series of elements, or of configurations of elements, can be sensed not so much as a chain of separate entities, but as the same thing seen several times, at different stages, evolving and proliferating. This pattern of growth is conveyed through clearly identifiable architectural means.

 
The same pattern of emergence, expansion, and proliferation expressed in a single temple is reflected in the development of architectural forms during the course of various traditions. This unfolding takes place both in the details and at the level of the whole composition. The effect observed in a single, developed temple, of one form putting forth another, which in turn emits another and so on, is brought about by a cumulative extrapolation and successive incorporation of temple designs: a new design springing from an old one, while preserving the old one within the new.
 
Analogies, or homologies, are striking when dynamic temple compositions are compared with certain recurrent religious and philosophical concepts. Patterns of emergence and growth, as if from an all-containing point, underlie a vision of creation, which is found repeatedly in many different guises. The manifestation or coming into being of the divine or of the universe is repeatedly understood as taking place through the sequential emergence, or successive bursting forth, of one form or principle from another.
 
This is not to say that such ideas gave rise to the architectural forms, or that the temple builders deliberately set out to embody these concepts: rather, it would seem, the forms and the ideas both spring from the same way of thinking, the same view of the world.

Related: Dance, Temple and Text

Temple Texts and Cultural Performances in South Asia

Shivdasani Conference 2007
Dr Avanthi Meduri
21 Oct 2007

Session 18 of the 2007 Shivdasani Conference

 
This paper will discuss the centrality of the temple text in the classical arts of South Asia, and focus specifically on the aesthetic vision of the late Dr. Rukmini Devi Arundale, the celebrated revivalist of twentieth- century Bharatanatyam.  For her debut recital of Bharatanatyam in 1935, Rukmini Devi allegorized the Hindu temple where the dance had been performed, prior to the articulation of the Anti-Nautch Social Reform movement of the 1890s, transformed it into a theatrical backdrop, and used it as  a stage prop to present her Bharatanatyam recital. In her subsequent performances, Rukmini Devi staged the icon of Nataraja on one side of her temple stage, and seated her guru on the other.  In this way, Devi created a three-pronged, god, guru and temple stage setting for twentieth-century Bharatnatyam, worked within this symbolic stage setting for over fifty years, and constituted a modern temple, and guru-based history, aesthetics and epistemology for classical Bharatanatyam. 
 
Although Rukmini Devi celebrated the temple history of the dance, she was aware that Bharatanatyam was reconstituted as a concert form in the nineteenth century cosmopolitan courts of King Serfoji 11 (1798-1832). Yet this court-based renaissance of the arts was perceived as being compromised by virtue of King Serfoji’s subordinate status as an English educated vassal king of the Empire, and also his desire to hybridize Indian culture by combining the best of Western learning with the best of Indian traditions. Native devadasis, besides, were also sexualized and demonized as temple-dancers and temple-prostitutes in the courts of King Serfoji.  
 
Rukmini Devi manoeuvred the twentieth century dance revival by selectively decontextualizing the court dance and idealizing it not as a feudal dance, but rather as a temple dance. Taking her cue from V. Raghavan, the eminent Sanskrit scholar of Indian performing arts, Rukmini Devi suggested that Bharatanatyam could be traced back to the textual tenets of the ancient Natyasastra, and thus proposed an alternative Sanskrit based history, and  identity for Bharatanatyam. Like Raghavan, she celebrated the hereditary guru as symbol of Indian Tradition and plotted an anthropological, regional history for the dance. She then argued that both the marga (Sanskritic) and desi (regional) streams combined in the repertoire of Bharatanatyam, and were preserved in the temple traditions of the dance. Eminent performing arts scholars including A.K Commaraswamy, V. Raghavan and Kapila Vatsyayan endorsed Devi’s desi/margi conceptualization, and affirmed the centrality of the temple in the historical imaginary of Indian classical arts. Scholars and dancers thus crafted a selective, marga/desi temple-based history, aesthetics and ontology for Bharatanatyam, and this double aesthetic prevailed in the practice of Bharatanatyam until the demise of Rukmini Devi in the 1980s.
 
Recent critiques, however, have questioned the Orientalist assumptions inhering in Rukmini Devi’s Bharatanatyam revival. But few have gone beyond this critique to grasp the interconnections between social dramas of British colonialism and socio-cultural performances such as Bharatanatyam that emerged from these dramas. Drawing on Victor Turner and Milton Singer’s theories of Social Dramas and Cultural performances, I will track the overlapping connections between British Social dramas and Indian cultural performances. My aim is to explore the redemptive dimensions of the temple-stage, and to show how it helped rescue from historical oblivion the ritual based traditions of Bharatanatyam, while also enabling the articulation of an alternative theory of expressivity based on bakthi for Bharatanatyam.

Related: Dance, Temple and Text

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