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Forthcoming lectures

Elementary Sanskrit : Session Three

Prof. Gavin Flood
Monday, 27 October 2014 - 10:00am to 11:00am
OCHS Library

The course provides an introduction to Sanskrit for the preliminary paper of the Theology and Religion Faculty in Elementary Sanskrit. The class is designed to introduce students of Theology and Religion to the basics of Sanskrit grammar, syntax and vocabulary. By the end of the course students will have competency in translating simple Sanskrit and reading sections of the Bhagavad-gītā and passages from other texts. The course book will be Maurer’s The Sanskrit Language

Veda-stuti (Bhāgavata Purāṇa 10.87) with the Commentary of Śrīdhara Svāmī: Session Three

Dr Rembert Lutjeharms
Monday, 27 October 2014 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
OCHS Library

The Bhāgavata Purāṇa is undoubtedly the most popular and most sophisticated of the Purāṇas. Written in ornate prose and verse, and infusing Purāṇic narratives with Vedic, Vedānta, and Pāñcarātra thought, this monumental text influenced artists, architects, poets, and theologians for centuries.

The Veda-stuti (‘The Vedas' prayers of praise’) is one of the Bhāgavata's most significant theological passages, which offers an easy introduction to the Bhāgavata's nondual theism and its Vedānta. In this reading class, we will read these verses with the commentary of Śrīdhara Svāmī (thirteenth century), the most celebrated commentator on the text and an important Advaitin Vaiṣṇava author who profoundly influenced the development of Hindu thought in pre-modern South Asia.

 

This reading class aims to introduce students with an intermediate knowledge of Sanskrit to the poetry of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, the method and reasoning of Sanskrit commentaries, as well as the intersections of Advaita and Vaiṣṇava Vedānta.

History of Rājayoga: Session Three

Dr Jason Birch
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
OCHS Library

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda's book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries.

 

Dr Jason Birch completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

Hinduism One: Session Three

Prof. Gavin Flood
Wednesday, 29 October 2014 - 9:00am to 10:00am
Exam Schools

Readings in Netra Tantra: Session Three

Prof. Gavin Flood
Thursday, 30 October 2014 - 10:00am to 11:00am
OCHS Library

The Netra Tantra is an important text of Śaiva tantrism popular in Kashmir some time between the eighth and eleventh centuries CE. These readings will use the KSTS edition along with two manuscripts from Nepal.

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Three

Prof. Gavin Flood
Thursday, 30 October 2014 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
OCHS Library

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. The reading group seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology that underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. This term we will be reading Paul Ricoeur Oneself as Another (trans Kathleen Blamey, University of Chicago Press, 1992). Week 1 we will discuss Chapter one, ‘Person and Identifying Reference, a Semantic Approach.’

Attempts towards Preservation and Revival of Atharvaveda

Shivdasani Seminar
Prof. Shrikant Bahulkar
Thursday, 30 October 2014 - 2:00pm
OCHS Library

The Śaunaka Śākhā of the Atharvaveda has been regarded to be the most prominent school of the Atharvaveda, being studied mostly in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. This Veda, although considered to be inferior to other three Vedas, was studied for the purpose of performing śāntika, pauṣṭika and ābhicārika rites in the tradition of that Veda. The followers of that Veda migrated to various parts of India, on invitations from kings and rich people. It has been observed however that the tradition of study of the Atharvaveda began to decline in the course of time. Having realized the necessity of preserving that tradition, the followers of that Veda as well as those belonging to other three Vedas made various attempts to preserve the tradition. Moreover, they endeavoured to revive the tradition of the study of the Veda, and to some extent, that of the performance of the rituals prescribed in that tradition. There was a good interaction between the Atharvavedins living in parts of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. They sent their students to the knowledgeable Vedamūrtis in order to acquire proficiency in the recitation of that Veda. The teachers as well as the students did not necessarily belong to the Atharvaveda. Some of the Vaidikas attempted to compose ritualistic digests or prayogas in order to revive the ritualistic tradition. There was genuine faith in the tradition of that Veda as well as a professional need that prompted those Vaidikas to preserve the tradition. It is interesting to see how the tradition of the study of that Veda is being revived in India in recent years. 

What kind of Philosophical Theory is Madhyamaka?

Majewski Lecture
Jan Westerhoff
Thursday, 30 October 2014 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm
Lecture Room 1 Oriental Institute

The Madhyamaka school of philosophy has been credited as being the central philosophy of Buddhism and also as a kind of anti-philosophy of pure critique that simply seeks to demonstrate the contradictory nature of all statements about the world. This lecture explores the nature of philosophical argument in Madhyamaka and the kind of philosophical theory that the Madhyamaka is.

Originally trained as a philosopher and orientialist, Jan Westerhoff's research focuses on philosophical aspects of the religious traditions of ancient India. Much of his work concentrates on Buddhist thought (especially Madhyamaka) as preserved in Sanskrit and Tibetan sources, he also has a lively interest in Classical Indian philosophy (particularly Nyāya). His research on Buddhist philosophy covers both theoretical (metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language) and normative aspects (ethics); he is also interested in the investigation of Buddhist meditative practice from the perspective of cognitive science and the philosophy of mind. Some publications (for more information see www.janwesterhoff.net) are ‘The connection between ontology and ethics in Madhyamaka’ in: The Cowherds: Moonpaths: Ethics and Madhyamaka Philosophy, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014; The Dispeller of Disputes: Nāgārjuna's Vigrahavyāvartanī, Oxford University Press, 2010; Twelve Examples of Illusion, Oxford University Press, 2010; Nāgārjuna's Madhyamaka. A Philosophical Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2009; ‘The Madhyamaka Concept of svabhāva: Ontological and Cognitive Aspects’, Asian Philosophy, 2007, 17:1, 17-45; Ontological Categories. Their Nature and Significance, Oxford University Press, 2005.

Elementary Sanskrit

Prof. Gavin Flood
Friday, 31 October 2014 - 10:00am to 11:00am
OCHS Library

The course provides an introduction to Sanskrit for the preliminary paper of the Theology and Religion Faculty in Elementary Sanskrit. The class is designed to introduce students of Theology and Religion to the basics of Sanskrit grammar, syntax and vocabulary. By the end of the course students will have competency in translating simple Sanskrit and reading sections of the Bhagavad-gītā and passages from other texts. The course book will be Maurer’s The Sanskrit Language

Elementary Sanskrit : Session Four

Prof. Gavin Flood
Monday, 3 November 2014 - 10:00am to 11:00am
OCHS Library

The course provides an introduction to Sanskrit for the preliminary paper of the Theology and Religion Faculty in Elementary Sanskrit. The class is designed to introduce students of Theology and Religion to the basics of Sanskrit grammar, syntax and vocabulary. By the end of the course students will have competency in translating simple Sanskrit and reading sections of the Bhagavad-gītā and passages from other texts. The course book will be Maurer’s The Sanskrit Language

Veda-stuti (Bhāgavata Purāṇa 10.87) with the Commentary of Śrīdhara Svāmī: Session Four

Dr Rembert Lutjeharms
Monday, 3 November 2014 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
OCHS Library

The Bhāgavata Purāṇa is undoubtedly the most popular and most sophisticated of the Purāṇas. Written in ornate prose and verse, and infusing Purāṇic narratives with Vedic, Vedānta, and Pāñcarātra thought, this monumental text influenced artists, architects, poets, and theologians for centuries.

The Veda-stuti (‘The Vedas' prayers of praise’) is one of the Bhāgavata's most significant theological passages, which offers an easy introduction to the Bhāgavata's nondual theism and its Vedānta. In this reading class, we will read these verses with the commentary of Śrīdhara Svāmī (thirteenth century), the most celebrated commentator on the text and an important Advaitin Vaiṣṇava author who profoundly influenced the development of Hindu thought in pre-modern South Asia.

 

This reading class aims to introduce students with an intermediate knowledge of Sanskrit to the poetry of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, the method and reasoning of Sanskrit commentaries, as well as the intersections of Advaita and Vaiṣṇava Vedānta.

History of Rājayoga: Session Four

Dr Jason Birch
Tuesday, 4 November 2014 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
OCHS Library

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda's book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries.

 

Dr Jason Birch completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

Hinduism One: Session Four

Prof. Gavin Flood
Wednesday, 5 November 2014 - 9:00am to 10:00am
Exam Schools

Readings in Netra Tantra: Session Four

Prof. Gavin Flood
Thursday, 6 November 2014 - 10:00am to 11:00am
OCHS Library

The Netra Tantra is an important text of Śaiva tantrism popular in Kashmir some time between the eighth and eleventh centuries CE. These readings will use the KSTS edition along with two manuscripts from Nepal.

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Four

Prof. Gavin Flood
Thursday, 6 November 2014 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
OCHS Library

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. The reading group seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology that underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. This term we will be reading Paul Ricoeur Oneself as Another (trans Kathleen Blamey, University of Chicago Press, 1992). Week 1 we will discuss Chapter one, ‘Person and Identifying Reference, a Semantic Approach.’

Practice and Making Perfect: Why There are Some Good Habits Too in Southern Buddhism

Religious Practice in Comparative Perspective Series
Dr Sarah Shaw
Thursday, 6 November 2014 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
OCHS Library

This lecture examines the idea of habit from a Buddhist perspective: the need to cultivate good habits and the necessity of regular practice to develop concentration and mindfulness for a fulfilling life.

Dr Sarah Shaw is a lecturer in the Oriental Studies Faculty at Oxford and Honorary Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies. She is an expert in Theravāda Buddhism, particularly meditation, the Abhidhamma, and early Buddhist narratives. She is the author of An Introduction to Buddhist Meditation (Routledge 2008); Buddhist Meditation: an Anthology of Texts (Routledge, 2006), and The Jātakas: Birth Stories of the Bodhisatta (Penguin 2006). She was also co editor with Linda Covill and Ulrike Roesler of Lives Lived, Lives Imagined: Biographies of Awakening  (Wisdom Books, 2010). 

Elementary Sanskrit

Prof. Gavin Flood
Friday, 7 November 2014 - 10:00am to 11:00am
OCHS Library

The course provides an introduction to Sanskrit for the preliminary paper of the Theology and Religion Faculty in Elementary Sanskrit. The class is designed to introduce students of Theology and Religion to the basics of Sanskrit grammar, syntax and vocabulary. By the end of the course students will have competency in translating simple Sanskrit and reading sections of the Bhagavad-gītā and passages from other texts. The course book will be Maurer’s The Sanskrit Language.

Elementary Sanskrit : Session Five

Prof. Gavin Flood
Monday, 10 November 2014 - 10:00am to 11:00am
OCHS Library

The course provides an introduction to Sanskrit for the preliminary paper of the Theology and Religion Faculty in Elementary Sanskrit. The class is designed to introduce students of Theology and Religion to the basics of Sanskrit grammar, syntax and vocabulary. By the end of the course students will have competency in translating simple Sanskrit and reading sections of the Bhagavad-gītā and passages from other texts. The course book will be Maurer’s The Sanskrit Language

Veda-stuti (Bhāgavata Purāṇa 10.87) with the Commentary of Śrīdhara Svāmī: Session Five

Dr Rembert Lutjeharms
Monday, 10 November 2014 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
OCHS Library

The Bhāgavata Purāṇa is undoubtedly the most popular and most sophisticated of the Purāṇas. Written in ornate prose and verse, and infusing Purāṇic narratives with Vedic, Vedānta, and Pāñcarātra thought, this monumental text influenced artists, architects, poets, and theologians for centuries.

The Veda-stuti (‘The Vedas' prayers of praise’) is one of the Bhāgavata's most significant theological passages, which offers an easy introduction to the Bhāgavata's nondual theism and its Vedānta. In this reading class, we will read these verses with the commentary of Śrīdhara Svāmī (thirteenth century), the most celebrated commentator on the text and an important Advaitin Vaiṣṇava author who profoundly influenced the development of Hindu thought in pre-modern South Asia.

 

This reading class aims to introduce students with an intermediate knowledge of Sanskrit to the poetry of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, the method and reasoning of Sanskrit commentaries, as well as the intersections of Advaita and Vaiṣṇava Vedānta.

History of Rājayoga: Session Five

Dr Jason Birch
Tuesday, 11 November 2014 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
OCHS Library

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda's book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries.

 

Dr Jason Birch completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

Hinduism One: Session Five

Prof. Gavin Flood
Wednesday, 12 November 2014 - 9:00am to 10:00am
Exam Schools

Readings in Netra Tantra: Session Five

Prof. Gavin Flood
Thursday, 13 November 2014 - 10:00am to 11:00am
OCHS Library

The Netra Tantra is an important text of Śaiva tantrism popular in Kashmir some time between the eighth and eleventh centuries CE. These readings will use the KSTS edition along with two manuscripts from Nepal.

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Five

Prof. Gavin Flood
Thursday, 13 November 2014 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
OCHS Library

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. The reading group seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology that underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. This term we will be reading Paul Ricoeur Oneself as Another (trans Kathleen Blamey, University of Chicago Press, 1992). Week 1 we will discuss Chapter one, ‘Person and Identifying Reference, a Semantic Approach.’

From Myth to Ritual: The Horse of Pedu and the Remedy for Removing Snake’s Poison

Shivdasani Lecture
Prof. Shrikant Bahulkar
Thursday, 13 November 2014 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
OCHS Library

The Atharvavedic hymn (AVŚ X.4 = AVP XVI. 15, 16, 17) is a charm against snakes and their poison. It mentions Paidva, a slayer of snakes. The word paidva-, literally meaning of Pedu, is derived from the word pedu- that occurs in the ṚV as a proper name (ṚV 117.9; 118.9; 119.10). In the Ṛgvedic hymns, addressed to Aśvins, it is mentioned that Aśvins gave a white horse to Pedu. The word paidva- thus refers to the horse. This horse is said to have possessed the power to destroy snakes. The Ṛgvedic hymns in question mention the snake-destroying horse; however, they have no connection with the remedy for removing snake’s poison. On the contrary, the Atharvavedic hymn (AVŚ X.4) does not mention Aśvins and their gift to Pedu; but mentions paidva that kills various kinds of snakes. In the ritual context of the Atharvaveda, paidva is to be employed in the remedy for removing snakes poison, prescribed in the Kauśika-sūtra (32.20-25), the major ritual text of the Atharvaveda. It is obvious that paidva, mentioned in the rite of the Kauśika-sūtra, is not the mythical horse of the Ṛgveda. The Atharvavedic tradition simply uses the connection of the mythical horse of Pedu with the snake-killing power for the purpose of the ritual in which the main rite is to be performed as the remedy for removing snake’s poison. It is difficult to identify paidva of the Atharvaveda. The commentators of the Kauśika-sūtra identify it as an insect. It appears that there existed a remedy in the tradition of the Atharvaveda for removing the snake’s poison and that the insect or some other substance to be used for that purpose was given the name paidva in order to connect it with the mythical horse known for its snake-killing power.  The relevant myth and the ritual connected with the myth will be discussed in detail.

Elementary Sanskrit

Prof. Gavin Flood
Friday, 14 November 2014 - 10:00am to 11:00am
OCHS Library

The course provides an introduction to Sanskrit for the preliminary paper of the Theology and Religion Faculty in Elementary Sanskrit. The class is designed to introduce students of Theology and Religion to the basics of Sanskrit grammar, syntax and vocabulary. By the end of the course students will have competency in translating simple Sanskrit and reading sections of the Bhagavad-gītā and passages from other texts. The course book will be Maurer’s The Sanskrit Language.

Elementary Sanskrit : Session Six

Prof. Gavin Flood
Monday, 17 November 2014 - 10:00am to 11:00am
OCHS Library

The course provides an introduction to Sanskrit for the preliminary paper of the Theology and Religion Faculty in Elementary Sanskrit. The class is designed to introduce students of Theology and Religion to the basics of Sanskrit grammar, syntax and vocabulary. By the end of the course students will have competency in translating simple Sanskrit and reading sections of the Bhagavad-gītā and passages from other texts. The course book will be Maurer’s The Sanskrit Language

Veda-stuti (Bhāgavata Purāṇa 10.87) with the Commentary of Śrīdhara Svāmī: Session Six

Dr Rembert Lutjeharms
Monday, 17 November 2014 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
OCHS Library

The Bhāgavata Purāṇa is undoubtedly the most popular and most sophisticated of the Purāṇas. Written in ornate prose and verse, and infusing Purāṇic narratives with Vedic, Vedānta, and Pāñcarātra thought, this monumental text influenced artists, architects, poets, and theologians for centuries.

The Veda-stuti (‘The Vedas' prayers of praise’) is one of the Bhāgavata's most significant theological passages, which offers an easy introduction to the Bhāgavata's nondual theism and its Vedānta. In this reading class, we will read these verses with the commentary of Śrīdhara Svāmī (thirteenth century), the most celebrated commentator on the text and an important Advaitin Vaiṣṇava author who profoundly influenced the development of Hindu thought in pre-modern South Asia.

 

This reading class aims to introduce students with an intermediate knowledge of Sanskrit to the poetry of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, the method and reasoning of Sanskrit commentaries, as well as the intersections of Advaita and Vaiṣṇava Vedānta.

History of Rājayoga: Session Six

Dr Jason Birch
Tuesday, 18 November 2014 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
OCHS Library

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda's book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries.

 

Dr Jason Birch completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

Hinduism One: Session Six

Prof. Gavin Flood
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 - 9:00am to 10:00am
Exam Schools

Readings in Netra Tantra: Session Six

Prof. Gavin Flood
Thursday, 20 November 2014 - 10:00am to 11:00am
OCHS Library

The Netra Tantra is an important text of Śaiva tantrism popular in Kashmir some time between the eighth and eleventh centuries CE. These readings will use the KSTS edition along with two manuscripts from Nepal.

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Six

Prof. Gavin Flood
Thursday, 20 November 2014 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
OCHS Library

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. The reading group seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology that underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. This term we will be reading Paul Ricoeur Oneself as Another (trans Kathleen Blamey, University of Chicago Press, 1992). Week 1 we will discuss Chapter one, ‘Person and Identifying Reference, a Semantic Approach.’

Why Don’t Apes Point? Religious practice and the Nature of the Human

Religious Practice in Comparative Perspective Series
Prof. Gavin Flood
Thursday, 20 November 2014 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
OCHS Library

This lecture is a reflection on religious practice, drawing on contemporary primate research, ideas about shared intentionality, and phenomenology. To understand or explain religious practices we need to locate them within the broad context of human practices and contemporary knowledge about them in the soft and hard sciences. 

Elementary Sanskrit

Prof. Gavin Flood
Friday, 21 November 2014 - 10:00am to 11:00am
OCHS Library

The course provides an introduction to Sanskrit for the preliminary paper of the Theology and Religion Faculty in Elementary Sanskrit. The class is designed to introduce students of Theology and Religion to the basics of Sanskrit grammar, syntax and vocabulary. By the end of the course students will have competency in translating simple Sanskrit and reading sections of the Bhagavad-gītā and passages from other texts. The course book will be Maurer’s The Sanskrit Language.

Aesthetics of Ecstasy: A Phenomenology of Emotional Expansion in Caitanya Vaiṣṇava Religious Experience

Dr Hrvoje Čargonja
Friday, 21 November 2014 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
OCHS Library

In my lecture I will argue that expansiveness of emotions is not only the necessary condition for Caitanya Vaiṣṇava religious experience, but also a specific mode of givenness of the emotional dimension of experience. Such contention is grounded in my fieldwork on the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness (ISKCON), a Western ‘religious transplant’ (Bryant & Ekstrand 2004) of Bengal or Caitanya Vaiṣṇavism, a religion with theistic, devotional theology based on the ancient Indian theory of aesthetic experience known as the rasa theory. Based on the analysis of narratives of religious experience (from the scripture and interviews) I will show how tradition’s ‘embodied aesthetics’ (Holdrege 2013) of emotional expansion can be described through aesthetic values of control, intimacy and play.

Following Alexander Baumgarten, philosophers studying aesthetics of everyday life (Mandoki 2007, Saito 2008), and some anthropologists (Coote 1994, Morphy 1992), aesthetics is understood as ‘valued formal qualities of perception’  enabled by human capacity for qualitative evaluation. In lieu of such reasoning, aesthetic values are seen as ‘habits of attention’ (James 1984; Throop 2008), or ‘culturally appropriate ways’ (Throop 2008) of  and for  experiences, ‘that lend specific styles, configurations, and felt qualities to local experiences’ (Desjarlais 1994).

In this somewhat Schelerian view on emotional embodiment as ‘felt values’, Caitanya Vaiṣṇava religious experience emerges as a gradual and repetitive unfolding in which appearance of emotional ‘bodiliness,’ belonging to the three distinct categories of aesthetic values, feeds back into the just past one, amplifying the emotional intensity of the experience. In other words, acts of consciousness, recurrently entangling emotions and  feelings that conform to aesthetic values operating in a given cultural domain, become intensified or ‘refined’ (Higgins 2008) through the expansion of coherence in the flow of such ‘emplaced’ (Pink 2009) field of consciousness. Therefore, in terms of phenomenological reduction, a deeper insight into this religious tradition that deifies religious emotions brings to the foreground a very important, but often neglected feature of emotions and feelings – extended, periodic and expansive structure of their temporality.

Dr Hrvoje Čargonja is teaching assistant and postdoctoral student at Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Zagreb, Croatia, where he obtained his PhD degree. He also holds a MSc degree in molecular biology awarded by Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb. His doctoral thesis was a research on the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness with special focus on the topic of religious experience. He conducted his fieldwork in Croatia and India and was awarded several scholarships for a three year research stay at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies where he worked under the supervision of Professor Gavin Flood. His special research interests include: anthropology of religion, phenomenology of religious experience in Caitanya Vaiṣṇavism, cultural phenomenology.

Elementary Sanskrit : Session Seven

Prof. Gavin Flood
Monday, 24 November 2014 - 10:00am to 11:00am
OCHS Library

The course provides an introduction to Sanskrit for the preliminary paper of the Theology and Religion Faculty in Elementary Sanskrit. The class is designed to introduce students of Theology and Religion to the basics of Sanskrit grammar, syntax and vocabulary. By the end of the course students will have competency in translating simple Sanskrit and reading sections of the Bhagavad-gītā and passages from other texts. The course book will be Maurer’s The Sanskrit Language

Veda-stuti (Bhāgavata Purāṇa 10.87) with the Commentary of Śrīdhara Svāmī: Session Seven

Dr Rembert Lutjeharms
Monday, 24 November 2014 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
OCHS Library

The Bhāgavata Purāṇa is undoubtedly the most popular and most sophisticated of the Purāṇas. Written in ornate prose and verse, and infusing Purāṇic narratives with Vedic, Vedānta, and Pāñcarātra thought, this monumental text influenced artists, architects, poets, and theologians for centuries.

The Veda-stuti (‘The Vedas' prayers of praise’) is one of the Bhāgavata's most significant theological passages, which offers an easy introduction to the Bhāgavata's nondual theism and its Vedānta. In this reading class, we will read these verses with the commentary of Śrīdhara Svāmī (thirteenth century), the most celebrated commentator on the text and an important Advaitin Vaiṣṇava author who profoundly influenced the development of Hindu thought in pre-modern South Asia.

 

This reading class aims to introduce students with an intermediate knowledge of Sanskrit to the poetry of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, the method and reasoning of Sanskrit commentaries, as well as the intersections of Advaita and Vaiṣṇava Vedānta.

The Origin, Evolution and Role of Two Indian Dance Styles: Odissi and Bharata Natyam

Dr Anne-Marie Gaston
Monday, 24 November 2014 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
OCHS Library

Inscriptions and texts from all over India suggest that dance was widely associated with temples, religious practices and social conventions in the past.  Currently, most classical dances performed on stage in India are based on dances that were earlier associated with both religious and secular practices. Hence they are assumed to share a common ancestry with the earlier temple and secular dances.

Bharata Natyam, the classical dance of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, has the best documented history of all the classical styles. There are abundant inscriptions on temples, royal courts records and observations made by European and Indian travelers, as well as firsthand accounts from members of the hereditary dance community (Isai Vellala), the caste of the musicians and dancers.

 In contrast, despite a history of temple dance in the state of Orissa, Odissi, as seen on the concert stage today, originated in the 1950s-60s. It was a conscious creation by several theatre personalities, former gotipuas (boy actor/dancers) and Orissan nationalists, anxious to have recognition for the state’s unique artistic traditions and to place them within the framework of classical Indian arts.

 This illustrated lecture explores the different trajectories of the two styles and speculates about how the characteristics of the Odissi style may have been influenced by its unique history.

Anne-Marie Gaston (D.Phil Oxon, M Litt Oxon) is scholar and internationally recognized performer of several styles of South Asian classical dance: Bharata Natyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, and Chhau. All of her training has been in India for over forty years, with some of the greatest teachers. Her dance repertoire includes both the traditional repertoire and innovative dance/theatre performances which seamlessly blend movement, original musical scores, text, video and images on a variety of themes: Environmental (Tagore’s Mother Earth, In Praise of Wilderness, images from Great Himalayan National Park); Greek (Athena Brahmani, Demeter and Persephone); Mesopotamian myths (Ishtar and Gilgamesh); Buddhist (Avalokitesvara [images from Ladhak], Environmental Wisdom of the Buddha); Yoga and Dance (Siva: Creation of Destruction,  Adishesha, Dance of Time, Dance Meets Yoga). 

Anne-Marie was invited by the Government of India to perform for state visit of Indira Gandhi to Canada and by The Government of Orissa to perform as state guest in Bhubaneswar. Some of her other performances include the Madras Music Academy (also lectures), National Centre for Performing Arts, Bombay (East West Encounter both sessions), India International Centre and Habitat Centre, New Delhi; Tropensmuseum, Amsterdam; National Arts Centre, National Gallery Ottawa and at numerous venues across Canada; Roundhouse, Commonwealth Institute, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Dartington Hall, UK. She has lectured for the Oriental Institute and Centre for Hindu Studies, Oxford; Lancaster University In the US at Universities of Chicago, New York, Washington, Florida as well as Smith and Mount Holyoke Colleges.

She has published three books: Bharata Natyam from Temple to Theatre, Siva in Dance Myth and Iconography, Krishnas Musicians: music and music-making in the temples of Nathdvara Rajasthan. She contributed the chapter on Embodied Movement for the Oxford Handbook of Sacred Arts, as well as numerous articles for magazines and journals. She is a Research Associate with InterCulture, University of Ottawa, Canada. She recently conducted research in Indonesia on aspects of the Ramayana in traditional arts. www.culturalhorizons.ca.

History of Rājayoga: Session Seven

Dr Jason Birch
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
OCHS Library

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda's book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries.

 

Dr Jason Birch completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

Hinduism One: Session Seven

Prof. Gavin Flood
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 - 9:00am
Exam Schools

Readings in Netra Tantra: Session Seven

Prof. Gavin Flood
Thursday, 27 November 2014 - 10:00am to 11:00am
OCHS Library

The Netra Tantra is an important text of Śaiva tantrism popular in Kashmir some time between the eighth and eleventh centuries CE. These readings will use the KSTS edition along with two manuscripts from Nepal.

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Seven

Prof. Gavin Flood
Thursday, 27 November 2014 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
OCHS Library

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. The reading group seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology that underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. This term we will be reading Paul Ricoeur Oneself as Another (trans Kathleen Blamey, University of Chicago Press, 1992). Week 1 we will discuss Chapter one, ‘Person and Identifying Reference, a Semantic Approach.’

Medical Ritual in the Veda and Ayurveda

Shivdasani Seminar
Prof. Shrikant Bahulkar
Thursday, 27 November 2014 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
OCHS Library

It is well-known that the medicine in the Atharvaveda is predominantly a pre-scientific medicine and is considered to be the forerunner of the Indian system of scientific medicine, known as the Āyurveda ‘science of longevity’. Scholars have attempted to find roots of the Āyurveda in the medical charms of the Atharvaveda and the remedies against various diseases prescribed in the ritual texts in the tradition of that Veda. These charms and practices of the Atharvaveda were subsequently replaced by the therapeutics of Āyurveda. However, the magic practices for the cure of diseases continued despite the growth of scientific medicine. The classical Āyurvedic texts give due recognition to the medical charms and the practices mentioned in the tradition of the Atharvaveda. This kind of treatment is called daivavyapāśraya ‘(the treatment based on) the recourse to the divine’ and is prescribed for the cure of varieties of certain diseases that are supposed to have been caused by sinful deeds, curse of enemies, witchcraft or possession by demons. It involves recitation of mantras and certain acts that are similar to those found in the tradition of the Atharvaveda. The Āyurvedic texts also prescribe mantras that are to be recited during the preparation of certain drugs. This tradition survived not only in India, but spread to other countries, particularly to Tibet along with the Āyurveda and is still followed by the practitioners of Tibetan medicine (sowa-rigpa). It is possible to infer however that some of the notions found in the so-called ‘scientific’ medicine were caused by beliefs and superstitions. A survey of this material points to the fact that while the Āyurvedic texts prescribe medical charms and practices, they do not necessarily prescribe the mantras of the Atharvaveda. On the contrary, the mantras and the practices mentioned in the Āyurveda are similar to those prescribed in the Atharvavedic texts, but are not Atharvavedic. It appears that the tradition of the medical charms and the rites, elaborated in the Atharvaveda tradition, was replaced by post-Vedic religious traditions that influenced the Āyurvedic texts. Even in the tradition of the Atharvaveda, we do not find the prayogas or priestly manuals for the medical ritual mentioned in the Kauśika-Sūtra, a major ritualistic manual of the Atharvaveda and elaborated in the commentaries on that text. The tradition of the Atharvavedic medical ritual must have been disappeared long ago; what we find in the later texts is the post-Vedic mantra material mostly influenced by local traditions.

Professor S. S. Bahulkar has been teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Sanskrit for more than 30 years, during which time he has been engaged in a wide variety of research projects. Both his research and teaching focus on Vedic Studies, Buddhist Studies, Ayurveda and Classical Sanskrit Literature. He has guided 14 students for their M. Phil. and Ph. D. Degrees. He has edited and written ten books and about sixty articles in English, Marathi and Sanskrit. After having done his M. A. and Ph. D. in Sanskrit from the University of Pune (1972 & 1977), he conducted his post graduate research at the Nagoya University, Japan. He worked in the Deccan College, Pune (1979-81), the Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth, Pune (1981-1993; 1995-2006; 2009) and the Central University of Tibetan Studies, Sarnath (1993-95; 2006-2009; 2010-2012). He has visited a number of foreign countries in connection with teaching, research and conferences. He has also worked as Visiting Professor at the University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada (1993), Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany (1998-99) and Harvard University, Cambridge, U. S. A. (2010). He was instrumental in recording as many as six Veda Śākhās in India, for a research project funded by the Danish Government (1983-84). He has participated in the organization of a number of regional, national and international seminars and conferences, including the 5th International Vedic Workshop, held in September 2011 in Bucharest, Romania and the 6th held at Kozhikode (Calicut), Kerala in January 2014. Presently he is Adjunct Professor at the Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies, University of Pune and the K. J. Somaiya Centre for Buddhist Studies, Mumbai. He is Chairman, Executive Board, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute and Editor of the Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute.

Elementary Sanskrit

Prof. Gavin Flood
Friday, 28 November 2014 - 10:00am to 11:00am
OCHS Library

The course provides an introduction to Sanskrit for the preliminary paper of the Theology and Religion Faculty in Elementary Sanskrit. The class is designed to introduce students of Theology and Religion to the basics of Sanskrit grammar, syntax and vocabulary. By the end of the course students will have competency in translating simple Sanskrit and reading sections of the Bhagavad-gītā and passages from other texts. The course book will be Maurer’s The Sanskrit Language.

Elementary Sanskrit : Session Eight

Prof. Gavin Flood
Monday, 1 December 2014 - 10:00am to 11:00am
OCHS Library

The course provides an introduction to Sanskrit for the preliminary paper of the Theology and Religion Faculty in Elementary Sanskrit. The class is designed to introduce students of Theology and Religion to the basics of Sanskrit grammar, syntax and vocabulary. By the end of the course students will have competency in translating simple Sanskrit and reading sections of the Bhagavad-gītā and passages from other texts. The course book will be Maurer’s The Sanskrit Language

Veda-stuti (Bhāgavata Purāṇa 10.87) with the Commentary of Śrīdhara Svāmī: Session Eight

Dr Rembert Lutjeharms
Monday, 1 December 2014 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
OCHS Library

The Bhāgavata Purāṇa is undoubtedly the most popular and most sophisticated of the Purāṇas. Written in ornate prose and verse, and infusing Purāṇic narratives with Vedic, Vedānta, and Pāñcarātra thought, this monumental text influenced artists, architects, poets, and theologians for centuries.

The Veda-stuti (‘The Vedas' prayers of praise’) is one of the Bhāgavata's most significant theological passages, which offers an easy introduction to the Bhāgavata's nondual theism and its Vedānta. In this reading class, we will read these verses with the commentary of Śrīdhara Svāmī (thirteenth century), the most celebrated commentator on the text and an important Advaitin Vaiṣṇava author who profoundly influenced the development of Hindu thought in pre-modern South Asia.

 

This reading class aims to introduce students with an intermediate knowledge of Sanskrit to the poetry of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, the method and reasoning of Sanskrit commentaries, as well as the intersections of Advaita and Vaiṣṇava Vedānta.

History of Rājayoga: Session Eight

Dr Jason Birch
Tuesday, 2 December 2014 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
OCHS Library

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda's book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries.

 

Dr Jason Birch completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

Hinduism One: Session Eight

Prof. Gavin Flood
Wednesday, 3 December 2014 - 9:00am
Exam Schools

Readings in Netra Tantra: Session Eight

Prof. Gavin Flood
Thursday, 4 December 2014 - 10:00am to 11:00am
OCHS Library

The Netra Tantra is an important text of Śaiva tantrism popular in Kashmir some time between the eighth and eleventh centuries CE. These readings will use the KSTS edition along with two manuscripts from Nepal.

Readings in Phenomenology: Session Eight

Prof. Gavin Flood
Thursday, 4 December 2014 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
OCHS Library

Phenomenology is one of the most important developments in philosophy in the twentieth century that has had a deep impact on Theology and Religious Studies. The reading group seeks to engage with some of the fundamental concepts of phenomenology that underlie much work in Theology and the Phenomenology of Religion. This term we will be reading Paul Ricoeur Oneself as Another (trans Kathleen Blamey, University of Chicago Press, 1992). Week 1 we will discuss Chapter one, ‘Person and Identifying Reference, a Semantic Approach.’

The Habit of Prayer and Prayer in a Habit

Religious Practice in Comparative Perspective Series
Dr Martin Ganeri
Thursday, 4 December 2014 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
OCHS Library

The routine activity of the ‘hours of prayer’ forms a major part of the daily life of the different Christian religious orders.  This talk will consider what function this prayer plays in the life and goals of religious communities. 

Dr Martin Ganeri O.P. is Vice Regent of Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford and Director of the Centre for Christianity and Interreligious Dialogue at Heythrop College, University of London.  His recent and forthcoming publications include, ‘Theology and Non-Western Philosophy’ in O. Crisp, G. D'Costa, M. Davies and P. Hampson (eds) Theology And Philosophy: Faith and Reason, London: T&T Clarke, 2012 and ‘Selfhood, Agency and Freewill in Rāmānuja’ in E.F. Bryant (ed.) Free Will, Agency, and Selfhood in Indian Philosophy, New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Elementary Sanskrit

Prof. Gavin Flood
Friday, 5 December 2014 - 10:00am to 11:00am
OCHS Library

The course provides an introduction to Sanskrit for the preliminary paper of the Theology and Religion Faculty in Elementary Sanskrit. The class is designed to introduce students of Theology and Religion to the basics of Sanskrit grammar, syntax and vocabulary. By the end of the course students will have competency in translating simple Sanskrit and reading sections of the Bhagavad-gītā and passages from other texts. The course book will be Maurer’s The Sanskrit Language.