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Forthcoming lectures

Readings in Phenomenology: Session five

Dr Jessica Frazier and Lucian Wong
Thursday, 26 May 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
OCHS Library

In the early twentieth century Phenomenology was considered a vibrant fresh approach to reality, with the power to revitalise human engagement with the world. Martin Heidegger's rethinking of metaphysics became central to this project. Taking his cue from Nietzsche, Heidegger argued that Western philosophy since Plato had been dogged by an obsession with finding an indubitable foundation for knowledge, and has needed to achieve a radical reorientation of man’s relation to the world – something he tried to achieve in his own work.

In this term’s Readings in Phenomenology we will explore the theme of the critique of metaphysics in Nietzsche, and the Heidegger's attempt to revive philosophy. We will begin by reading excerpts from Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols, and we will then move on to read Heidegger's Letter on Humanism in which he attempts to move beyond metaphysics after Being and Time, and his poetic essay Building Dwelling Thinking in which he tries to evoke a more authentic and attentive way of 'dwelling' in the world. 

The Vaisnava Appropriation of Vedic Fires in the Vaikhanasa Tradition: A New Ritual System for Image Worship

Shivdasani Lecture
Dr Prabhavati C. Reddy
Thursday, 26 May 2016 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
OCHS Library

The Vaikhanasas are a small South Indian community of Vaisnava Brahmins who have traditionally engaged in conducting temple worship by following their distinctive ritual system. The name Vaikhanasa derives from Sage Vikhanas, who is attributed with the authorship of the Vaikhanasa Sutras and with the founding of the Vaikhanasa School. The Vaikhanasa regards itself as part of the Vaisnava tradition orthodoxy because of its close adherence to Vedic religion and its presence within the Taittiriya School of the Black Yajurveda. The Vaikhanasa ritual literature on domestic and temple worship both in text and practice reflect this tradition’s strong influences from the Srauta sacrificial cult and its fire rituals. This lecture will explore the ways in which the concept of Vedic fires is appropriated in the typical Vaisnava way by formulating a new ritual system for image worship (samurtarcana) in a temple setting within the Vaikhanasa School. We will examine the concepts of Triple Fires (tretagni) and Five Fires (pancagni) within the context of triple images (bimbatrayi) and fivefold images (pancabera). Also considered are the ways in which the Vedic ideas of fire sacrifice are rearticulated with new meanings and interpretations for the theistic, temple-based religion of Visnu as Venkatesvara. 

Dr Prabhavati C. Reddy is an Adjunct Faculty member of Religious Studies at George Mason University in Virginia, USA. She is an interdisciplinary scholar with a Ph.D. in Sanskrit and Indian Studies from Harvard University, an M.A. in Asian Art History from the University of Texas-Austin, and an M.A and M.Phil. in Ancient History and Archaeology from Osmania University, Hyderabad, India. She has previously taught at George Washington University and was a two-year Andrew Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at Northwestern University where she taught in the Department of Religious Studies. She specializes in Hindu traditions and is interested in the historical development of sectarian traditions with reference to constructive theological frameworks and syncretism, religious authority and identity, and conflict and resolution in response to sociological and political processes. She is the author of Hindu Pilgrimage: Shifting Patterns of Worldview of Srisailam in South India (Routledge, 2014) and has published several articles on Indian art and Indian diaspora/Hindu temples in North America. She is currently working on two books entitled, The Tantra and Siddha Traditions at Srisailam: Kundalini and Hatha Yoga Practices in Medieval India and Vaisnava Rituals and Sacred Images. She has lectured at universities in both the U.S and India as well as has presented papers at professional conferences. 

Readings in Middle Bengali Texts: Session five

Lucian Wong
Friday, 27 May 2016 - 11:00am
OCHS Library

We will read sections from key devotional and theological Vaiṣṇava texts in Bengali from the early modern period and discuss their meaning. Some proficiency in Bengali is a requirement.

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must write poetry: Language, poetics, and theology in the works of Kavikarṇapūra

Early Modern Hindu Theology Seminars
Dr Rembert Lutjeharms
Monday, 30 May 2016 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
OCHS Library

In a tradition that exhorts constant praise of God's divine play—like the Hindu devotional tradition inspired by Caitanya—there may seem little room for an apophatic theology. Yet to understand the works of Kavikarṇapūra (sixteenth century), one of the most prominent Sanskrit poets of the Caitanya Vaiṣṇava tradition, one has to read his poetry in the light of Vedāntic apophatic thought reaching back to the Upaniṣads. This lecture will examine the unique style of Kavikarṇapūra's magnum opus, the Ānanda-vṛndāvana-campū, a lengthy retelling of the early life of Kṛṣṇa, through an analysis of his philosophy of language, his innovative poetics, and his theology, and will argue that, in Kavikarṇapūra's mind, the way words can refer meaningfully to the indescribable reality of God is through the ineffable experience (anubhava) that poetry can generate.

Rembert Lutjeharms (DPhil, Oxford 2010) is the Librarian at the OCHS and a Tutor in Hinduism at the Faculty of Theology and Religion.

Readings in Phenomenology: Session six

Dr Jessica Frazier and Lucian Wong
Thursday, 2 June 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
OCHS Library

In the early twentieth century Phenomenology was considered a vibrant fresh approach to reality, with the power to revitalise human engagement with the world. Martin Heidegger's rethinking of metaphysics became central to this project. Taking his cue from Nietzsche, Heidegger argued that Western philosophy since Plato had been dogged by an obsession with finding an indubitable foundation for knowledge, and has needed to achieve a radical reorientation of man’s relation to the world – something he tried to achieve in his own work.

In this term’s Readings in Phenomenology we will explore the theme of the critique of metaphysics in Nietzsche, and the Heidegger's attempt to revive philosophy. We will begin by reading excerpts from Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols, and we will then move on to read Heidegger's Letter on Humanism in which he attempts to move beyond metaphysics after Being and Time, and his poetic essay Building Dwelling Thinking in which he tries to evoke a more authentic and attentive way of 'dwelling' in the world. 

Readings in Middle Bengali Texts: Session six

Lucian Wong
Friday, 3 June 2016 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
OCHS Library

We will read sections from key devotional and theological Vaiṣṇava texts in Bengali from the early modern period and discuss their meaning. Some proficiency in Bengali is a requirement.

Readings in Phenomenology: Session seven

Dr Jessica Frazier and Lucian Wong
Thursday, 9 June 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
OCHS Library

In the early twentieth century Phenomenology was considered a vibrant fresh approach to reality, with the power to revitalise human engagement with the world. Martin Heidegger's rethinking of metaphysics became central to this project. Taking his cue from Nietzsche, Heidegger argued that Western philosophy since Plato had been dogged by an obsession with finding an indubitable foundation for knowledge, and has needed to achieve a radical reorientation of man’s relation to the world – something he tried to achieve in his own work.

In this term’s Readings in Phenomenology we will explore the theme of the critique of metaphysics in Nietzsche, and the Heidegger's attempt to revive philosophy. We will begin by reading excerpts from Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols, and we will then move on to read Heidegger's Letter on Humanism in which he attempts to move beyond metaphysics after Being and Time, and his poetic essay Building Dwelling Thinking in which he tries to evoke a more authentic and attentive way of 'dwelling' in the world. 

Nath Siddhas and Hatha Yoga Practices in South India

Shivadasani Seminar
Dr Prabhavati C. Reddy
Thursday, 9 June 2016 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm
OCHS Library

By the fifteenth century, the Nath lineage of Siddhas had emerged as influential teachers and wonder-working yogis in the Telugu-speaking region of Srisailam in South India. Both textual and archaeological evidence suggest that Nath gurus have gained popularity among royal families and common people as well as the establishment of regional Nath parampara traditions, combined with Saiva, Tantra and Hatha Yoga practices in the environs of Srisailam. In this seminar, we will discuss the mid-fifteenth century Telugu work, the Navanathacaritra of Gaurana, which is a primary source dedicated entirely to the history of nine Nath teachers, in particular the fifteenth century Prakara’s art narratives depicting the Naths and a variety of Siddha portraits in hatha yoga postures. The Navanāthacaritra is the first work to give a list of nine Naths corresponding to those found in later Nath works and it also contains important information on the localization of Nath yogis, the Saiva-Nath affiliation, and Tantric and hatha yoga techniques. This seminar explores the five facets of Nath religious culture, including: 1) the historical account of nine Nath Siddhas based on the Navanatha Caritra and the art narratives of Minanatha (Matsyendra), Gopala (Goraksa) and Sarangadhara (Caurangi); 2) the kundalini-based yoga techniques and hatha yoga practices by Nath gurus; 3) the Yogini-Kaula cult of Matsyendranath; 4) a variety of Siddha portraiture and hatha yoga asanas; and 5) the placement of Srisailam’s Nath religious culture within the broader context of the Nath tradition. 

Dr Prabhavati C. Reddy is an Adjunct Faculty member of Religious Studies at George Mason University in Virginia, USA. She is an interdisciplinary scholar with a Ph.D. in Sanskrit and Indian Studies from Harvard University, an M.A. in Asian Art History from the University of Texas-Austin, and an M.A and M.Phil. in Ancient History and Archaeology from Osmania University, Hyderabad, India. She has previously taught at George Washington University and was a two-year Andrew Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at Northwestern University where she taught in the Department of Religious Studies. She specializes in Hindu traditions and is interested in the historical development of sectarian traditions with reference to constructive theological frameworks and syncretism, religious authority and identity, and conflict and resolution in response to sociological and political processes. She is the author of Hindu Pilgrimage: Shifting Patterns of Worldview of Srisailam in South India (Routledge, 2014) and has published several articles on Indian art and Indian diaspora/Hindu temples in North America. She is currently working on two books entitled, The Tantra and Siddha Traditions at Srisailam: Kundalini and Hatha Yoga Practices in Medieval India and Vaisnava Rituals and Sacred Images. She has lectured at universities in both the U.S and India as well as has presented papers at professional conferences. 

Readings in Middle Bengali Texts: Session seven

Lucian Wong
Friday, 10 June 2016 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
OCHS Library

We will read sections from key devotional and theological Vaiṣṇava texts in Bengali from the early modern period and discuss their meaning. Some proficiency in Bengali is a requirement.

Readings in Phenomenology: Session eight

Dr Jessica Frazier and Lucian Wong
Thursday, 16 June 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
OCHS Library

In the early twentieth century Phenomenology was considered a vibrant fresh approach to reality, with the power to revitalise human engagement with the world. Martin Heidegger's rethinking of metaphysics became central to this project. Taking his cue from Nietzsche, Heidegger argued that Western philosophy since Plato had been dogged by an obsession with finding an indubitable foundation for knowledge, and has needed to achieve a radical reorientation of man’s relation to the world – something he tried to achieve in his own work.

In this term’s Readings in Phenomenology we will explore the theme of the critique of metaphysics in Nietzsche, and the Heidegger's attempt to revive philosophy. We will begin by reading excerpts from Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols, and we will then move on to read Heidegger's Letter on Humanism in which he attempts to move beyond metaphysics after Being and Time, and his poetic essay Building Dwelling Thinking in which he tries to evoke a more authentic and attentive way of 'dwelling' in the world. 

Readings in Middle Bengali Texts: Session eight

Lucian Wong
Friday, 17 June 2016 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
OCHS Library

We will read sections from key devotional and theological Vaiṣṇava texts in Bengali from the early modern period and discuss their meaning. Some proficiency in Bengali is a requirement.