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Friends Event: Understanding Love

Leicester Friends Event
Saturday, 29 June 2013 - 6:30pm to 9:00pm

A talk By Anuradha Dooney of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

Indian culture is noted for its wonderful love poetry and none more beautiful than that of the bhakti poets. Their devotion has become one of the greatest influences on Hindu practice by cutting through stereotypes of caste, gender and religion.

This talk explores bhakti, or devotion, through the writings of Antal a South Indian poetess from the 8th century; Chaitanya, a 15th century Bengali saint and Mirabai, a 16th century Rajasthani princess.

Ashok Vaswani: From Bombay to Barclays

On 20 May, Mr Ashok Vaswani, CEO, Retail and Business Banking, at Barclays, delivered the final lecture of the 2013 Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies Leadership Series. The event at Oxford's Saïd Business School was sponsored by Deloitte.

In the lecture "From Bombay to Barclays", Mr Vaswani shared the ideas and influences that have led him to become head of Retail and Business Banking at Barclays. He spoke on the role that Indian thought, culture, and society have had on his career development as a business builder and on his philosophy on leadership and strategic thought and practice.

Friends Event: Hindu Thought in Western Literature

Shaunaka Rishi Das
Saturday, 25 May 2013 - 6:30pm to 9:00pm

In this talk we will look at the influence of Hindu thought on Western literature. We will visit authors, periods, and themes, travelling from ancient times, through the medieval period, buffeted by the European Enlightenment and the Romantics, through German, British, and Americian representatives of the 18th - 20th centuries. We will see if the influence served to distinguish Indian perspectives as desirable or as detestable, or both, and look at issues of concern raised from this creative interaction.

OCHS courses return to London

After a break of three years, the OCHS Continuing Education courses return to London.

Understanding Hinduism, a seven session course will take place in Central London from 2 May and Harrow from 13 May.

The courses are co-tutored by Dr Nick Sutton and Anuradha Dooney and cover the following sessions.

Session 1: What is Hindu Identity?
Session 2: Origins and Early History of Hinduism
Session 3: Hinduism and Indian History
Session 4: Hindu Scriptures, the Religion of the Vedas
Session 5: Hindu Scriptures: Bhagavad-gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata
Session 6: Hindu Religious Philosophy: the Way

OCHS student wins Sanskrit prize

Rohana Seneviratne, D.Phil. student in Sanskrit at the Oriental Institute  and OCHS student, was awarded the Saraswati Sanskrit Prize. He is the first person of Sri Lankan descent and also the first Oxford student to receive this award.

At the official award ceremony held in New Delhi on 25 March, Rohana received his award from Dr. Karan Singh, president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), titular Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, and also an OCHS patron.

The Saraswati Sanskrit Prize is a biannual award instituted in 2008 by the ICCR in India together with the Department of

Nehru Centre talk: Swami Vivekananda and the Transformation of Indian Philanthropy

Nehru Centre Event
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 - 6:30pm

A talk by Prabhu Guptara

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.

Friends Talk: The Hanuman Chalisa

Leicester Friends Event
Saturday, 27 April 2013 - 6:30pm to 9:00pm

In this talk Nick Sutton will discuss the Hindi text of the Hanuman Chalisa and try to place this well loved work within the wider of context of Tulsidas’s retelling of the Ramayana, noting the ways in which he builds on the earlier work of Valmiki to provide new insights into the significance of the deeds of Rama, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman. Valmiki shows Rama as a heroic prince who triumphs over the forces of evil but he is less inclined to focus on Rama’s divine identity.

Friends Event: Tirath yatra

Leicester Friends Event
Saturday, 20 April 2013 (All day)

Join us on our third annual sponsored walk taking in the fifteen main temples in Leicester.

There is no age limit and you don't have to complete the whole course, just walk as much as you wish.

All money raised goes to support the work of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies.

Register at to receive a full sponsorship pack.

Obituary: Prof. M.N. Narasimhachary

Prof. M.N. Narasimhachary passed away in Chennai on Wednesday 6 March 2013. Here he is remembered by Dr Ravi Gupta...

Some thirteen years ago, I met Prof. M. Narasimhachary for the first time when he arrived as a visiting professor at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. That fortunate encounter changed my life in more ways that I can describe. In the years that have passed, Prof. Narasimhachary served as my doctoral examiner, wrote a reference for my first job, offered advice on all my writing projects, attended my wedding, and showered blessings on the births of both my boys.

Nehru Centre talk: Kitchen Religion: Hindu Approaches to Food

Nehru Centre Event
Thursday, 21 March 2013 - 6:30pm

A talk by Anuradha Dooney of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

From the earliest expressions of Hindu thought to Ayurvedic remedies, tiffin wallas, and temples of today, food, fasting and feasting have been at the heart of Hindu ideology and practice. This talk savours some of the ‘thinking behind the eating’ from the Upanishads, the Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita amongst others.

Friends Event: Hinduism: A Religion for Non-Believers

Leicester Friends Event
Saturday, 30 March 2013 - 6:30pm to 9:00pm

One of the main reasons why people in the modern world are turning away from religion is that they find the doctrines and scriptural narratives implausible in light of modern scientific discoveries. Where doubts arise about the truth of what is claimed a divine revelation, many will find it hard to continue to practice the religion based on that revelation. In this talk Nick Sutton will consider issues of faith, belief and scriptural revelation in relation to Hinduism and suggest that even where faith is lost there it is still possible to remain devotedly Hindu.

Renowned Sanskritist, OCHS Fellow, Prof. Narasimhachary Passes Away

Professor M.N. Narasimhachary, twice OCHS-Shivdasani Fellow and OCHS Director of Academic Affairs has passed away in Chennai, India, on Wednesday 6 March 2013, aged 74.

Born in Arthamuru village in East Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh, Prof. Narasimhachary was educated in Chennai. He earned his Ph.D. in Sanskrit from the University of Madras for his work on Yamunacharya.

He was revered at the OCHS as an excellent scholar, a gentleman, and a friend to all who met him. OCHS alumnus Dr Ravi Gupta remembers him thus: "Some thirteen years ago, I met Prof.