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Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

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Plays
Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

Unknown

20
Followers
10
Plays
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Lectures from the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

Latest Episodes

Śaivism and the Bhāgavata Purāṇa

Early Modern Hindu Theology Seminars Dr Anand Venkatkrishnan 16 May 2016 TheBhāgavata Purāṇa(BhP) is primarily considered the prerogative of Vaiṣṇava religious communities. This paper complicates that commonplace historiography by exploring what the BhP meant to a group of Śaivas in Kerala in the fifteenth century. I locate these Śaivas at the nexus of a number of philosophical and religious trends: the confluence of Vedic and non-Vedic non-dualism, the encounter of a Kashmiri and a southern discourse onbhakti, and the proliferation ofstotras, or praise-poetry, of both Śaiva and Vaiṣṇava persuasions. Ultimately I attempt to understand the local contours of Śaiva ecumenicism: one that engaged with the core texts of Vaiṣṇavism not as subordinate in a hierarchically inclusive series, or as subsumed within the universalism of non-dualist philosophy, but as canonical and liberating in their own right. Anand Venkatkrishnanis Asoke Kumar Sarkar Junior Research Fellow at Ballio...

41 MIN2018 DEC 9
Comments
Śaivism and the Bhāgavata Purāṇa

Nath Siddhas and Hatha Yoga Practices in South India

Shivadasani Seminar Dr Prabhavati Reddy 9 Jun 2016 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 inhathayogapostures. TheNavanāthacaritrais 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 loc...

66 MIN2018 NOV 9
Comments
Nath Siddhas and Hatha Yoga Practices in South India

Myth-History Conundrums in the Hagiographies of Satya Pīr: Hindu God and Muslim Holy Man

J.P. And Beena Khaitan Visiting Fellows lecture Prof. Tony K. Stewart 27 Oct 2016 Satya Pīr has been for scholars one of the most puzzling figures in Bengali religious history: for Muslims a Sufi saint and for Hindus none other than Satya Nārāyaṇ. The index to their truly puzzling nature is the fact that in spite of their ubiquity—his manuscript and print literature in Bangla is second in size only to the voluminous output prompted by Kṛṣṇa Caitanya—there have been virtually no serious attempts to understand the religious and cultural work of these stories. For the last two centuries these boundary-crossing tales have been uniformly dismissed as derivativerubbishfrom the perspective of those writing the heroic nationalist literary histories that were secular in ideal, but Hindu in orientation; ashereticalby the conservative reforming factions of Faraizi and Salafi Islam; assyncretistic confusionby both foreign and local Orientalists; and demonstrative of abastard languageca...

51 MIN2018 OCT 9
Comments
Myth-History Conundrums in the Hagiographies of Satya Pīr: Hindu God and Muslim Holy Man

The monastic/ascetic tradition of India and its ramification towards the west

Shivdasani lecture Prof. G. C. Tripathi 3 Nov 2016 The lecture would shed light on the Indian phenomenon of monasticism(shrama,shramana)and asceticism(tapas,tapasvin).Buddhist monks are referred to asshramanas,the toilers. The concept ofshrama(labour) has a spiritual connotation in the Vedic literature. Monastic way of life, according to me, was not a protest or revolution against the established religious order. Its tradition seems to be as old that of Vedic ritual, although it was formalised and given a well structured form by Mahavira and especially by Buddha. However they were not the inventors of this tradition. Many Rishis and Aranyakas (Vaikhanasas!) lead a life very akin to that of a monk.Tapasetymologically means ‘heat’ andtapasyais ‘accumulation of heat’ where the expression ‘heat’ is understood in the sense of spiritual energy. Performance of austerities is believed to endow a person with extra-ordinary capabilities which could be of many use, besides , of course, s...

81 MIN2018 SEP 9
Comments
The monastic/ascetic tradition of India and its ramification towards the west

Subjunctive Explorations of Fictive Vaiṣṇav-Sufi Discourse

J.P. And Beena Khaitan Visiting Fellows lecture Prof. Tony K. Stewart 10 Nov 2016 The early modern Bangla tales of the legendary or mythicpīrsare romantic narratives that speak to the often strange and puzzling encounters between Hindus, especially Vaiṣṇavs, and Muslims, primarily Sufis. They bring together foreigners and locals, courtiers and country bumpkins, in encounters ripe with a myriad of misunderstandings and false assumptions regarding religion, rituals, and those that practice them. They seek to establish the functional equivalence of religious practitioners, their rituals, and the contours of belief through the vehicle of the generic romance. One of the most popular figures is Baḍa Khān Gājī, who from atop his Arabian stallion commands an army of twenty-five thousand tigers, and wages a successful war against Dakṣīn Rāy, an overlord who rides his own personal tiger and counters with his militia of twenty-five thousand crocodiles (both troops mustered through th...

46 MIN2018 AUG 9
Comments
Subjunctive Explorations of Fictive Vaiṣṇav-Sufi Discourse

Influence of Kashmir on the Tantric traditions of Orissa

Shivdasani lecture Prof. G. C. Tripathi 24 Nov 2016 The paper shall try to trace the close relationship of the Orissan Tantrism and also Vishnuism to Kashmir of the 10th-12th Century. It were most probably the Orissan students learning in the Pathashalas of Kashmir, mentioned (sarcastically) by Kshemendra who brought the philosophy and ritual of Kashmir along with manuscripts from there to Orissa which enriched Orissan Vishnuism overlaid by Tantric practices. The paper would also shed light on the historical aspect of this relationship. Prof. Gaya Charan Tripathiwas born at Agra (India). He went to school and pursued higher studies at Agra, Pune, and Benares. He has a Masters in Sanskrit (1959) from the University of Agra with a Gold Medal and first position in the University. He received his Ph.D. from the same University in 1962 on Vedic Deities and their subsequent development in the Epics and the Puranas supported by a Fellowship of the Ministry of Education. He is a Fellow of t...

65 MIN2018 JUL 9
Comments
Influence of Kashmir on the Tantric traditions of Orissa

The Colloquy between Muhammad and Saytān: The 18th century Bangla Iblichnāmā of Garībullā

Lectures of the J.P. And Beena Khaitan Visiting Fellow Prof. Tony K. Stewart 31 Jan 2017 In 1287 bs [=1879/80 ce] a short Bangla work was published in Calcutta under the title ofIblichnāmār punthiby the highly productive scholar Garībullā, who had composed the text about a century earlier. This somewhat unusual text is a colloquy between the Prophet Muhammad and the fallen Iblich (Ar. Iblīs), also called Saytān. The bulk of this fictional text is an interrogation of Iblich regarding the nature of his followers and their actions. The text is prefaced in its opening verses with a somewhat uneasy statement about the nature of the book and whether it was even appropriate to compose such a text it in the vernacular Bangla, a move that immediately draws attention to the language of the text itself and its intended audience. The opening section moves from one language conundrum to another until the attentive reader begins to realize that the fact one is reading the text in Bangla sug...

49 MIN2018 JUN 9
Comments
The Colloquy between Muhammad and Saytān: The 18th century Bangla Iblichnāmā of Garībullā

When Muslim and Hindu Worlds Meet in Fiction: Mapping the Bengali Imaginaire

Lectures of the J.P. And Beena Khaitan Visiting Fellow Prof. Tony K. Stewart 16 Feb 2017 A number of Bangla tales dedicated to the fictional or mythic holy men (pīrs) and women (bibīs) in the Muslim community have circulated widely over the last five centuries alongside the tales of their historical counterparts. They are still printed and told today, and performed regularly in public, especially in the Sunderbans, the mangrove swamps in the southern reaches of Bangladesh and West Bengal. Among them are figures such as the itinerant veterinarian Mānik Pīr, the tamer of tigers Baḍakhān Gājī and his female counterpart Bonbibī, and the matron of cholera Olābibī. Because of the way they defy the strictly demarcated categories that have come to define Hindu and Muslim in the last two centuries, Orientalist scholars, conservative Muslim factions, linguists, and literary historians have until recently rejected or ignored altogether this group of stories as as purely entertaining...

50 MIN2018 MAY 9
Comments
When Muslim and Hindu Worlds Meet in Fiction: Mapping the Bengali Imaginaire

‘The lotus in the mire’: the Indian reception of Tājika astrology

Dr. Martin Gansten 3 May 2017 Tājika is the designation of the Sanskritized Perso-Arabic astrology that arose as an independent school following the second wave of astrological transmission into India in the early centuries of the second millennium CE. It is thus the form of Indian astrology most closely resembling western medieval and Renaissance astrology, which similarly rests on Arabic foundations. Although ultimately derived from the same Greek origins as classical Indian astrology, Tājika comprises many technical elements not included in the first wave of transmission about a millennium earlier. While the earliest known Tājika works in Sanskrit appear to have been composed by authors who were either Jains or members of the non-Brahmin Prāgvāṭa (Porwad) community encompassing both Jains and Hindus, the most influential of these authors was reinvented as a Brahmin by later Tājika tradition. Not all Brahmins were accepting of the foreign science, however, and many Tājika ...

42 MIN2018 APR 9
Comments
‘The lotus in the mire’: the Indian reception of Tājika astrology

Rādhā Tantra and the agonies and ecstasies of studying obscure texts

TheRādhā Tantra(RT), also known asVāsudevarahasya(Vāsudeva’s secret), is a fairly extensive, anonymous Tantric work dealing with the story of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Contrary to what the name might indicate, the RT is not a Vaiṣṇava text; rather, it is a Śākta text giving a Śākta reinterpretation of a Vaiṣṇava story. The RT is by all standards a late Tantra, written in poor Sanskrit, seldom quoted by Tantric authorities and little studied today. Plainly said, this is not an important text. Nevertheless, in this talk, I will argue for the importance of studying such obscure texts. This I will do by taking a close look at the historical context of the RT, its fascinating manuscript history, its intertextualities and doctrines, all of which paint a vivid picture of the meeting of Śāktism and Vaiṣṇavism in 17thcentury Bengal. Who wrote this text, and why? Considering such questions, I argue, will not only help us understand this particular text, but also give us a larger ...

45 MIN2018 MAR 9
Comments
Rādhā Tantra and the agonies and ecstasies of studying obscure texts

Latest Episodes

Śaivism and the Bhāgavata Purāṇa

Early Modern Hindu Theology Seminars Dr Anand Venkatkrishnan 16 May 2016 TheBhāgavata Purāṇa(BhP) is primarily considered the prerogative of Vaiṣṇava religious communities. This paper complicates that commonplace historiography by exploring what the BhP meant to a group of Śaivas in Kerala in the fifteenth century. I locate these Śaivas at the nexus of a number of philosophical and religious trends: the confluence of Vedic and non-Vedic non-dualism, the encounter of a Kashmiri and a southern discourse onbhakti, and the proliferation ofstotras, or praise-poetry, of both Śaiva and Vaiṣṇava persuasions. Ultimately I attempt to understand the local contours of Śaiva ecumenicism: one that engaged with the core texts of Vaiṣṇavism not as subordinate in a hierarchically inclusive series, or as subsumed within the universalism of non-dualist philosophy, but as canonical and liberating in their own right. Anand Venkatkrishnanis Asoke Kumar Sarkar Junior Research Fellow at Ballio...

41 MIN2018 DEC 9
Comments
Śaivism and the Bhāgavata Purāṇa

Nath Siddhas and Hatha Yoga Practices in South India

Shivadasani Seminar Dr Prabhavati Reddy 9 Jun 2016 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 inhathayogapostures. TheNavanāthacaritrais 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 loc...

66 MIN2018 NOV 9
Comments
Nath Siddhas and Hatha Yoga Practices in South India

Myth-History Conundrums in the Hagiographies of Satya Pīr: Hindu God and Muslim Holy Man

J.P. And Beena Khaitan Visiting Fellows lecture Prof. Tony K. Stewart 27 Oct 2016 Satya Pīr has been for scholars one of the most puzzling figures in Bengali religious history: for Muslims a Sufi saint and for Hindus none other than Satya Nārāyaṇ. The index to their truly puzzling nature is the fact that in spite of their ubiquity—his manuscript and print literature in Bangla is second in size only to the voluminous output prompted by Kṛṣṇa Caitanya—there have been virtually no serious attempts to understand the religious and cultural work of these stories. For the last two centuries these boundary-crossing tales have been uniformly dismissed as derivativerubbishfrom the perspective of those writing the heroic nationalist literary histories that were secular in ideal, but Hindu in orientation; ashereticalby the conservative reforming factions of Faraizi and Salafi Islam; assyncretistic confusionby both foreign and local Orientalists; and demonstrative of abastard languageca...

51 MIN2018 OCT 9
Comments
Myth-History Conundrums in the Hagiographies of Satya Pīr: Hindu God and Muslim Holy Man

The monastic/ascetic tradition of India and its ramification towards the west

Shivdasani lecture Prof. G. C. Tripathi 3 Nov 2016 The lecture would shed light on the Indian phenomenon of monasticism(shrama,shramana)and asceticism(tapas,tapasvin).Buddhist monks are referred to asshramanas,the toilers. The concept ofshrama(labour) has a spiritual connotation in the Vedic literature. Monastic way of life, according to me, was not a protest or revolution against the established religious order. Its tradition seems to be as old that of Vedic ritual, although it was formalised and given a well structured form by Mahavira and especially by Buddha. However they were not the inventors of this tradition. Many Rishis and Aranyakas (Vaikhanasas!) lead a life very akin to that of a monk.Tapasetymologically means ‘heat’ andtapasyais ‘accumulation of heat’ where the expression ‘heat’ is understood in the sense of spiritual energy. Performance of austerities is believed to endow a person with extra-ordinary capabilities which could be of many use, besides , of course, s...

81 MIN2018 SEP 9
Comments
The monastic/ascetic tradition of India and its ramification towards the west

Subjunctive Explorations of Fictive Vaiṣṇav-Sufi Discourse

J.P. And Beena Khaitan Visiting Fellows lecture Prof. Tony K. Stewart 10 Nov 2016 The early modern Bangla tales of the legendary or mythicpīrsare romantic narratives that speak to the often strange and puzzling encounters between Hindus, especially Vaiṣṇavs, and Muslims, primarily Sufis. They bring together foreigners and locals, courtiers and country bumpkins, in encounters ripe with a myriad of misunderstandings and false assumptions regarding religion, rituals, and those that practice them. They seek to establish the functional equivalence of religious practitioners, their rituals, and the contours of belief through the vehicle of the generic romance. One of the most popular figures is Baḍa Khān Gājī, who from atop his Arabian stallion commands an army of twenty-five thousand tigers, and wages a successful war against Dakṣīn Rāy, an overlord who rides his own personal tiger and counters with his militia of twenty-five thousand crocodiles (both troops mustered through th...

46 MIN2018 AUG 9
Comments
Subjunctive Explorations of Fictive Vaiṣṇav-Sufi Discourse

Influence of Kashmir on the Tantric traditions of Orissa

Shivdasani lecture Prof. G. C. Tripathi 24 Nov 2016 The paper shall try to trace the close relationship of the Orissan Tantrism and also Vishnuism to Kashmir of the 10th-12th Century. It were most probably the Orissan students learning in the Pathashalas of Kashmir, mentioned (sarcastically) by Kshemendra who brought the philosophy and ritual of Kashmir along with manuscripts from there to Orissa which enriched Orissan Vishnuism overlaid by Tantric practices. The paper would also shed light on the historical aspect of this relationship. Prof. Gaya Charan Tripathiwas born at Agra (India). He went to school and pursued higher studies at Agra, Pune, and Benares. He has a Masters in Sanskrit (1959) from the University of Agra with a Gold Medal and first position in the University. He received his Ph.D. from the same University in 1962 on Vedic Deities and their subsequent development in the Epics and the Puranas supported by a Fellowship of the Ministry of Education. He is a Fellow of t...

65 MIN2018 JUL 9
Comments
Influence of Kashmir on the Tantric traditions of Orissa

The Colloquy between Muhammad and Saytān: The 18th century Bangla Iblichnāmā of Garībullā

Lectures of the J.P. And Beena Khaitan Visiting Fellow Prof. Tony K. Stewart 31 Jan 2017 In 1287 bs [=1879/80 ce] a short Bangla work was published in Calcutta under the title ofIblichnāmār punthiby the highly productive scholar Garībullā, who had composed the text about a century earlier. This somewhat unusual text is a colloquy between the Prophet Muhammad and the fallen Iblich (Ar. Iblīs), also called Saytān. The bulk of this fictional text is an interrogation of Iblich regarding the nature of his followers and their actions. The text is prefaced in its opening verses with a somewhat uneasy statement about the nature of the book and whether it was even appropriate to compose such a text it in the vernacular Bangla, a move that immediately draws attention to the language of the text itself and its intended audience. The opening section moves from one language conundrum to another until the attentive reader begins to realize that the fact one is reading the text in Bangla sug...

49 MIN2018 JUN 9
Comments
The Colloquy between Muhammad and Saytān: The 18th century Bangla Iblichnāmā of Garībullā

When Muslim and Hindu Worlds Meet in Fiction: Mapping the Bengali Imaginaire

Lectures of the J.P. And Beena Khaitan Visiting Fellow Prof. Tony K. Stewart 16 Feb 2017 A number of Bangla tales dedicated to the fictional or mythic holy men (pīrs) and women (bibīs) in the Muslim community have circulated widely over the last five centuries alongside the tales of their historical counterparts. They are still printed and told today, and performed regularly in public, especially in the Sunderbans, the mangrove swamps in the southern reaches of Bangladesh and West Bengal. Among them are figures such as the itinerant veterinarian Mānik Pīr, the tamer of tigers Baḍakhān Gājī and his female counterpart Bonbibī, and the matron of cholera Olābibī. Because of the way they defy the strictly demarcated categories that have come to define Hindu and Muslim in the last two centuries, Orientalist scholars, conservative Muslim factions, linguists, and literary historians have until recently rejected or ignored altogether this group of stories as as purely entertaining...

50 MIN2018 MAY 9
Comments
When Muslim and Hindu Worlds Meet in Fiction: Mapping the Bengali Imaginaire

‘The lotus in the mire’: the Indian reception of Tājika astrology

Dr. Martin Gansten 3 May 2017 Tājika is the designation of the Sanskritized Perso-Arabic astrology that arose as an independent school following the second wave of astrological transmission into India in the early centuries of the second millennium CE. It is thus the form of Indian astrology most closely resembling western medieval and Renaissance astrology, which similarly rests on Arabic foundations. Although ultimately derived from the same Greek origins as classical Indian astrology, Tājika comprises many technical elements not included in the first wave of transmission about a millennium earlier. While the earliest known Tājika works in Sanskrit appear to have been composed by authors who were either Jains or members of the non-Brahmin Prāgvāṭa (Porwad) community encompassing both Jains and Hindus, the most influential of these authors was reinvented as a Brahmin by later Tājika tradition. Not all Brahmins were accepting of the foreign science, however, and many Tājika ...

42 MIN2018 APR 9
Comments
‘The lotus in the mire’: the Indian reception of Tājika astrology

Rādhā Tantra and the agonies and ecstasies of studying obscure texts

TheRādhā Tantra(RT), also known asVāsudevarahasya(Vāsudeva’s secret), is a fairly extensive, anonymous Tantric work dealing with the story of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Contrary to what the name might indicate, the RT is not a Vaiṣṇava text; rather, it is a Śākta text giving a Śākta reinterpretation of a Vaiṣṇava story. The RT is by all standards a late Tantra, written in poor Sanskrit, seldom quoted by Tantric authorities and little studied today. Plainly said, this is not an important text. Nevertheless, in this talk, I will argue for the importance of studying such obscure texts. This I will do by taking a close look at the historical context of the RT, its fascinating manuscript history, its intertextualities and doctrines, all of which paint a vivid picture of the meeting of Śāktism and Vaiṣṇavism in 17thcentury Bengal. Who wrote this text, and why? Considering such questions, I argue, will not only help us understand this particular text, but also give us a larger ...

45 MIN2018 MAR 9
Comments
Rādhā Tantra and the agonies and ecstasies of studying obscure texts
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