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Om-Shanti: Studie en Academie Materiaal

Boekbespreking Various

Perspectives on Reincarnation

Hindu, Christian, Scientific    
MDPI Books 2019

Jeffery D. Long

What happens after you die? The book brings together fascinating theological and religious studies perspectives on a controversial yet pervasive idea: reincarnation. An estimated 1 on 5 Americans subscribe to this belief, despite their religious background. Why is this? What are the philosophical, spiritual, pragmatic merits of subscribing to reincarnation? What about the pitfalls? Does believing in reincarnation counter Christian teachings? Is it a uniquely Hindu practice? Join us as we explore these and other questions with Dr. Jeffery D. Long, Professor of Religion and Asian Studies at Elizabethtown College (PA) and editor of this book.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 006:  klik hier


Endless Song

Penguin 2019

Archana Venkatesan

This is an exquisite translation of the Tiruvaymoli (sacred utterance), a brilliant 1102-verse ninth century tamil poem celebrating the poet Nammalvar’s mystical quest for union with his supreme lord, the Hindu great god Visnu. In this interview we discuss the sophisticated structure and profound content of the Tiruvaymoli, along with the translator’s own transformative journey rending into English the meaning, emotion, cadence and kaleidoscopic brilliance proper to this Tamil masterpiece.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 035:  klik hier


The Other Rama

Matricide and Genocide in the Mythology
of Parasurama, Suny Press 2020

Brian Collins

The book examines a fascinating, understudied figure appearing in Sanskrit narrative texts: Parasurāma, i.e., “Rāma with the Axe”. Though he is counted as among the ten avatāras of Visnu, his biography is quite grisly: Parasurāma is best known for decapitating his own mother and launching a genocidal campaign to annihilate twenty-one generations of the warrior caste. Why do ancient Sanskrit mythmakers elevate such an arguably transgressive and antisocial figure to so exalted a religious status? The book explores this question by undertaking analysis of the Parasurāma myth cycle using the methods of comparative mythology and psychoanalysis.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 037:  klik hier


The Subhedar’s Son

A Narrative of Brahmin-Christian Conversion from Nineteenth
Century Maharashtra, Oxford University Press 2019

Deepra Dandekar

This book is a translation and study of an award-winning Marathi biographical novel written in 1895 by Rev. Dinkar Shankar Sawarkar, who writes about his own father, Rev. Shankar Nana (1819-1884). Nana, a Brahmin, was among the early Christian converts of the Church Missionary Society in Western India. The Subhedar's Son provides a fascinating insight into Brahmanical-Christian conversions of the era, along with attitudes surrounding such conversions. In this podcast, we interview Deepra Dandeka and Sawarkar’s own great-grand-daughter about this text and its important context.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 045:  klik hier


Poetry as Prayer in the Sanskrit Hymns of Kashmir

Oxford University Press 2019

Hamsa Stainton

This book explores the relationship between “poetry” and “prayer” in South Asia through close examination of the history of Sanskrit hymns of praise (stotras) in Kashmir from the eighth century onwards. Beyond charting the history and features of the stotra genre, Stainton presents the first sustained study of the Stutikusumāñjali, an important work dedicated to the god Siva, one bearing witness to the trajectory of Sanskrit literary culture in fourteenth-century Kashmir. Poetry as Prayer illumines how these Saiva poets integrate poetics, theology and devotion in the production of usage of Sanskrit hymns, and more broadly expands our understanding Hindu bhakti itself.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 046:  klik hier


Hinduism in America

Bloomsbury Academic 2020

Jeffery D. Long

Long traces two worlds that converge - that of Hindu immigrants to America who strive to preserve their traditions in a foreign land, and that of American spiritual seekers who turn to Hindu practices and ideas. Long explores the influence of concepts such as karma, rebirth, meditation and yoga on the American consciousness, along with Hindu temples in America.
Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 059:  klik hier


The Jewel of Annual Astrology

A Translation of Balabhadra’s
Hayanaratna, Brill 2020

Martin Gansten

We speak with Gansten on his groundbreaking edition and translation of Balabhadra's Hāyanaratna (1649), the first-ever scholarly volume on Sanskritized Perso-Arabic (Tājika) astrology. In addition to speaking about this work, we dive into the perplexing world of Indian astrology.
Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 060:  klik hier


The Audacious Raconteur

Sovereignty and Storytelling in Colonial
India Cornell University Press 2020

Leela Prasad

Can a subject be sovereign in a hegemony? Can creativity be reined in by forces of empire? This book argues that even the most hegemonic circumstances cannot suppress “audacious raconteurs”: skilled storytellers who fashion narrative spaces that allow themselves to remain sovereign and beyond subjugation. The book tells the stories of four Indian narrators who lived in colonial India: a Goan Catholic ayah, a Telugu lawyer from the Raju community, a Tamil brahmin archaeologist, and a librarian from the medara (basket-weavers) caste. These four Indian narrators, through their vigorous orality, maverick use of photography, literary ventriloquism, and bilingualism, dismantle the ideological bulwark of colonialism - colonial modernity, history, science, and native knowledge.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 080:  klik hier


White Utopias

The Religious Exoticism of Transformational
Festivals, University of California Press Press 2020

Amanda J. Lucia

Transformational festivals, from Burning Man to Lightning in a Bottle, Bhakti Fest, and Wanderlust, are massive events that attract thousands of participants to sites around the world. The author shows how these festivals operate as religious institutions for “spiritual, but not religious” (SBNR) communities. Whereas previous research into SBNR practices and New Age religion has not addressed the predominantly white makeup of these communities, White Utopias examines the complicated, often contradictory relationships with race at these events, presenting an engrossing ethnography of SBNR practices. Lucia contends that participants create temporary utopias through their shared commitments to spiritual growth and human connection. But they also participate in religious exoticism by adopting Indigenous and Indic spiritualities, a practice that ultimately renders them exclusive, white utopias. Focusing on yoga's role in disseminating SBNR values, Lucia offers new ways of comprehending transformational festivals as significant cultural phenomena.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 081:  klik hier


Material Devotion in a South Indian Poetic World

Bloomsbury Academic 2020

Leah Elizabeth Comeau

This book contributes new methods for the study and interpretation of material religion found within literary landscapes. The poets of Hindu devotion are known for their intimate celebration of deities, and while verses over a thousand years old are still treasured, translated, and performed, little attention has been paid to the evocative sensorial worlds referenced by these literary compositions. This book offers a material interpretation of an understudied poem that defined an entire genre of South Asian literature - Tirukkovaiyar - the 9th century Tamil poem dedicated to Shiva. The poetry of Tamil South India invites travel across real and imagined geography, naming royal patrons, ancient temple towns, and natural landscapes. Comeau locates the materiality of devotion to Shiva in a world unique to the South Indian vernacular and yet captivating to audiences across time, place and tradition.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 083:  klik hier


Digital Hinduism

Routledge 2019

Xenia Zeiler

Digital Religion does not simply refer to religion as it is carried out online, but more broadly studies how digital media interrelate with religious practice and belief. Zeiler's book explores and consequentially studies how Hinduism is expressed in the digital sphere and how Hindus utilise digital media. Highlighting digital Hinduism and including case studies with foci on India, Asia and the global Hindu diaspora, this book features contributions from an interdisciplinary and international panel of academics. The chapters focus on specific case studies, which in summary exemplify the wide variety and diversity of what constitutes Digital Hinduism today. Applying methods and research questions from various disciplinary backgrounds appropriate to the study of religion and digital culture, such as Religious Studies, South Asian Studies, Anthropology and Media and Communication Studies, this book is vital reading for any scholar interested in the relationship between religion and the digital world.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 088:  klik hier


Pandemic Perspectives: Working Remotely

A Discussion with Raj Balkaran
New Books Network 2021

Raj Balkaran

In this episode you’ll hear about: the benefits and challenges of working remotely, being alt-ac, Hindu Studies, founding an online school, and the pandemic shutdowns in Canada. Our guest is a prolific independent scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. Having taught comparative religion and mythology at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies for a decade, he now Tutors at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies where he also serves on the Centre’s Curriculum Development Board. Alongside his academic training, he has received extensive spiritual training as part of an oral tradition dedicated to the transmission of Indian wisdom teachings. Integrating his academic and spiritual training, he has founded the online School of Indian Wisdom where he designs and delivers original online courses centered on the practical life wisdom to be found in the philosophical, mythological and spiritual traditions of ancient India. Beyond teaching and research, Dr. Balkaran runs a thriving life consulting practice and hosts the New Books in Indian Religions podcast.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 111:  klik hier


Bhaktimarga Swami on Devotion

New Books Network 2021

Bhaktimarga Swami

What does it mean to be a Swami? This podcast features words of wisdom from ISKCON Leader Bhaktimarga Swami. In drawing from his ISKCON journey which began in 1973, we broach topics of devotion, detachment, and surrender.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 112:  klik hier


Religion and Myth in the Marvel Cinametic Universe

McFarland 2021

Michael D. Nichols

Breaking box office records, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has achieved an unparalleled level of success with fans across the world, raising the films to a higher level of narrative: myth. This is the first book to analyze the Marvel output as modern myth, comparing it to epics, symbols, rituals, and stories from world religious traditions. Nichols places the exploits of Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther, and the other stars of the Marvel films alongside the legends of Achilles, Gilgamesh, Arjuna, the Buddha, and many others. It examines their origin stories and rites of passage, the conflicts they contend with, and the symbols of death and the battle against it that stalk them at every turn. The films deal with timeless human dilemmas and questions, evoking an enduring sense of adventure and wonder common across world mythic traditions.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 115:  klik hier


The Scholar Practitioner

Jesuit Priest, Professor, Harvard Divinity
School, New Books Network 2021

Frank Cloooney

To what extent should scholarship foreground the beliefs and experiences of the scholar producing it? Where does the scholar-practitioners fit at the academy today? Join us as we explore such issues in conversation with Dr. Francis Clooney, Jesuit Priest and Harvard Professor of Comparative Theology, specializing in Catholic and Hindu traditions.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 120:  klik hier


Chris Chapple on Nonviolence as Pandemic Wisdom

New Books Network 2021

Chris Chapple

How can the doctrine of nonviolence help us cope with these troubled times? Join us as we speak to Dr. Chris Chapple, Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology at Loyola Marymount University as we discuss specific, ancient strategies for navigating tumultuous times such as this moment in human history.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 125:  klik hier


Healing Wisdom from a Métis Elder

New Books Network 2021

Ernest W. Matton

The author is a spiritual ambassador who blends Traditional teachings with mainstream information to provide holistic healing approaches for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community members and professional disciplines. What wisdom teachings does he have to offer for healing and the current state of the world at large?

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 129:  klik hier


Wisdom and Social Activism

New Books Network 2021

Oneika Mays

How do you engage in social activism in a healthy, balanced sustainable manner? This podcast features the considerable social justice wisdom of Oneika Mays (she, her, certified meditation teacher, E-RYT, LMT and energy worker) who teaches mindfulness to incarcerated people at Rikers Island Correctional Facility in NYC. We discuss the significance of self-care and self-inquiry to social activism, and much more.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 140:  klik hier


Open Access Publishing

New Books Network 2021

Dominik Haas

What is Open Access Publishing and why is it important? Listen in as Raj Balkaran interviews Dominik A. Haas on his Fair Open Access Publishing in South Asian Studies (FOASAS) initiative which maintains a list of relevant publishers, journals, book series and other publication media. The list is available here.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 144:  klik hier


Branding Bhakti

Krishna Consciousness and the Makeover of
a Movement, Indiana University Press 2021

Nicole Karapanagiotis

How do religious groups reinvent themselves in order to attract new audiences? How do they rebrand their messages and recast their rituals in order to make their followers more diverse? The author considers the new branding of the Hare Krishna Movement, or the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Branding Bhakti not only investigates the methods the ISKCON movement uses to position itself for growth but also highlights devotees’ painful and complicated struggles as they work to transform their shrinking, sectarian movement into one with global religious appeal.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 145:  klik hier


To Savor the Meaning

The Theology of Literary Emotions in
Medieval Kashmir, Oxford University Press 2021

James D. Reich

Medieval Kashmir in its golden age saw the development of some of the most sophisticated theories of language, literature, and emotion articulated in the pre-modern world. This book examines the overlap of literary theory and religious philosophy in this period by looking at debates about how poetry communicates emotions to its readers, what it is readers do when they savor these emotions, and why this might be valuable.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 146:  klik hier

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 146:  klik hier

Online Dharmasastra Library

New Books Network 2021

Don Davis

Dr. Don Davis (Professor and Chair, Department of Asian Studies) speaks about the newly launched Resource Library for Dharmasāstra Studies, a digitized open educational resource hosted at the University of Texas, Austin. We discuss the genesis and utility of this important online resource, highlighting the herculean efforts of Dr. Patrick Olivelle.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 147:  klik hier


The Philosophy of Sri Chinmoy

Love and Transformation
Lexington Books 2021

Kusumita P. Pedersen

This podcast interviews Pedersen on the first book-length study of the thought of Sri Chinmoy (1931-2007) and his teaching of a dynamic spirituality of integral transformation. This book is a straightforward and unembroidered account of his philosophy, allowing Sri Chinmoy to speak for himself in his own words, in poetry as much as in prose.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 150:  klik hier


Winged Stallions and Wicked Mares

Horses in Indian Myth and History
University of Virginia Press 2021

Wendy Doniger

Raj Balkaran speaks with Wendy Doniger about her new book Winged Stallions and Wicked Mares: Horses in Indian Myth and History (University of Virginia Press, 2021), along with her translation of the final four books of the Mahābhārata's Critical Edition translation project, the power of the purānas, cultural appropriation, and more!

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 153:  klik hier


Savoring God

Comparative Theopoetics
Oxford University Press 2021

Gloria Maité Hernández

This book compares two mystical works central to the Christian Discalced Carmelite and the Hindu Bhakti traditions: the sixteenth-century Spanish Cántico espiritual (Spiritual Canticle), by John of the Cross, and the Sanskrit Rāsa Līlā, originated in the oral tradition. These texts are examined alongside theological commentaries: for the Cántico, the Comentarios written by John of the Cross on his own poem; for Rāsa Līlā, the foundational commentary by Srīdhara Swāmi along with commentaries by the sixteenth-century theologian Jīva Goswāmī, from the Gaudīya Vaisnava school, and other Gaudīya theologians.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 167:  klik hier


The Cloud of Longing

A New Translation and Eco-Aesthetic Study of
Kalidasa's Meghaduta, Oxford University Press 2021

E.H. Rick Jarow

This is a translation and full-length study of the great Sanskrit poet Kālidāsa's famed Meghadūta (literally: “The Cloud Messenger”) with a focus on its interfacing of nature, feeling, figurative language, and mythic memory. While the Meghadūta has been translated a number of times, the last “almost academic” translation was published in 1976 (Leonard Nathan, The Transport of Love: The Meghadūta of Kālidāsa). This volume, however, is more than an Indological translation. It is a study of the text in light of both classical Indian and contemporary Western literary theory, and it is aimed at lovers of poetry and poetics and students of world literature. It seeks to widen the arena of literary and poetic studies to include classic works of Asian traditions. It also looks at the poem's imaginative portrayals of “nature” and “environment” from perspectives that have rarely been considered.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 169:  klik hier


A Conversation with Laurie Patton

New Books Network 2022

Laurie Patton

Raj Balkaran speaks with Laurie Patton, Professor of Religions and President at Middlebury College, about her scholarly journey, educational administration, poetry, trends in scholarship, the significance of Indian myth, and more.

Raj Balkaran: Audio - Podcast 172:  klik hier

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