This book is one of the first wide-ranging academic surveys of the major types and categories of Hindu contemplative praxis. It explores diverse spiritual and religious practices within the Hindu traditions and Indic hermeneutical perspectives to understand the intricate culture of meditative communion and contemplation, devotion, spiritual formation, prayer, ritual, and worship. The volume extends and expands the conceptual reach of the fields of Contemplative Studies and Hindu Studies. The chapters in the volume cover themes in Hindu contemplative experience from various texts and traditions including classical Sāṃkhya and Patañjali Yoga, the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, the role of Sādhana in Advaita Vedānta, Śrīvidyā and the Śrīcakra, the body in Tantra, the semiotics and illocution of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sādhana, mantra in Mīmāṃsā, Vaiṣṇava liturgy, as well as cross-cultural reflections and interreligious comparative contemplative praxis. The volume presents indigenous vocabulary and frameworks to examine categories and concerns particular to the Hindu contemplative traditions. It traces patterns that cut across Hindu traditions and systems and discusses contrasting methods of different theological/philosophical schools evincing a strong plurality in Hindu religious thought and practice. The volume provides intra-religious comparisons that reveal internal complexity, nuances, and variety of contemplative states and transformative practices that exist under the rubric of Hindu practices of interiority and reflection. With key insights on forms and functions of the contemplative experience along with their theologies and philosophies, the volume suggests new hermeneutical directions that will advance the field of contemplative studies. This book will be useful to scholars and researchers of religious and theological studies, contemplative studies, Hindu studies, consciousness studies, yoga studies, Indian philosophy and religion, sociology of religion, philosophy of religion, comparative religion, and South Asian studies, as also general readers interested in the topic.
With historical-critical analysis and dialogical even-handedness, the essays of this book re-assess the life and legacy of Swami Vivekananda, forged at a time of colonial suppression, from the vantage point of socially-engaged religion at a time of global dislocations and international inequities. Due to the complexity of Vivekananda as a historical figure on the cusp of late modernity with its vast transformations, few works offer a contemporary, multi-vocal, nuanced, academic examination of his liberative vision and legacy in the way that this volume does. It brings together North American, European, British, and Indian scholars associated with a broad array of humanistic disciplines towards critical-constructive, contextually-sensitive reflections on one of the most important thinkers and theologians of the modern era.
An anthology of primary texts on meditation and contemplative prayer from a wide range of religious traditions. This is the first theoretically informed and historically accurate comparative anthology of primary texts on meditation and contemplative prayer. Written by international experts on the respective texts and corresponding traditions, Contemplative Literature provides introductions to and primary sources on contemplative practice from various religious traditions. The contributors explore classical Daoist apophatic meditation, Quaker silent prayer, Jewish Kabbalah, Southern Buddhist meditation, Sufi contemplation, Eastern Orthodox prayer, Pure Land Buddhist visualization, Hindu classical Yoga, Dominican Catholic prayer, Daoist internal alchemy, and modern therapeutic meditation. Each introduction to a contemplative text discusses its historical context, the associated religious tradition and literature, the method of contemplative practice, and the text’s legacy and influence. Volume editor Louis Komjathy opens the work with a thoughtful consideration of interpretive issues in the emerging interdisciplinary field of contemplative studies. Readers will gain not only a nuanced understanding of important works of contemplative literature, but also resources for understanding contemplative practice and contemplative experience from a comparative and cross-cultural perspective. “We have not seen anything this bold and this global since Friedrich Heiler wrote his classic study on the typology of prayer over eighty years ago. Komjathy and his essayists have vastly expanded the scope, depth, and sophistication of this project here. In the process, they have struggled with all of the critical questions around religious pluralism, tradition, and religious authority, and have emboldened the comparative project itself. Contemplation and comparison, it turns out, go very well together.” — Jeffrey J. Kripal, author of Comparing Religions: Coming to Terms “Teachers and scholars, undergraduate and graduate students, and general readers interested in contemplative practice will cherish a book like this. I’m happy that Louis Komjathy has done this great work. It will undoubtedly be hailed as a milestone.” — Ruben L. F. Habito, author of Healing Breath: Zen for Christians and Buddhists in a Wounded World
India Has A Rich And Unique Cultural Heritage, And Has Managed To Preserve Its Established Traditions Throughout History. It Has Always Absorbed Customs, Traditions And Ideas From Both Invaders And Immigrants. Many Cultural Practicess, Languages, Customs And Even Monuments Are Examples Of This Co-Mingling Over Centuries.
This Work Surveys The State Of Hindu Studies Over The Ages By Studying The History Of Hinduism. Critically Analyzing The Literature That Emerged During Various Periods It Focuses Especially On The Hindu-Muslim Encounter At Political, Religious And Mythic Levels. It Also Analyses The Concept Of Conversion And Secularism In India And Deals With The Origin Of Hindu Fundamentalism In Hindu Society.
Contemplative experience is central to Hindu yoga traditions, Buddhist meditation practices, and Catholic mystical theology, and, despite doctrinal differences, it expresses itself in suggestively similar meditative landmarks in each of these three meditative systems. In Yoga, Meditation and Mysticism, Kenneth Rose shifts the dominant focus of contemporary religious studies away from tradition-specific studies of individual religious traditions, communities, and practices to examine the 'contemplative universals' that arise globally in meditative experience. Through a comparative exploration of the itineraries detailed in the contemplative manuals of Theravada Buddhism, Patañjalian Yoga, and Catholic mystical theology, Rose identifies in each tradition a moment of sharply focused awareness that marks the threshold between immersion in mundane consciousness and contemplative insight. As concentration deepens, the meditator steps through this threshold onto a globally shared contemplative itinerary, which leads through a series of virtually identical stages to mental stillness and insight. Rose argues that these contemplative universals, familiar to experienced contemplatives in multiple traditions, point to a common spiritual, mental, and biological heritage. Pioneering the exploration of contemplative practice and experience with a comparative perspective that ranges over multiple religious traditions, religious studies, philosophy, neuroscience, and the cognitive science of religion, this book is a landmark contribution to the fields of contemplative practice and religious studies.