Contemplative Studies and Hinduism: Meditation, Devotion, Prayer, and Worship

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Rita D. Sherma, Purushottama Bilimoria
Taylor & Francis, Oct 5, 2020 - Religion - 228 pages
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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 Pata˝jali 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 a 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 well as general readers interested in the topic.

 

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Contents

Acknowledgements
a Śākta model of esoteric sādhanā of the Śrīcakra
Why meditate on God? The role of Īśvarapraṇidhāna in the classical Sāṃkhya
Sri Chinmoy on the nature and goals of contemplative practice
The role of sādhanā in Advaita Vedānta
Semiotics and illocution in Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sādhanā
Prayer and worship in the ascetics of the Ramananda Sampraday
Māntric effect effervescent Devatās noetic supplications and Apūrva in
Prayer and worship through music and liturgy in North Indian Vaiṣṇava traditions
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About the author (2020)

Rita D. Sherma is Director and Associate Professor at the Shingal Center for Dharma Studies, Chair of the Department of Theology and Ethics, and Core Doctoral Faculty, at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California, USA. She is founding Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Dharma Studies.

Purushottama Bilimoria is a Distinguished Research Fellow in Indian Philosophy with the Center for Dharma Studies, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley; Visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley; and Principal Fellow in the School of Historical and Philosophical and the Australia India Institute at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He serves as Editor-in-Chief of Sophia: International Journal of Philosophy and Traditions and is also co-editor of Journal of Dharma Studies.

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