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The Power of Tantra: Religion, Sexuality and the Politics of South Asian Studies (Hardback)

Hugh B. Urban

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ISBN 10: 1845118731 / ISBN 13: 9781845118730
Edité par I.B.Tauris Co Ltd, United Kingdom, 2009
Neuf(s) Etat : New Hardback
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Language: English . Brand New Book. In the West, the varied body of texts and traditions known as Tantra for more than two centuries has had the capacity to scandalize and shock. For European colonizers, Orientalist scholars and Christian missionaries of the Victorian era, Tantra was generally seen as the most degenerate and depraved example of the worst tendencies of the so-called Indian mind : a pathological mixture of sensuality and religion that prompted the decline of modern Hinduism. Yet for most contemporary New Age and popular writers, Tantra is celebrated as a much-needed affirmation of physical pleasure and sex: indeed as a cult of ecstasy to counter the perceived hypocritical prudery of many Westerners. In recent years, Tantra has become the focus of a still larger cultural and political debate. In the eyes of many Hindus, much of the western literature on Tantra represents a form of neo-colonialism, which continues to portray India as an exotic, erotic, hyper-sexualized Orient. Which, then, is the real Tantra? Focusing on one of the oldest and most important Tantric traditions, based in Assam, northeast India, Hugh B Urban shows that Tantra is less about optimal sexual pleasure than about harnessing the divine power of the goddess that flows alike through the cosmos, the human body and political society. In a fresh and vital contribution to the field, the author suggests that the real meaning of Tantra lies in helping us rethink not just the history of Indian religions, but also our own modern obsessions with power, sex and the invidious legacies of cultural imperialism. N° de réf. du libraire AA79781845118730

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Détails bibliographiques

Titre : The Power of Tantra: Religion, Sexuality and...

Éditeur : I.B.Tauris Co Ltd, United Kingdom

Date d'édition : 2009

Reliure : Hardback

Etat du livre :New

A propos de ce titre

Synopsis :

In the West, the varied body of texts and traditions known as Tantra for more than two centuries has had the capacity to scandalise and shock. For European colonisers, Orientalist scholars and Christian missionaries of the Victorian era, Tantra was generally seen as the most degenerate and depraved example of the worst tendencies of the so-called 'Indian mind': a pathological mixture of sensuality and religion that prompted the decline of modern Hinduism. Yet for most contemporary New Age and popular writers, Tantra is celebrated as a much-needed affirmation of physical pleasure and sex: indeed as a 'cult of ecstasy' to counter the perceived hypocritical prudery of many Westerners. In recent years, Tantra has become the focus of a still larger cultural and political debate. In the eyes of many Hindus, much of the western literature on Tantra represents a form of neo-colonialism, which continues to portray India as an exotic, erotic, hyper-sexualised Orient. Which, then, is the 'real' Tantra? Focusing on one of the oldest and most important Tantric traditions, based in Assam, northeast India, Hugh B. Urban shows that Tantra is less about optimal sexual pleasure than about harnessing the divine power of the goddess that flows alike through the cosmos, the human body and political society. In a fresh and vital contribution to the field, the author suggests that the 'real' meaning of Tantra lies in helping us rethink not just the history of Indian religions, but also our own modern obsessions with power, sex and the invidious legacies of cultural imperialism.

Critique:

'The Power of Tantra' is a major scholarly treatment of a much misconstrued esoteric tradition and a well-written and illustrated guide to a dimension of Hinduism that deserves the careful research Hugh Urban has given it. An impressive achievement.' --Paul B Courtright, Professor of Religion and Asian Studies, Emory University

'Boldly and creatively takes the arguments about Tantra in an entirely new direction.' --Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions, University of Chicago

'Once again, Hugh B. Urban has given us a sophisticated, reflexive, mind-bending study of a specific set of Tantric traditions. In the process, we are taken down what he aptly calls 'a path of desire and power' whose paradoxical energies center on the goddess, flow through the human body and its fluids, the social order, and the body politic (all at once), are unleashed through esoteric ritual practices, experienced as a source of supernatural powers, and put in the service of kingship, political rule, even ultra-moderns forms of a new embodied spirituality. Writing against and beyond all the old East-West dualisms, tired anti-intellectualisms, and easy idealizations, Urban has become one of our most able, artful, and careful guides.' --Jeffrey J Kripal, J Newton Rayzor Professor of Religious Studies, Rice University

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