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Bettina Bäumer

Nationality: Austrian

Gender: female

Date Of Brith: 12/04/1940

Present Position: Director, Samvidulaya, Abhinavagupta Research Library

Awards Received:

Fellowship, Harvard University (1994)
Honorary Doctorate, University of Salzburg.
Fellow, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla.

Academic & Professional Qualifications:

Bachelor Matura Salzburg 1959
Master M.A. in Philosophy, Religion, Indology (Sanskrit), Theology and Music Universities of Salzburg, Wien, Zurich, Rome and Munich (Germany) 1959-67
Ph.D Ph.D. in Philosophy University of Munich 1967
Others Post-doctoral research in Indian Philosophy and Sanskrit Banaras Hindu University 1967-71
  “Habilitation” (Qualification for Professorship) University of Vienna 1997


Position(s) Held:

1 Lecturer in German, Banaras Hindu University 1972 1974
2 Assistant and Lecturer in Sanskrit, Institute of Indology 1975 1979
3 Research Director, Alice Boner Foundation for Research Principles in Indian Art, Varanasi 1979 2000
4 Member of the “Equipe de recherche” (research group) on Hinduism under the direction of Andre Padoux, at the CNRS, Paris 1982 1990
5 Visiting Lecturer in German, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, Varanasi 1985 1987
6 Senior Research Fellow, Centre for the Study of World Religions 1994  
7 Visiting Professor at the University of Frankfurt 1986  
8 Honorary Coordinator, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts 1986 1995
9 Visiting Professor and Head of the Dept. of Religious Studies 1997 1999
10 Visiting Professor, University of Salzburg 2000 2004
11 Visiting Professor, Indian Institute of Advanced Study 2003  
12 Coordinator, Orissa Research Project 2000 2002
13 President of the “Abhishiktananda Society”, reg. in Delhi 1988 2007
14 Fellow, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla 2004 2007
15 Advisor, Monastic Interreligious Dialogue 2008  
16 Fellow, The Medlycott Foundation, St. Thomas College 2007 2008
17 Visiting Professor, Universities of Vienna and Salzburg 2009  


About the Author

Dr Bettina Bäumer, born in Austria, living and working in India (Varanasi) since 1967, is a scholar of  Sanskrit, Indian philosophy and art with specialization in Shilpashastra and temple  architecture of Orissa and above all in Kashmir Shaivism. She has been Director of a research institute on Indian art in Varanasi and coordinator of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Varanasi. Since 1995, she is regularly teaching as visiting Professor at the universities of Vienna, Berne and Salzburg. Her present position is Fellow, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. She has authored five books in German and a number of books and scholarly articles in Sanskrit and English, including three volumes of Kalatattvakosha: A Lexicon of Fundamental Concepts of the Indian Arts edited by her. She became a disciple of Swami Lakshman Joo in 1986 and has been teaching Kashmir Shaivism and its texts for a number of years.

Details of Books/Monographs

1 The Concept of lila, its Philosophical and Theological Significance   1969
2 Yogasutras of Patanjali   1979
3 Rupa Pratirupa Biblia Impex 1982
4 Vastusutra Upanishad: The Essence of Form in Sacred Art   1982
5 Upanishads in German   1994
6 Abhinavagupta, Paratrisika Vivarana Motilal Banarasidass 1988
7 Kalatattvakosa, A Lexicon of Fundamental Concepts of the Indian Arts Vol. I IGNCA and Motilal Banarasidass 1988
8 Abhinavagupta   1992
9 Prakrti: The Agamic Tradition and the Arts IGNCA & D.K. Printworld 1994
10 Silparatnakosa, A Glossary of Orissan Temple Architecture IGNCA 1994
11 Mysticism in Saivism and Christianity D.K. Printworld 1997
12 Raimon Panikkar   2000
13 Vijnana Bhairava   2003
14 Fundamental Themes of Kashmir Shaivism   2008
15 Void and Fullness in the Buddhist, Hindu and Christian Traditions D.K. Printworld 2005
16 Silpa Prakasa IGNCA 2005
17 Samvidullasah, Menifestation of Divine Consciousness, Swami Lakshman Joo D.K. Printworld 2007
18 Konarka, Chariot of the Sun-God D.K. Printworld 2007
19 Bhima Bhoi, Verses from the Void   2010
20 The Vedic Experience, Mantramanjari   1977


Details of Articles

1. Empirical Apperception of Time: Kala and Karman, Time and History in the Indian Tradition (with R. Panikkar), in: Cultures and Time, UNESCO, Paris 1975, pp. 78-88 (also in French).
2. Die Bedeutung der Tradition im Hinduismus, in: Kairos XX, pp. 218-233.
3. Die Unvermitteltheit der hochsten Erfahrung bei Abhinavagupta, in: G. Oberhammer (ed.),Transzendenzerfahrung, Vollzugshorizont des Heils, Wien (Sammlung De Nobili) 1978, pp. 61-79.
4. Silpa-Sastra-Texte in Orissa, in: Orissa Kunst and Kultur in Nordost-Indien, ed. E. Fischer, S. Mahapatra, D. Pathy, Zurich 1980.
5. Henri Le Saux: Abhishiktananda, in: Grobe Mystiker, Leben und Wirken, ed. by G. Ruhbach and J. Sudbrack, Munchen (C.H. Beck) 1984.
6. The Divine Artist, in: The Indian Theosophist, Thakur Jaideva Singh Felicitation Number, Oct.-Nov. 1985, Vol. 82, Nos. 10-11, pp. 79-86.
7. Panjara et yantra: Le diagramme de I’image sacree, in: Mantras et diagrammes rituels dans I’hindouisme, ed. by A. Padoux, paris (C.N.R.S.) 1986.
8. Vena - A Mystical Hymn of the Atharvaveda, in: Navonmesa, MM Gopinath Kaviraj Commenoration Volume (English), Mata Anandamayee Ashram, Varanasi, 1987.
9. Purusa and the Origin of Form, in: Rupa Pratirupa (see books).
10. Duhkha und Ananda: Zwei Grundansatze hinduistuscher Lebenshaltung, in: Von der Erkenntnis des Leides, Wien (Picus) 1988, pp. 83-90.
11. Can Diverse Religious Life-Worlds be shared?, in: T.S. Rukmani (ed.), Religious Consciousness and Life-Worlds, Simla, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, 1988, pp. 129-138.
12. Einblicke in die indische Kunst: Das wissenschaftliche Werk von Alice Boner, in: Alice Boner und die Kunst Indiens, ed. by E. Fischer, G. Boner, Zurich 1982, pp. 71-91. In English: Insights into Indian Art. Alice Boner’s Scholarly Work. In: Alice Boner - Artist and Scholar, Varanasi (Bharat Kala Bhavan) 1989.
13. Unmanifest and Manifest Form according to the Saivagamas, in: A.L. Dallapiccola 9Ed.), Shastric Traditions in Indian Arts, Stuttgart (south Asia Institute, Heidelberg), 1989, pp. 339-349.
14. A Journey with the Unknown, in: Tosh Arai and Wesley Ariarajah (ed.): Spirituality in Interfaith Dialogue, WCC Publications, Geneva 1989, pp. 36-41.
15. L’image divine: sa raison d’etre et son effet selon la Vastusutra Upanishad in: L’image divine, culte et meditation dans I’hindouisme, ed. by A. Padoux, Paris (C.N.R.S.) 1990.
16. The Guru in the Hindu Tradition, in: Studies in Formative Spirituality, Vol. XI, Number 3, November 1990, pp. 341-353.
17. From Guha to Akasa: The Mystical Cave in the Vedic and Saiva Traditions, in: K. Vatsyayan (Ed.), Concepts of Space, Ancient and Modern, New Delhi (Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts and Abhinav) 1991, pp. 105-122.
18. Himmel - erde - Meer: Die Spiritualists eines Malers, in: Eduard Baumer, Monographie, Salzburg (Verlag Galerie Welz), 1992, pp. 403-423.
19. The Play of the Three Worlds: The Trika Concept of lila, in: William Sax (ed.): The Gods at Play. The Concept of lila in South Asia. New York (OUP) 1994.
20. Vac as Samvada: Dialogue in the Context of Advaita Saivagamas, Festschrift G. Oberhammer, Vienna, 1994.
21. Mudra: Its Metaphysical Basis in Kashmir Saivism, in: Art, The Integral Vision, Kapila Vatsyayan Felicitation Volume, ed. by B.N. Saraswati, S.C. Malik, Madhu Khanna, New Delhi (D.K. Printworld) 1994, pp. 111-121.
22. The Rajarani Temple Re-identified, in: India International Centre Quarterly, Spring 1994 (Utkaldhvani), pp. 124-132.
23. Lines of Fire, Lines of Water: The Elements in Silpa-Sastra, in: Prakrti: The Agamic Tradition and the Arts (see books).
24. The Relevance of Silpa/Vastusastra, in: Gandhian Perspectives, Vol. VII, No. 1, Spring 1994, pp. 23-28.
25. Sun, Consciousness and Time: The Way of Time and the Timeless in Kashmir Saivism, in K. Vatsyayan (ed.), Concepts of Time - Ancient and Modern. New Delhi (IGNCA and Sterling), 1996, pp. 73-78.
26. Panikkar’s Hermeneutic of Myth, in: J. Prabhu (Ed.): The Intercultural Challenge of Raimon Panikkar. New York (Orbis Books), 1996.
27. Aesthetics of mysticism of aesthetics? The approach of Kashmir Saivism, in: Mysticism in Saivism and Christianity (see books).
28. Universal Harmony: Samata in Kashmir Saivism, in: Universal Responsibility, HH The Dalai Lama Felicitation Volume, ed. by R.C. Tewari, Krishna Nath, New Delhi, 1995, pp. 111-119.
29. Reinkarnation und Karma in der religiosen Vorstellung des Hinduismus, in: Religionen unterwegs, Wien, Mai 1996.
30. Disharmony - The Root of Evil in Kashmir Saivism, in: A. Amaladass (Ed.). The Problem of Evil, Chennai (Satya Nilayam Publication), 1997, pp. 110-125.
31. A Few Methodological Remarks, in: K.S. behera (ed.). The Utkala Pradipa, Vol. II, No. 1, P.G. Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, 1998.
32. Yrinitat in Indien, in: Una Sancta 2/98, pp. 156-163.
33. Vayu: The Life-Breath of the World in the Hindu Tradition, in: M. Burger, P. Schreiner (eds.). The Perception of the Elements in the Hindu Tradition. Bern etc. (Peter Lang), 1999, pp. 145-158.
34. Yoga and Art: An Indian Approach, in: B.N. Goswamy (ed.), Indian Art: Forms, Concerns and Development in Historical Perspective, New Delhi (Munshiram Manoharlal), 2000, pp. 77-90.
35. Abhishiktananda and the Challenge of Hindu-Christian Experience, in: MID Bulletin “Christ of the 21st Century” Papers, No. 64, May 2000, pp. 34-41.
36. Micro-macrocosmic relationships in the Chandogya Upanishad, in: Jnana Pravaha Bulletin No. 4, 2000-2001, Varanasi, pp. 69-78.
37. Tantrik Pandits in Varanasi: A Brief Survey, in: A. Michaels (Ed.), The Pandit Traditional Scholarship in India, New Delhi (Manohar) 2001, pp. 99-103.
38. From Stone to God, in: R. Nagaswamy, Foundations of Indian Art, Chennai (Tamil Arts Academy) 2002, pp. 28-38.
39. Beauty as anandasakti in Kashmir Saivism, in: Saundarya. The Perception and Practice of Beauty in India, ed. by H.V. Dehejia and M. Paranjape. New Delhi (Samvad India Foundation) 2003.
40. Meditation on Death, in: Voice of Death, Traditional Thought and Modern Science. ed. by B.N. Saraswati, New Delhi (D.K. Printworld), Varanasi (N.K. Bose Mem. Foundation), 2005, pp. 25-35.
41. Sakti, die Dynamik des Absoluten. Aspekte der gottlichen Energie im Sivaismus von Kashmir, in: Das Geschlecht der Religion, ed. by Florian Uhl, Artur R. Boelderl, Berlin (parerga), 2005, pp. 113-123.
42. Praxis der Nicht-Dualitat. Die Spiritualitat des Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, in: Karl Baier (ed.), Handbuch Spiritualitat: Zugange, Traditionen, interreligiose Prozesse, Darmstadt (Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft) 2006, pp. 267-276.
43. The three grammatical persons and Trika, in: Indian Linguistics, Dr. Debi Prasanna Pattanayak Felicitation Volume, Vol. 67, Nos. 104, 2006, pp. 19-27.
44. Surya in a Saiva Perspective: The Sambapancasika, A Mystical Hymn of Kashmir and its Commentary by Ksemaraja: in Sahrdaya, Studies in Indian and South East Asian Art in Honour of Dr. R. Nagaswamy Ed. by B. Baumer, R.N. Misra, C. Prapandvidya, D. Handa, Chennai (Tamil Arts Academy), 2006, pp. 1-28.
45. Introduction to: Vijnana Bhairava, The Practice of Centring Awareness, Commentary by Swami Lakshman Joo, Varanasi (Indica Books) 2002, 2nd ed. 2007, pp. 13-25.
46. His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dialogue with Christian Monastics: A Model for Mutual Enrichment, in: MID Bulletin, also on the website:
47. Praxis der Nicht-Dualitat. Die Spiritualitat des Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, in: Handbuch Spiritualitat, hrg. von Karl baier, Darmstadt, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2006, pp. 267-276.
48. Can the Hindu Experience of God Enrich the European Concept of God? in: Hintersteiner, Norbert (ed.), Naming and Thinking God in Europe Today, Amsterdam/New York 2007, (Currents of Encounter - Studies on the Contact between Christianity and Other Religions, Beliefs and Cultures 32), 00. 429-437.
49. Interriligiositat und Spiritualitat, Eine Perspektive “von innen”, in: Johann Fig. 1 (ed.), Religionswissenchaft - Interdisziplinaritat und Interriligiositat, Wien (LIT) 2007, pp. 87-95.
50. Tantric Elements in Bhima Bhoi, in: Popular Religion and Ascetic Practices. New Studies on Mahima Dharma, ed. by Ishita Banerjee-Dube, Johannes Beltz, Delhi (Manohar) 2008, pp. 159-172.
51. The Three Grammatical Persons and Trika in: Linguistic Traditions of Kashmir, Edited by Mrinal Kaul & Ashok Aklujkar, New Delhi, (D.K. Printworld) 2008, pp. 206-222.
52. The Lord of the Heart: Abhinavagupta’s Aesthetics and Kashmir Saivism, in: Religion and the Arts, A Journal from Boston College, Vol. 12-1-3 (2008), Special Issue: The Interreligious Imagination, ed. by Richard Kearney, Brill, Leiden, pp. 214-229.
53. Vielfalt und Nicht-Dualitat. Zugange zum Hinduismus, in: Weltreligionen. Verstehen, Verstandigung, Verantwortung hrg. von Karl Kardinal Lehmann, Frankfurt, Verlag der Weltreligionen, 2009, pp. 157-176.
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Mysticism in Shaivism and Christianity

If mysticism is hard to define, what is it then? Or, why have mystics often spoken about what they have realized — notwithstanding the ‘unspeakability’ of a spiritual experience? And, yet more significantly, how can a meeting point of different religious traditions be discovered at the mystical level? Focussing on these and other related questions, eminent scholars from varying religious traditions here explore the nature of mystical experience in two of the world’s major traditions: Hinduism and Christianity. Neither a comparative study of religious traditions, nor an attempt to develop an overall mystical theology, the book sets out a spiritual dialogue between Shaiva and Christian mysticism: a dialogue wherein the participants articulate worldviews of the mystical traditions of Shaiva Siddhanta, Kashmir Shaivism, Meister Eckhart, Hadewijch, Julian of Norwich, St. Ignatius Loyola, and of the Eastern Christianity. And, without taking any a priori intellectual position, each author here evolves his/her own tradition-specific perspective on mysticism — letting the comparisons, if any, to surface in the dialogue itself. A spiritual dialogue, like the one this multi-author work embodies, holds a key to an insightful understanding between different people, cultures and faiths — more specially in today’s world riven, as it is, by fundamentalist forces and endless religious conflicts. The book will be a valuable acquisition for the scholars and spiritually interested readers alike.