Cultural Studies (132)

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    A compilation of seminar papers by Indian and foreign experts brings alive ancient Indian developments in science, technology and medicine. The book presents Vedic quest in science and metaphysics with a special emphasis on ancient science and contemporary ideas.

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    Science and Technology in Ancient Indian Texts by: Bal Ram Singh, Girish Nath Jha, Umesh Kumar Singh, Diwakar Mishra, 500.00 450.00

    The volume comprises seminar presentations by experts from India and abroad involved in the study of development of the natural sciences in ancient India. It offers eighteen papers from the seminar that showcase and project the Vedic literature as a treasure trove of vast knowledge that covers various branches of learning. The papers in particular discuss the ancient developments in science and technology: logic, mechanics in Sanskrit literature, Indian mathematics and its application in the Vedas, besides production technology and mechanical engineering, environmental science and roots, applicative wonders and scientific validation of Ayurveda. They involve a deep study of the Vedic understanding and description of sound and speech as para, pashyanti, madhyama and vaikhari. They also deal with the Indian perspective on the spirit and some mahakavyas of Indian philosophy. They scrutinise various theories on matter, causation, metals, dreams and motion, according to the Vaisheshika philosophy and underline the relevance of ancient knowledge to the contemporary world, especially in relation to the Vedic physics, environmental science and Ayurveda. They reiterate in unison the scientific vision of the ancient sages who held the keen eye of a poet-artist even while bringing to light modern and advanced ideas. The papers include references to various commentaries and studies on scientific and mathematical treatises, like Katyayana’s Shulbasutra and Vaimanikashastra of Bharadvaja.
    The book will interest Indologists, particularly concerned with the study of ancient science, technology and mathematics, as they evolved in ancient India.

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    The Atharvaveda delineates the life of the common man in ancient Indian village community. The book focuses on farming and cattle breeding, crafts, religion, daily preoccupations and fashions, role of women and their problems, etc.

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    Society in the Atharvaveda by: B.S. Kharade 225.00 203.00

    Of the Vedas the Atharvaveda, the Veda of the masses, is unique. Unlike the Rig, Sama and Yajur Vedas, the Atharvaveda delineates the life of the common man in the ancient Indian village community — the village farmer, craftsman and others who formed the core of the agriculturist society of the time. Modern scholarship has focused much on the vedatrayi but little has been written on the Atharvaveda. Society in the Atharvaveda not only attempts to address the dearth of scholarly studies on the Atharvaveda but it is also perhaps, in recent years, the first ever study of the Atharvaveda from the point of view of the common people. The Atharvavedic verses throw light upon a wide range of themes and all these are discussed here: topics from farming and cattle breeding, village crafts, religion, daily preoccupations and fashions of the people, role of women and their problems in day-to-day life, crime and degenerative practices like adultery and gambling, to trade and travel means and routes, loan facility, taxation, political administration and man’s response to his environment. The author traces this Veda as the source of many traditional folk songs that are sung even today by the common man at work in the villages. This systematic survey dispels the widespread notion that the Atharvaveda is subordinate to the vedatrayi; rather the author shows that it occupies an unrivalled importance in Vedic literature largely owing to its preoccupation with the life of the people at large. The book abounds with Atharvavedic verses; a number of verses are cited to bring out each and every aspect of common life and living. With meaningful appendices, this scholarly work would provide interesting and useful research and reference material to Vedic scholars especially those keen on studying the ‘Veda of the masses’ in a fresh perspective.

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    Socio-Literary and Cultural Study of Indian Society by: Indra Nath Choudhuri 1,500.00 1,350.00

    The Socio-Literary and Cultural Study of Indian Society from Ancient to Modern is a search for India’s heritage: Hindu, Sufi and about Nationalism and India’s freedom from her colonial past. It is analytical but not learnedness. The author believes as Iqbal, the famous Urdu poet, said: “Transcend your reason because though it is a glow, it is not your destination; it can only be the path to the destination show.” People, both Indian and foreign, who want to understand Indian heritage from Ancient to Modern in a simple, agreeable style and friendly manner, is the author’s destination. In this volume, he has tried to demolish many myths like dharma is religion, Vedas are Śruti though the Almighty ordered six ṛṣis to write them down. A Hindu is just not emotional in mind, he also believes in analytic discussion (tarka). Upaniṣads are not just created by ṛṣis but also by a revolution unfolded by the students by barraging questions after questions.By explaining about the vitality of India and many other subjects, the book elucidates many things about the idea of India in an authentic manner. The readers will find here many varieties of theological explication, ultimately leading to the celebration of life while searching for the divine and realizing the self.

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    This book is notable as an encyclopaedic record of literary, socio-political, religious and philosophical data that throws light on the cultural history of the Deccan in early medieval India. It discusses Somadeva, his age and gives a synopsis of Yashastilaka, throws light on Jaina dogmatics, religious poetry, moral and religious stories and myths and legends.

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    Somadeva’s Yashastilaka by: Krishna Kanta Handique 1,200.00 1,080.00

    Yashastilaka by Somadeva, composed in ce 959, is a Jaina religious romance written in Sanskrit prose and verse. It is notable as an encyclopaedic record of literary, socio-political, religious and philosophical data that throws light on the cultural history of the Deccan in early medieval India. This volume presents a critical study of the work, providing a comprehensive picture of the life and thought of the time of Somadeva. It begins with a discussion on Somadeva and his age and gives a synopsis of Yashastilaka. it examines the Yashastilaka as a prose and a religious romance, a socio-political record and as an anthology of Sanskrit verse. The book discusses various philosophical doctrines in Indian thought. With many detailed references and footnotes, it reveals the Yashastilaka as a work that expounds the cardinal teachings of Jainism. It throws light on Jaina dogmatics, religious poetry, moral and religious stories, and myths and legends in the process of examining the work. The volume also has supplementary notes incorporating the results of studies on Somadeva’s relations with the Vemulavada Calukyas and the locality in which he wrote his masterpiece.

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    This book is the first attempt at a systematic cultural-anthropological study of the stonemill tradition — the grinding of the peasant women who singing for ages on their hand-mills have articulated tradition in their work-songs.

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    Stonemill and Bhakti by: Guy Joseph Poitevin, Hema Rairkar, 750.00 675.00

    Tangible patrimony usually attracts attention and efforts of preservation. Intangible cultural traditions do often go with the winds of history when their social and material setting disappears. Such is the case with the songs that women in India, while grinding before dawn, have kept singing for ages on their hand-mill. Aside from the male society, they hoarded up for themselves a non-material matrimony. Today, though, motor driven flour-mills have put to rest these voices of silence, their legacy remains with them: immense and immemorial, purely feminine and oral, anonymous and personal, collective and intimate. Words from the heart, they glitter like flames in the domestic hearth. This book is the first attempt of systematic cultural-anthropological study of that unique tradition. It offers keys to apprehend it. Why should this tradition, first of all, originate from a shared compulsion to “open up one’s heart”? This differentiates the women singers’ intentionality from the didactic treatment of pundits and sants who make grinding and grindmill the allegory of an advaitic bhakti. For women — Lakshmis dedicated to serve the Fortune of their family and its lineage — life in plenty is their raison d’etre. When preachers and swamis advocate a holy insensibility to earthly things and fellow human beings, the work of grinding — epitome of woman’s office — carries worldly utopias of abundance and reveals a quest for salvation through bonds of affective attachment. Eventually, the study raises radical questions on such crucial concepts as those of bhakti, tradition, the status of popular traditions versus elaborate constructs of literati. The symbolism of the stonemill in religious Marathi literature is constrasted with the experience of grinding of peasant women as the latter articulated it in their work-songs. What is sought is an epistemological insight into the cognitive processes which result in the dialectic blend of affinity and glaring inconsistency that one observes between those two levels of cultural creativity.

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    The work offers an in-depth study of the sautramani Vedic sacrifice in its caraka and kaukili forms. It shows how the brahmanas compare it with a soma sacrifice, and how sautramani itself has evolved over time.

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    Sura by: Madhavi Bhaskar Kolhatkar 280.00 252.00

    Associated with wrath, gambling and, at the symbolic level, with darkness and misery, sura has been strongly condemned in Vedic literature. Yet, paradoxically, it has not just found its way into a Vedic sacrifice itself: called sautramani, but has even been sanctified in the rajasuya and punarabhisheka rituals as well. However, it is sautramani’s sacrificial fire alone to take in liquor as an oblation material. Dr. Madhavi Kolhatkar here offers an indepth study of this sura-related Vedic ritual: of both its caraka and kaukili forms, together with all their attendant details. The book explores the possible origin and nature of sautramani sacrifice, addressing itself to a range of the hitherto-unanswered questions, for instance; How did sura come to have its acceptance in a shrauta ritual (like sautramani), despite its outright disapproval in the Vedic texts? Why is the sautramani performed after rajasuya? Is there any linkage between sautramani and punarabhisheka — which both happen to involve the sura-ritual? How is, then, sautramani related to the agnicayana? And, what is the underlying importance of the myths that tell about the primeval performance of the sautramani? In spelling out the social, medicinal and ritualistic significance of sautramani, the author also shows how the Brahmanas often compare it with a soma sacrifice, and how sautramani itself has evolved over the time. In the context of this Vedic ritual, she also highlights the hierarchic contentions between the brahmanas and the kshatriyas in the ancient Indian society. It is a piece of valuable research for Indologists, especially the scholars of Sanskrit, Vedic studies and ancient Indian history and culture.

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    This is a cultural-anthropological study exploring those hedonistic aspects of the pan-Indian heritage which affirm that the pleasurable, especially the sexually pleasurable, is natural as a means to achieve the highest mystical experience.

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    Tantra by: Prem Saran 240.00 216.00

    This is a brilliant cultural-anthropological study exploring those hedonistic aspects of the pan-Indian heritage which, represented by centuries of the non-Vedic, Tantric tradition, affirm that the pleasurable, especially the sexually pleasurable, is natural as a means to achieve the highest mystical experience. Himself a Tantric initiate, Prem Saran offers a compelling, sympathetic analysis of Tantrism, its place in the Bengali and Assamese cultures, and its pervasiveness in pan-Indian thought and ritual generally. Prem Saran’s is also a cultural critique of modern Indian values and life-ways. In addition, it is an exercise in methodology, employing certain anthropological tools and concepts like “Cultural Debate,” “Cultural Criticism,” “Hindu Renaissance” and “Pizza-effect” — the last three having been developed by the late Professor Agehananda Bharati whom the author acknowledges as a “constant source of encouragement” during the last decade.

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    This volume presents an in-depth study of a distinct temple ritual cult of Kerala, a tradition deeply rooted within the Vedic ritualistic fold and characterized by Smarta-Pauranika beliefs and customs, which still remains to be a less explored subject, and its present institutionalized structure.

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    Tantric Rituals of Kerala Temples by: Ajithan P.I. 1,300.00 1,170.00

    Kerala Tantra is a regional phenomenon, which is an offshoot or synthesis of Saiddhantika and Pancaratra tantric ritual rites. It is a tradition deeply rooted within the Vedic ritualistic fold and characterized by Smarta-Pauranika beliefs and customs.
    This volume is a general, but a serious and in-depth study of distinct temple ritual cult of Kerala. Kerala Tantra still remains to be a less explored subject. There is no exclusive study on the ritual peculiarities of Kerala Tantra. This book focuses on filling that gap covering extensively the prominent characteristics of the unique ritual cult of Kerala.
    The data presented in the book are based on many unpublished and less-known, but authentic manuscripts of late medieval period, and interviews with previous and current generations of tantrins and their testimonies. It covers the great traditions of Tantra, Kerala Tantra, and transmission of tantric knowledge through formal and informal methods. It also talks about the institutionalization of Tantric education, taking a cue from the context of Vedic and Sanskrit education of Kerala.

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    This volume, seventh in the series, consists of twelve papers — eleven in English and one in Hindi — presented by scholars of high repute in different Tattvabodha lectures organized by the National Mission for Manuscripts, presenting varied topics across Indian knowledge system.

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    Tattvabodha VII by: Pratapanand Jha 450.00 405.00

    The National Mission for Manuscripts was established in February 2003 by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India with the purpose of locating, documenting, preserving and disseminating the knowledge content of India’s handwritten manuscripts, said to be the largest collection of handwritten knowledge documents in the world. While looking ahead to reconnect with the knowledge of the past, the Mission is in the process of trying to re-contextualize the knowledge contained in manuscripts for the present and the future generations.
    The Mission launched a lecture series titled “Tattvabodha” in January 2005. Since then, a monthly lecture series is organized in Delhi and other academic centres all over the country. Tattvabodha has established itself as a forum for intellectual discourse, debate and discussion. Eminent scholars representing different aspects of India’s knowledge systems have addressed and interacted with highly receptive audiences over the course of the past few years.
    This volume, seventh in the series, consists of twelve papers Þ eleven in English and one in Hindi — presented by well-known and upcoming scholars in different Tattvabodha lectures organized by the Mission.
    The volume finds its merit in varied subjects across Indian knowledge system such as Accessing Manuscripts in the Digital Age; Physics in Ancient Indian Knowledge System; Critical and Comparative Review of the Principal Upanishads; The Concept of Shiva in Shiva-rahasya; The Ramacaritam of Ciraman; Editing of Ayurvedic Manuscripts; The Dravyanamakara Nighantu; Tribal Heritage and Indigenous Philosophical Wisdom of Odisha; Glimpses of Archival Manuscripts; Gandhari: A Key Mother Figure of the Mahabharata; Depiction of Indian Culture in Sanskrit Inscriptions of Cambodia; Phasi Katha-Parampara aura Arabyayamini.
    The introductions, interpretations, explanations and analyses involved herein should solicit keen interest among academicians, scholars and students of Indology.

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    In this volume — the first English-language publication on the subject — the author describes the various indigenous musical instruments which support rituals and performances within and outside the temples of Kerala. Illustrations of each instrument, accompany the text, with information on its dimensions, construction, playing techniques, methods of training and music.

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    Temple Musical Instruments of Kerala by: L.S. Rajagopalan 400.00 360.00

    The performing arts of Kerala — Kathakali, Kutiyattam, Mohiniattam, and other forms of dance and drama — occupy a vital space in India’s creative imagination. All these performances move to a music that is supported by Kerala’s indigenous musical instruments — a variety of drums and clappers, as well as a smaller number of pipes and strings.
    Quite a few of these instruments are also found associated with rituals and festivities in the temples of Kerala: the Itakka, Chenta, Timila, Milavu, Suddha Maddalam — all membranophones; the aerophones Kurum Kulal and Kompu Vadyam; and Ilattalam, an idiophone. Notes on these instruments by a devoted student of the performing arts of Kerala are put together in this small volume — the first English-language publication on the subject. Illustrations of each instrument accompany the texts.
    The author brings to his task the benefit of an intimate knowledge of each instrument, acquired through years of fieldwork, as well as an erudition born of his immersion in literary classics in Tamil, Malayalam and Sanskrit. The pieces here are a source too of the folklore associated with Kerala’s musical instruments. The chief strength of the book, however, lies in the precise information it provides on each instrument — its dimensions, materials, construction, playing techniques, methods of training, and, not least, its music.
    Apart from musicians and musicologists, this book would interest students of Kerala’s folklore and anthropology, as well as general readers with a special interest in the arts and culture of Kerala.

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    The Journey of Advaita elucidates the richness, depth and profundity of Advaitic thought right from the Vedas to the Integral Advaitism of Sri Aurobindo, and further how it is being incorporated in modern science. In its long journey, it found its blossom in Shankara’s Kevaladvaita, and in its further growth, Bhakti-Vedanta played an important role through Ramanuja, Madhva, Nimbarka and Vallabha.

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    The Journey of Advaita by: Priti Sinha 1,200.00 1,080.00

    The Journey of Advaita elucidates the richness, depth and profundity of Advaitic thought right from Vedas to Integral Advaitism of Sri Aurobindo and further how it is being incorporated in modern science.
    Advaita Philosophy is not a later development of thought as one of the six systems of Indian philosophy. Vedas are replete with suggestions about Unity. The earlier stage of naturalistic and anthropomorphic polytheism yielded to monistic belief. In the dictum, ekam sad vipra bahudha vadanti we perceive an echo of Unity. Upanishadic seers picked up this Unity and tirelessly went in their search till they came to the highest conclusion, tat tvam asi.
    This concept of Unity gets its full bloom in Shankara’s Kevaladvaita; later on it gave inspiration to different rivulets of Vedanta schools. Shankara’s unqualified impersonal Brahman could not satisfy those who sought loving communion with God. Consequently different schools of Bhakti-Vedanta came into existence, namely, Vishishtadvaita of Ramanuja, Dvaita of Madhva, Dvaitadvaita of Nimbarka and Shuddhadvaita of Vallabha. For all of them the emphasis is on the liberation of individual soul only, which gave way to Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Advaitism where the emphasis is not only on spiritualization of man but of the whole cosmos.
    The journey continues further with modern physics. Consciousness is the building block of the Universe and the ground of all beings, which can’t be found in plural.

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    It shows how reality is generated in a recursive fashion and uses this insight to illuminate many puzzles of history and culture. The book straddles history and science, aesthetics and religion, and politics and power, by juxtaposing material in ways that provide surprising new insights.

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    The Loom of Time by: Subhash Kak 580.00 522.00

    The Loom of Time shows how reality is generated in a recursive fashion and uses this insight to illuminate many puzzles of history and culture. Recursion is at basis of mimicry in nature and germination and development of biological organisms; it also provides structure to mental images of physical systems and human behavior. It helps us make sense of the repeating patterns across cultures and nations, understand the manner in which technology is impacting society, and see the reasons behind the crises of the contemporary world.
    The topics covered in this book include philosophical bases of recursion, cosmologies old and new, religion and modernity, globalization and bureaucratic control, loss of meaning and freedom, spirituality, narcissism leading to despair, and limits of medicine. It deals with problems of employment and questions of meaning of life when robots and other machines become more numerous than humans. The book straddles history and science, aesthetics and religion, and politics and power, by juxtaposing material in ways that provide surprising new insights.

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