166 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Indian Religions with their New Books
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New Books in Indian Religions Marshall Poe

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 3.6 • 12 Ratings

Interviews with Scholars of Indian Religions with their New Books
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    Chitgopekar Nilima, "The Reluctant Family Man: Shiva in Everyday Life" (Penguin, 2019)

    Chitgopekar Nilima, "The Reluctant Family Man: Shiva in Everyday Life" (Penguin, 2019)

    He's the destroyer of evil, the pervasive one in whom all things lie. He is brilliant, terrifying, wild and beneficent. He is both an ascetic and a householder, both a yogi and a guru. He encompasses the masculine and the feminine, the powerful and the graceful, the Tandava and the Laasya, the darkness and the light, the divine and the human. What can we learn from this bundle of contradictions, this dreadlocked yogi? How does he manage the devotions and duties of father, husband and man of the house, and the demands and supplications of a clamorous cosmos? In The Reluctant Family Man (Penguin, 2019), Nilima Chitgopekar uses the life and personality of Shiva-his self-awareness, his marriage, his balance, his detachment, his contentment-to derive lessons that readers can practically apply to their own lives. With chapters broken down into distinct frames of analysis, she defines concepts of Shaivism and interprets their application in everyday life.
    Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com.
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    • 37 min
    Frank Clooney on “The Scholar-Practitioner”

    Frank Clooney on “The Scholar-Practitioner”

    To what extent should scholarship foreground the beliefs and experiences of the scholar producing it? Where does the scholar-practitioners fit at the academy today? Join us as we explore such issues in conversation with Dr. Francis Clooney, Jesuit Priest and Harvard Professor of Comparative Theology, specializing in Catholic and Hindu traditions.
    Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com.
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    • 48 min
    Jon Keune, "Shared Devotion, Shared Food: Equality and the Bhakti-Caste Question in Western India" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    Jon Keune, "Shared Devotion, Shared Food: Equality and the Bhakti-Caste Question in Western India" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    Jon Keune's book Shared Devotion, Shared Food: Equality and the Bhakti-Caste Question in Western India (Oxford UP, 2021) is about the deceptively simple question: when Hindu devotional or bhakti traditions welcomed marginalized people-women, low castes, and Dalits-were they promoting social equality? This the modern formulation of the bhakti-caste question. It is what Dalit leader B. R. Ambedkar had in mind when he concluded that the saints promoted spiritual equality but did not transform society. While taking Ambedkar's judgment seriously, when viewed in the context of intellectual history and social practice, the bhakti-caste question is more complex. 
    This book dives deeply in Marathi sources to explore how one tradition in western India worked out the relationship between bhakti and caste on its own terms. Food and eating together were central to this. As stories about saints and food changed while moving across manuscripts, theatrical plays, and films, the bhakti-caste relationship went from being a strategically ambiguous riddle to a question that expected-and received-answers. Shared Devotion, Shared Food demonstrates the value of critical commensality to understand how people carefully negotiate their ethical ideals with social practices. Food's capacity to symbolize many things made it made an ideal site for debating bhakti's implications about caste differences. In the Vārkarītradition, strategically deployed ambiguity and the resonating of stories across media over time developed an ideology of inclusive difference-not social equality in the modern sense, but an alternative holistic view of society.
    Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com.
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    • 51 min
    Karen G. Ruffle, "Everyday Shi'ism in South Asia" (John Wiley & Sons, 2021)

    Karen G. Ruffle, "Everyday Shi'ism in South Asia" (John Wiley & Sons, 2021)

    Karen Ruffle's Everyday Shi'ism in South Asia (John Wiley & Sons, 2021) is an introduction to the everyday life and cultural memory of Shi’i women and men, focusing on the religious worlds of both individuals and communities at particular historical moments and places in the Indian subcontinent. Ruffle draws upon an array primary sources, images, and ethnographic data to present topical case studies offering broad snapshots Shi'i life as well as microscopic analyses of ritual practices, material objects, architectural and artistic forms, and more. 
    Focusing exclusively on South Asian Shi'ism, an area mostly ignored by contemporary scholars who focus on the Arab lands of Iran and Iraq, the author shifts readers' analytical focus from the center of Islam to its periphery. Ruffle provides new perspectives on the diverse ways that the Shi'a intersect with not only South Asian religious culture and history, but also the wider Islamic humanistic tradition. 
    Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com.
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    • 52 min
    Arti Dhand on The Mahābhārata

    Arti Dhand on The Mahābhārata

    What does the Mahābhārata – a gargantuan epic tale from ancient India – have the teach about life wisdom? Learn three core themes of the ancient Sanskrit epic – along with a story of one of its most compelling female characters – from Dr. Arti Dhand, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto and host of The Mahābhārata Podcast.
    Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com.
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    • 53 min
    Michael D. Nichols, "Religion and Myth in the Marvel Cinematic Universe" (McFarland, 2021)

    Michael D. Nichols, "Religion and Myth in the Marvel Cinematic Universe" (McFarland, 2021)

    Breaking box office records, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has achieved an unparalleled level of success with fans across the world, raising the films to a higher level of narrative: myth. Michael D. Nichols's Religion and Myth in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (McFarland, 2021) is first book to analyze the Marvel output as modern myth, comparing it to epics, symbols, rituals, and stories from world religious traditions.
    Nichols places the exploits of Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther, and the other stars of the Marvel films alongside the legends of Achilles, Gilgamesh, Arjuna, the Buddha, and many others. It examines their origin stories and rites of passage, the monsters, shadow-selves, and familial conflicts they contend with, and the symbols of death and the battle against it that stalk them at every turn. The films deal with timeless human dilemmas and questions, evoking an enduring sense of adventure and wonder common across world mythic traditions.
    Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com.
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    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

Kata R ,

Jennifer B. Saunders Is Ear Grating

I only listened to one episode before I unsubscribed. Jennifer B. Saunders has the most broken speech I’ve ever heard for someone qualified and educated. She says um like every other word, come on. Speak better, your voice is so slow, and the “um”s need to stop.

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