July 29, 2022 - August 01, 2022
The theme of the symposium is “Embodiment,” but we are particularly interested in accounts of the subtle body, and other extra-ordinary or super-normal embodied possibilities.
The symposium is a collaboration between the Harvard Divinity School Center for the Study of World Religions' new initiative, Transcendence and Transformation, Wonderstruck, and Five Books. We hope to bring together members of the T&T initiative and other experts on extraordinary embodiment for a three-day gathering in a beautiful setting.
August 12, 2022 - August 15, 2022
What is the relevance and significance of the maṇḍala (“circle”)? In this workshop series we aim to individually and collectively understand maṇḍalas and related sacred shapes and their importance in Tantric traditions. We will also show how the geography of Esalen could be perceived as a sacred landscape or maṇḍala. Our focus here will be on the historical development of the maṇḍala and its connecting link between the internal and external worlds.
32. Sravana Borkataky-Varma | Hijrās, Women, and Gender in Śākta Tantra
In this episode we welcome back to the Podcast, Sravana Borkataky-Varma. We catch up on her latest book projects, research, and teaching at Harvard Divinity School. We discuss the categories of so-called Classical Tantra vs. Neo Tantra, and some of the nuances of the scholar-practitioner. We discuss gender and transgender, particularly within the hijrā communities, and the recently formed Kinnar Akhara. We then preview the upcoming course, YS 120 | Women and Gender in Hindu Tantra—detailing its four modules: Sacred Transgender Identities, Temple Wives, Guru Mothers, and Superwomen Gurus.
8. Sravana Borkataky-Varma | Śākta Tantra, Female Practitioners, and Misperceptions of Tantra
In this episode, we speak with Dr. Sravana Borkataky-Varma about her experience growing up in India, receiving initiation into a Śākta tantra lineage at Kāmākhya, discovering Religious Studies and the academic path, her doctoral research, the role of female practitioners, tantric sexual rites, being censored by Facebook, online pūjā services, and much more.
This online course surveys the rich tapestry of Goddesses within the Hindu Śākta traditions—and uniquely explores their living relationship to the practices of Yoga.
This robust three-part workshop series explores the meaning and relevance of the term Tantra, the types of authority and authenticity debates that shape the global-digital world of Śākta Tantra, and the relevance of additional terms such as Goddesses, Initiate, and Adept. Part 1 seeks to define Tantra, specifically.
This robust three-part workshop series explores the meaning and relevance of the term Tantra, the types of authority and authenticity debates that shape the global-digital world of Śākta Tantra, and the relevance of additional terms such as Goddesses, Initiate, and Adept. Part 2 analyzes the status of women and the third gender in the world of Hindu Śākta Tantra.
This lecture focused on the Hindu view of life from the margins. While the “Hindu margin” is a fairly large heterogeneous group, this lecture laid the lens on the third gender, Kinnars (pejorative term hijṛā) and spiritual partners, categorized as “consorts.” Both these groups were discussed within the ritual praxis of “lived religions,” within the larger world of Śākta Tantra (Goddess esoteric traditions).
For the first time in Esalen's history, Tantra will be offered from its roots, 1500-year old history, and cultural context. Co-leading a series of workshops in 2022 is Sravana Borkataky-Varma, lecturer for Harvard Divinity School and founder of Lumen Tree Portal.
Dr. Sravana Borkataky, Lecturer, Harvard University & University of North Carolina-Wilmington speaks on Hybrid Hinduism: Study of Hindu Traditions from Alternate Lenses