A Complex body of religious practices that spread throughout the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions; a form of spirituality that seemingly combines sexuality, sensual pleasure, and the full range of physical experience with the religious life-Tantra has played a central yet conflicted role in the Western imagination ever since the first "discovery" of Indian religions by European scholars. Always radical, always extremely other, Tantra has proved to be a key factor in the imagining of India. This book offers a critical account of how the phenomenon came to be.
Tracing the complex genealogy of Tantra as a category within the history of religions, Hugh B. Urban reveals how it has been formed through the interply of popular and scholarly imaginations. tantra emerges as a product of mirroring and misrepresentation at work between East and West-a dialectical category born of the ongoing play between Western and Indian minds. Embracing historical detail, textual analysis, popular cultural phenomena, and critical theory, this book shows Tantra as a shifting amalgam of factasies, fears, and wish fulfilment, at once native and other, that strikes at the very heart of our constructions of the exotic Orient and the contemporary West.
"A powerful book demonstrating how the Western study of Hinduism, Indian religious texts, and American popular culture have become related to one another in exceptionally intimate and creative ways. Urban refuses to narrate yet another postcolonial narra
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