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Contemplative Studies and Hinduism: Meditation, Devotion, Prayer, and Worship

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This book is one of the first wide-ranging academic surveys of the major types and categories of Hindu contemplative praxis. It explores diverse spiritual and religious practices within the Hindu traditions and Indic hermeneutical perspectives to understand the intricate culture of meditative communion and contemplation, devotion, spiritual formation, prayer, ritual, and worship. The volume extends and expands the conceptual reach of the fields of Contemplative Studies and Hindu Studies.

The chapters in the volume cover themes in Hindu contemplative experience from various texts and traditions including classical S??khya and Patañjali Yoga, the Bh?gavata Pur??a, the role of S?dhana in Advaita Ved?nta, ?r?vidy? and the ?r?cakra, the body in Tantra, the semiotics and illocution of Gau??ya Vai??ava s?dhana, mantra in M?m??s?, Vai??ava liturgy, as well as cross-cultural reflections and interreligious comparative contemplative praxis. The volume presents indigenous vocabulary and frameworks to examine categories and concerns particular to the Hindu contemplative traditions. It traces patterns that cut across Hindu traditions and systems and discusses contrasting methods of different theological/philosophical schools evincing a strong plurality in Hindu religious thought and practice. The volume provides intra-religious comparisons that reveal internal complexity, nuances, and a variety of contemplative states and transformative practices that exist under the rubric of Hindu practices of interiority and reflection.

With key insights on forms and functions of the contemplative experience along with their theologies and philosophies, the volume suggests new hermeneutical directions that will advance the field of contemplative studies. This book will be useful to scholars and researchers of religious and theological studies, contemplative studies, Hindu studies, consciousness studies, yoga studies, Indian philosophy and religion, sociology of religion, philosophy of religion, comparative religion, and South Asian studies, as well as general readers interested in the topic.

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