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Project: Alain Daniélou and the Construction of Shaivism in collaboration with the Chair of Indology of the University of Würzburg (Germany)

Photo by Robert Emmerich, 2005. (Wikimedia Commons)

This project aims at reconstructing Alain Daniélou’s philosophy of life starting from the kind of Shivaism he adopted in India, which gradually evolved into cross-cultural conception of religion, nature and life beyond the Indian context, especially in the last part of his life. The construction of Daniélou’s philosophy of life includes not only the śaiva initiation he received from Svāmī Hariharānanda Sarasvatī (Svāmī Karpātrī), his learning of the Vīṇā with Śivendranāth Basu and his later collaboration with Paṇḍit Rāmcandra Bhaṭṭ in Pondicherry, but also his frequentation of Sādhus and Tāntrikas. Alain Daniélou’s construction of Śaivism poses important questions about the reception of Hinduism in the West. Among other things, it can be read as a reaction to other interpreters’ claim to truth and the dominant construction of a Vedantic-oriented Hinduism in the first part of the XX century. Part of the project will be the study of material preserved at the Daniélou Archive (Zagarolo/Rome) and the Daniélou Library of the Cini Foundation (Venice), with a special focus on manuscript transcripts originating from Banaras Hindu University.

Project Coordinators: Jörg Gengnagel (Professor Chair of Indology, Würzburg), Adrián Navigante (Alain Daniélou Foundation, Director Intellectual Dialogue)

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