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The Hindu Tantric World

An Overview

Tantra occupies a unique position in Western understandings of Hindu spirituality. Its carnal dimension has made its name instantly recognizable, but this popular fascination with sex has obscured its philosophical depth and ritual practices, to say nothing of its overall importance to Hinduism.
This book offers a clear, well-grounded overview of Tantra that offers substantial new insights for scholars and practitioners. André Padoux opens by detailing the history of Tantra, beginning with its origins, founding texts, and major beliefs. The second part of the book delves more deeply into key concepts relating to the tantric body, mysticism, sex, mantras, sacred geography, and iconography, while the final part considers the practice of Tantra today, both in India and in the West. The result is an authoritative account of Tantra’s history and present place in the world.

240 pages | 3 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2017

Religion: Religion and Society, South and East Asian Religions


“Padoux has long been recognized as one of the most important scholars of Tantra in the world. He is universally recognized in the field as one of the most reliable and erudite guides to this complex, controversial, and often misrepresented tradition. In The Hindu Tantric World, Padoux presents an accessible, clear, and up-to-date introduction to the topic that demonstrates his mastery of the primary materials and his decades of scholarship.”

Hugh Urban, Ohio State University

“For the past forty years, Padoux has been on the cutting edge of Tantric studies worldwide. The Hindu Tantric World is quite simply the most comprehensive and accessible overview of Hindu Tantra ever written and the culmination of a lifetime of outstanding achievement.”

David Gordon White, University of California, Santa Barbara

The Hindu Tantric World presents a refreshingly critical, balanced, and concise survey of the field. Doyen of Hindu Tantric studies, Padoux translates the fruits of his decades of specialized research into an elegant and useful guidebook that helpfully situates these traditions within the broader fabric of South Asian religious culture. Nowhere else can a general readership find such an accessible and state-of-the-art treatment of the histories, theories, and practices of Tantric Hinduism.”

Christian K. Wedemeyer, University of Chicago

"This is an excellent text to be used within the classroom as an introductory text on Tantra as well as a consolidated resource for scholars. For those that have want to understand the intricate underpinnings of Tantra and for the seeker looking for a clear survey of a tradition that at times has been shrouded in mystery and misrepresentation, this book is a valued resource."

Reading Religion

"Padoux seeks to discover what constitutes Tantric Hinduism by investigating its essential notions and its numberless practices... highly recommended."

Philosophy East and West

Table of Contents

Note on the Pronunciation and Transcription of Sanskrit
Part I      The Hindu Tantric Domain
1          The Hindu Tantric Field: Terminology and Attempts at Defining a Tantric Domain
2          Origins, History, Expansion
3          The Textual Material
4          Tantric Traditions: Fundamental Notions, Beliefs, and Speculations
Part II    The Tantric World
5          The Tantric Body
6          Sex
7          The Tantric Word: Mantras
8          Tantric Ritual
9          The Spiritual Aspect
10        Tantric Places or Practices
Part III   Tantra Today
11        Tantra in India
12        Tantra in the West

Bibliographical References

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