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Launch of the Center for Shaiva Studies

Launch of the Center for Shaiva Studies

INDICA is pleased to announce the launch of the Center for Shaiva Studies in collaboration with Manish Maheshwari, founder, Tattva Heritage Foundation and a scholar-in-residence at INDICA. The Center will be based in Pondicherry and will be led by Dr. T. Ganesan, Former Director of Research at the French Institute, Pondicherry and a foremost scholar of Śaivism.

The Center for Shaiva Studies in Pondicherry will be inaugurated on 6th May 2022.   

Vision and Scope of the Center

Our vision is to be a premier place of research on Śaivism and its ancillary traditions. The Center will be a hub for scholars-practitioners to study and conduct research on all aspects of the Śaiva tradition be it Śaiva philosophy, rituals, literature and arts. We plan to train and develop select scholars to undertake philologically rigorous textual, manuscript, and epigraphic studies on the vast Śaiva corpus available in Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada languages. We also plan to undertake detailed study on some of the ancient and important Śiva temples with a special focus on the architectural, ritual and holy legend (sthalapurāṇa). There are also allied fields associated with Śaivism such as haṭha yoga, martial arts, siddha tradition, ritual studies, and aesthetics. In the long run, we plan to develop expertise and scholarship in the above-mentioned areas.

Textual studies will also be complemented by our endeavour to chronicle and document contemporary forms of Śaivism be it the thriving temple traditions, Śaiva institutions, siddha traditions, and various forms of Śaiva devotional practices.  As an output of the academic study, the Center will publish critical editions, monographs and books containing original research undertaken at the Center. The academic department will also organise conferences, talks and seminars on the topics related to Śaivism. Eventually, the Center will also bring out a rolling journal containing the latest research on Śaivism and its allied tradition. The Center will become a hub of grant-giving activities for Indian scholars who are interested in undertaking research on Śaivism under the supervision of scholars at the Center.

Apart from the academic activity, the Center will coordinate with the Śaiva community to organize training sessions for Śaiva purohits and temple administrators, publish introductory materials both textually and audio-visually on various traditions and concepts of Śaivism for the general public, hold open-house for an interested lay audience who wants to be introduced to the Śaiva tradition, and last but not the least, maintain an informative and updated website on Śaivism. We believe that the wider Śaiva community would benefit from such endeavours.

In the upcoming days, we plan to onboard multiple senior scholars and junior researchers at the Center.

Structure and Funding

A Section 8 Company has been incorporated with INDICA and Manish Maheshwari as co-founders. INDICA has committed to contribute a sum of Rs One Crore over the period of the next four years towards the activities of the Center. Manish Maheshwari’s Tattva Heritage Foundation will also be contributing financially to the Center. We are in talks with multiple potential sponsors and donors for their participation.