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Thought Provoking Articles – Reinterpreting Hindu Goddess

1. Sarah Caldwell – Reinterpreting Hindu Goddess as a symbol of sex and violence-chapter 4

Interesting excerpts from the above link is as below

By reversing the gaze, one can look at the source of this genre of scholarship as emanating from individuals who are in psychological need of a ‘Hindu Other’. Malhotra surmises that their inner-directed psychological and cultural conditioning drives them to the following allegations:

  • Sexual ‘madness’ in Hindu saints and in the Goddess is common and expected.
  • To hide this pathology from the West, Vivekananda (who was Ramakrishna’s ‘passive homosexual object’) had to repackage Hinduism into a ‘presentable’ masculine image.
  • The alleged sexual deviance and hyper-masculinity applies not only to particular Hindu individuals but also to the social culture of Hinduism in general.
  • Hence, there is urgency to study contemporary Hindu culture in a sexually explicit, psychopathological fashion. This approach is particularly ‘timely and essential’ because it enables US foreign policy the option to intervene against such ‘human rights abuses’ inherent in the ‘other’. This ties in well to the demented religious paranoia calls for fundamentalist Christian thought to drive US International Relations.

……..In short, psychoanalysis is a method that expects to be rejected. Psychoanalysis, then, goes well beyond the anthropologist’s field study and the Sanskritist’s text and the historian of religions’ phenomenological study to answer questions that no interview, text, or phenomenological study is willing to ask, much less answer.

2. Academic Hinduphobia – Chapter 2

Interesting excerpts from this as below

The Bhagavad Gita is not as nice a book as some Americans think . . . Throughout the Mahabharata . . . Krishna goads human beings into all sorts of murderous and self-destructive behaviors such as war . . . The Gita is a dishonest book; it justifies war.

Wendy Doniger, in Philadelphia Inquirer

There is generally, therefore, an inverse ratio between the worship of goddesses and the granting of rights to human women. Nor are the goddesses by and large compassionate; they are generally a pretty bloodthirsty lot. Goddesses are not the solution.

Wendy Doniger, in Washington Post

3. Why is “Invading the sacred” an important book?

Interesting excerpts from this as below

Indeed, hateful speech and false information can create a climate in which . . . violence is to be expected . . . So how long will it be before a crazed gunman attacks a crowded Hindu temple in America, believing, . . . that Hindus are possessed by demons? How many children will grow up believing Hinduism is a ‘filthy’ religion, or that Hindus worship the devil? When they grow up, how will such children treat their Hindu co-workers and neighbors? Will they give them the respect due to a fellow citizen and human being?

4. Wendy’s child Jeffrey Kripal on Sri Ramakrishna – chapter 3

Interesting excerpts from this as below

The book, Kali’s Child, was based on his PhD dissertation.
It won the First Book Award from the American Academy of Religion, an organization in which Doniger and her colleagues hold powerful positions. Kripal soon landed a job at Harvard, which was followed by a prestigious academic chair at Rice University at a very early stage in his career. The popular and prestigious reference source, Encyclopedia Britannica, listed Kripal’s book as its top choice for learning about Ramakrishna…..

. Neither Kripal nor Doniger are trained as psychologists.
Numerous experts in psychology have raised serious issues about Kripal’s understanding and application of psychological theory. Would an equivalent dissertation in Biblical Studies, based on amateur Freudian psychoanalysis, be supported and valorized to a similar extent in the mainstream academy, if, for instance, its core thesis was to prove incest in the Bible or a lesbian Mary? The RISA Lila-1 article deliberately provoked controversy by asking, “Is this fashionable hermeneutics of eroticization of Indian spirituality simply another form of Eurocentrism being projected upon the ‘other’?”….

  • Misinterpreting Tantra: (For more on this please read page 31, chapter 3)
  • Superimposing psychological pathologies upon Ramakrishna, without basis: (For more on this please read page 31 and 32, chapter 3)
  • Mistranslating lap as genitals, and later calling it a ‘defiled sexual space’: (For more on this please read page 32 and 33, chapter 3)
  • Mistranslating ‘touching softly’ as sodomy: (For more on this please read page 33, chapter 3)
  • Mistranslating tribhanga as cocked hips: (For more on this, please read page 33, chapter 3)
  • Mistranslating vyakulata to give it a sexual spin:  (For more on this, please read page 33 and 34, chapter 3)
  • Mistranslating uddipana to give it erotic meaning: (For more on this, please read page 34, chapter 3)
  • The Kangaroo Court Trial of Sri Ramakrishna: (For more on this, please read page 35 and 36, chapter 3)
  • Evasive dismissal of criticism by psychoanalyzing the critics: (For more on this please refer page 36 and 37, chapter 3)

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