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Language of Images

Visualization and Meaning in Tantras


Sthaneshwar Timalsina

While Indian visual culture and Tantric images have drawn wide attention, the culture of images, particularly that of the divine images, is broadly misunderstood. This book is the first to systematically address the hermeneutic and philosophical aspects of visualizing images in Tantric practices. While examining the issues of embodiment and emotion, this volume initiates a discourse on image-consciousness, imagination, memory, and recall. The main objective of this book is to explore the meaning of the opaque Tantric forms, and with this, the text aims to introduce visual language to discourse. Language of Images is the result of a long and sustained engagement with Tantric practitioners and philosophical and exegetical texts. Due to its synthetic approach of utilizing multiple ways to read cultural artifacts, this work stands alone in its attempt to unravel the esoteric domains of Tantric practice by means of addressing the culture of visualization.
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Copyright Acknowledgements


The following publishers have graciously consented to allow reproduction of essays that have been previously published and have been further developed for inclusion in this book.

An earlier version of Chapter 2 was published in 2013 as “Image and Visualization in Classical Hinduism,” in SERAS, the Southeast Review of Asian Studies, volume 35, pages 50-69.

An earlier version of Chapter 3 was published in 2012 as “Reconstructing the Tantric Body: Elements of the Symbolism of Body in the Monistic Kaula and Trika Tantric Traditions,” in the International Journal of Hindu Studies 16:1, (Springer Journals), pages 57-91.

An earlier version of Chapter 4 was published in 2011 as “Materializing Space and Time in Tantric Images,” in the Zeitschrift für Indologie und Südasienstudien 28, pages 145-82.

An earlier version of Chapter 5 was published in 2013 as “Contemplating upon the Image of Bhairava: A Study of Kṣemarāja’s Bhairavānukaraṇastava,” in the Journal of Indian Research, issue 1, pages 143-52. (Ghaziabad: Mewar University Research Journal).

The image, “Siddhilaksmī,” first appeared as Plate 17 on page 61 in Kathmandu Valley Painting THE JUCKER COLLECTION, by Hugo E. Kreijger. The volume was published in 1999 by Serindia Publications, London. ← xiii | xiv → ← xiv | xv →

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