International Workshop on Tantric Studies

Manipal, India

January 23-27, 2017

Organized by
Centre for Religious Studies
Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities
Manipal University, Manipal, India

Centre for Religious Studies is holding a week-long Workshop on Tantric Studies from January 23-27, 2017 in Manipal.

About the Workshop

The workshop will principally include a close textual reading of selections from various Śaiva Tantric scriptures each followed by various contributions and discussions. We will read the extracts from the following texts:

Ratnatrayaparīkṣā of Śrīkaṇṭha with the anonymous commentary kept in the Oriental Library of Mysore (MS Orlas P 269)
(session headed by Prof Francesco Sferra)

Sarvajñānottara with Aghoraśiva’s commentary
(session headed by Prof Dominic Goodall)

Mokṣakārikā with the vṛtti of Rāmakaṇṭha
(session headed by Dr Hugo David)

The aim is to examine tantric scriptural and post-scriptural literature, much of which is unpublished or must be studied using numerous manuscripts. The Ratnatrayaparīkṣā is a ninth-century Kashmirian work in over 300 stanzas that deals at length with all manner of tantric notions connected with sound, language and sonic creation. A short commentary by the famous twelfth-century South Indian theologian Aghoraśiva has been published, but large fragments of what seems to be an older, more exploratory and theologically intriguing commentary of unknown authorship survive in a manuscript in Mysore. The Sarvajñānottara is a non-dualist tantra that survives in a fragmentary ninth-century codex from Nepal, as well as in many damaged South Indian manuscripts. Its text can only fully be reconstructed, however, with the additional help of Aghoraśiva’s dualist commentary, a further interest of which is that it consistently subverts the text’s non-dualism by ingenious distortions. The Mokṣakārikā is a work on liberation by the earliest tantric theologian of whom works are known to survive, Sadyojotiḥ (c. 675–725). A tenth-century commentary by the Kashmirian thinker Bhaṭṭa Rāmakaṇṭha has been published, but a recourse to manuscripts reveals that it can be improved on every page.

Program and Faculty

Prof Dominic Goodall, Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO), Pondicherry, India
Prof Francesco Sferra, Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”, Naples, Italy
Prof Anjaneya Sarma, Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO), Pondicherry, India
Dr Hugo David, Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO), Pondicherry, India

There will be plenty of opportunities for interaction and participation. The morning and afternoon sessions will include the readings of the text in Sanskrit followed by special lectures in the afternoon. The seminar will be held in English and readings will be circulated in advance. Special events like Yakshagana performance which is a native folk theatre form of Malenadu region in Karnataka, will be organized besides an afternoon excursion to the local Jaina temples in Karkala. There also will be opportunities for exploring the incredible richness and diversity of the Udupi region.

Registered Participants:

Abhijeet Manorma Madhav    (Manipal University)
Ajithan P.I.    (University of Calicut, Kerala)
Ambika K.G.    (Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kerala)
Anand    (Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Kerala)
Andrea Acri    (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris, France)
Anusritra Mandal    (Jadavpur University, Calcutta)
Boris Marjanovic    (USA)
Chandrasekar Ramaswamy    (University of Delhi, Delhi)
Damodar Narayanan    (Kerala)
Deepro Chakraborty    (Gurudas College, Calcutta)
Elaine Fisher    (Stanford University, USA)
Florinda Di Simini    (Università di Napoli L’Orientale, Italy)
John Nemec    (University of Virginia, USA)
Kaustubh Das    (Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta)
Kishore Kumar Reddy    (Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Open University, Hyderabad)
Murali Krishnan    (Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kerala)
Nirmala Viswanath    (Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kerala)
Partha Sarathi Sil    (Tripura University, Tripura)
Patricia Sauthoff    (School of Oriental and African Studies, London, UK)
Prasanth B    (Amrita University, Kerala)
Puninder Singh    (University of Michigan, USA)
Sanne Mersh    (Leiden University, The Netherlands)
Shruti Bhatt    (Manipal University)
Surabhi Verma    (National Institute of Technology, Rourkela)
Williams Ben    (Harvard University, USA)

Location and Accommodation

The event will be hosted by Manipal University and its Centre for Religious Studies in the picturesque ocean-side state of Karnataka in south-western India. Scholars will be housed in international student residences. The space is wheelchair accessible. A registration fee will be charged that includes working lunch, tea/coffee with snacks and accommodation for five nights. Travel cost will not be reimbursed.

To learn more about Manipal / Udupi and how to reach here, please click New to Manipal. For more details click here. To visit places near Manipal see here.

Download the leaflet here.

International Participants:

Foreign participants are responsible for making their own arrangements regarding applying for Indian VISA in the local Indian Consulate in the county of their origin. Indian universities are responsible for forwarding all the passport details of all foreign participants in an international event organised by any university to the Ministries of Home and External Affairs (Government of India). Once the university gets clearance from the Government of India to organise the international event, the government sends information about the event to all the Indian consulates in countries involved thus facilitating the VISA process for the international participants. In case you already hold a valid Indian VISA (Tourist), you may not be required to apply for a separate VISA for attending the workshop ( In case of doubts regarding this, you may consult the local Indian Consulate in the country of your citizenship.

Mr Vivek Kumar Radhakrishnan (Ph.D. Scholar)
International Workshop on the Tantric Studies
e-mail: <>


Dr Mrinal Kaul
Centre for Religious Studies
Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities
Manipal University

email: <>
Tel +91-820-29-23567 (Office)

For more information, please contact:

Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities
Dr TMA Pai Planetarium Complex, Alevoor Road
Manipal – 576104
Tel +91-820-2923561