Mahameshwaracharya Abhinavagupta was a prominent philosopher, scholar, and mystic who lived in Kashmir, India, between 10 CE and 11 CE. He was a multifaceted personality and made significant contributions to various fields, including Shaivism, aesthetics, philosophy, and Tantra.
In the context of Shaivism, Abhinava Gupta is renowned for his profound understanding and commentary on the Kashmir Shaivism school of philosophy. He synthesized the teachings of earlier scholars and expounded on the concepts of nondualism (Advaita) and monism (Monism) within the Shaiva tradition.
Abhinavagupta’s most significant work is the “Tantrāloka,” a voluminous text that elucidates the principles and practices of Tantra and Shaivism. In this work, he explored and systematized various aspects of the Shaiva tradition, including the nature of reality, the different states of consciousness, the paths to spiritual liberation, and the ritualistic practices and worship methods.
He emphasized the concept of “Spanda,” which refers to the divine pulsation or vibration underlying all of creation. According to Abhinavagupta, this Spanda manifests as the dynamic interplay between consciousness (Shiva) and energy (Shakti), representing the fundamental essence of the universe.
Furthermore, Abhinavagupta contributed to the understanding of aesthetics within the Shaiva tradition. His work “Abhinavabhāratī” is a commentary on the ancient Indian treatise on drama, “Nātyaśāstra” by Bharata Muni. In this commentary, he expounded upon the theory of rasa (the aesthetic experience of emotions) and provided insights into the interplay of art, beauty, and spiritual experience.
MM Abhinavagupta’s contributions to Shaivism include his profound insights into philosophy, metaphysics, spirituality, and aesthetics. His works continue to be studied and revered by scholars and practitioners of Shaiva philosophy, making him one of the most influential figures in the history of Shaivism.
MM Abhinavagupta’s emphasis on the interplay of art, beauty, and spiritual experience can inspire creative expression and cultural revival. His writings on aesthetics and the theory of rasa provide a framework for understanding and appreciating the profound emotional and spiritual impact of artistic and cultural practices, which can be instrumental in reviving and preserving cultural traditions that have suffered due to cultural genocide or other forms of disruption. Jonaraja Institute of Genocide and Atrocities Studies announces the establishment of the Mahameshwaracharya Abhinavagupta Chair in Cultural Genocide Studies at our esteemed institution. We believe that such a chair will significantly contribute to the academic study, research, and understanding of cultural genocide and its impact on societies.
The Acharya Abhinavagupta Chair in Cultural Genocide Studies aims to honour the legacy of Acharya Abhinavagupta, a remarkable philosopher and scholar, while focusing on the study of cultural genocide. This interdisciplinary chair will investigate the historical and contemporary instances of cultural genocide, examining its various dimensions, causes, consequences, and potential avenues for prevention and redress.
Research: The chair will undertake comprehensive research to deepen our understanding of cultural genocide, including its underlying mechanisms, social, political, and cultural implications, and potential methods for prevention and mitigation.
The chair will facilitate the documentation of case studies, testimonies, and narratives related to cultural genocide, ensuring the preservation of invaluable cultural heritage and fostering awareness among scholars, policymakers, and the wider public.
The chair will offer educational programs, seminars, and workshops to disseminate knowledge on cultural genocide, promote interdisciplinary dialogue, and encourage critical thinking among students, scholars, and practitioners.
Collaboration: The chair will foster collaboration with national and international institutions, organizations, and scholars engaged in related research and advocacy to facilitate knowledge exchange, joint projects, and initiatives aimed at addressing cultural genocide.
Policy Recommendations: The chair will provide evidence-based insights and recommendations to policymakers, human rights organizations, and governmental bodies to guide the development of policies and strategies aimed at preventing and addressing cultural genocide.
We are actively seeking funding from philanthropic organizations, governmental bodies, and individuals who share our commitment to advancing knowledge in cultural genocide studies. The endowed chair will be financially supported by these contributions, which will provide the necessary resources to sustain the chair’s activities, research projects, and outreach efforts.
We kindly request your support and collaboration in the establishment of the Abhinavagupta Chair in Cultural Genocide.
Moti Lal Pandit is presently working as a researcher for the Aeropagus Foundation in Oslo, Norway. In this role, he is engaged in research activities focused on various aspects of spirituality, religion, and interfaith dialogue. His work at the foundation contributes to the exploration and understanding of different religious and philosophical traditions, fostering dialogue and mutual respect among diverse perspectives.
Throughout his career, Moti Lal Pandit has been associated with several esteemed universities and academic institutions. Notably, he has served as a faculty member at Aarhus University, Denmark, where he held the position of visiting faculty for the indology chair. His association with Aarhus University allowed him to share his expertise in the field of indology, offering valuable insights into the study of Indian culture, religion, and philosophy.
Moti Lal Pandit’s academic involvement with various universities reflects his commitment to scholarly research, teaching, and the dissemination of knowledge. His contributions to academia have enriched the understanding of spirituality, philosophy, and interfaith dialogue, making him a respected figure among both scholars and students.
Moti Lal Pandit has authored several books that delve into the depth of spiritual and philosophical traditions. Some of his notable works include:
“Towards Transcendence”: This book explores the path to transcendence, delving into spiritual practices, mystical experiences, and the quest for ultimate truth.
“Being as Becoming”: Moti Lal Pandit examines the concept of being and becoming, contemplating the nature of existence, change, and the evolution of consciousness.
“Transcendence and Negation: A Study of Buddhist Compassion and Christian Love”: In this work, he explores the themes of compassion and love from the perspectives of Buddhism and Christianity, highlighting the shared values and unique approaches of these traditions.
“Beyond the Word”: This book delves into the realm of silence, exploring the transformative power of stillness, meditation, and the ineffable aspects of spiritual experience.
“Sunyata, The Essence of Mahayana Spirituality”: Moti Lal Pandit delves into the concept of Sunyata (emptiness) within Mahayana Buddhism, elucidating its significance as a transformative spiritual realization.
“In Search of the Absolute”: This work delves into the human quest for the absolute, exploring various spiritual paths, mystical experiences, and philosophical insights.
“The Hidden Way: A Study in Modern Religious Esoterism”: Here, he delves into the world of esoteric traditions, examining their practices, symbolism, and their potential for spiritual transformation.