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Archive for November 2017

  1. Chakras into the west: Rama Prasad’s Nature’s Finer Forces – II

    For this second post on the subject of Rama Prasad’s 1890 book Nature’s Finer Forces and its relevance to the development of contemporary discourses regarding chakras, kundalini and related subjects, I’m going to examine the “controversy” over Rama Prasad’s work that I mentioned in the previous post. Continue reading »

  2. Chakras into the west: Rama Prasad’s Nature’s Finer Forces – I

    As promised at the end of the last post in this series, for this next part I’m going to take a look at the work of Rama Prasad – in particular his 1890 book, Nature’s Finer Forces, first published in Lahore under the title of Occult Science: The Science of Breath in 1884.

    Why this particular book? I find Nature’s Finer Forces interesting for a number of reasons. Although it does not have a great deal to say about chakras/kundalini – what it does say – and how Rama Prasad presents an explanation of the subjects covered using the scientific terminology of the time is of value. It is frequently assumed that scientific interpretations of chakras, etc., are a western or ‘colonial’ overlay or imposition on indigenous, premodern representations of the transmaterial body. That Rama Prasad and a number of other Indian authors of this period (some of whom I’ll be examining in future installments) did so, raises interesting questions regarding cultural intersections and the formation of knowledge. Also, Nature’s Finer Forces was to some extent, the cause of controversy within the Theosophical Society – prompting Madame Blavatsky to make some fairly unequivocal statements on the subject of Tantra. Continue reading »