Śākta Traditions Lecture Series
Conversion to new tantric forms of Hinduism took place over a relatively short period within the history of Indic religions, the period from the eighth to early eleventh century. This period of about two hundred years is about eight generations. While it might not be appropriate to call this ‘sudden’ conversion, it nevertheless falls into the paradigm of conversion if by that we mean a process of realignment over time rather than a sudden event (Rambo 1993). In this lecture I wish to use the period of the development of the Tantras, with particular reference to the Netra, as a case study of relatively rapid change and religious innovation in which beliefs of many people altered and how this change impacted upon politics and society as a whole. Although the socio-economic paradigm has explanatory force, it is not the whole story and in specifying the constraints that led to the outcome of Śākta religion, we also need to take into account internal, theological concerns.
Prof. Gavin Flood: is Professor of Hindu Studies and Comparative Religion at Oxford University, Academic Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, and Senior Research Fellow at Campion Hall. His publications include Religion and the Philosophy of Life (2019), The Truth Within: A History of Inwardness in Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism (2013), The Importance of Religion: Meaning and Action in Our Strange World (2012), and The Ascetic Self: Subjectivity, Memory, and Tradition (2004). He is also the General Editor of the series ‘The Oxford History of Hinduism’ and is a Fellow of the British Academy.