Suggesting Śāntamūrti and Śāntarasavāda: A Sociological Study of Shanti Mandir’s social network and Global Yoga

Patrick McCartney
Apr 16, 2018 · 4 min read

Below, you will find information related to the presentation I will give at RINDAS. This presentation will be held in Kyoto, Japan at the end of April.

The official invitation is here.

Before I present, Dr Jason Birch, from the Hatha Yoga Project, will also give a presentation about Amaraughaprabodha: Awakening with Buddhist and Śaiva Nectars. Brief abstracts of both our presentations are below.

Date and Time:

Saturday, April 28, 2018,

14:30~17:30 hr — GMT+9

Venue: Big Meeting Room, 2nd Floor, West Hall, Omiya Campus, Ryukoku University


(Venue: Building No.6)

Ryukoku University’s Center for South Asian Studies (RINDAS) was established in April of 2010 as a partner of the Contemporary India Area Studies (INDAS) Network in collaboration with the National Institutes for the Humanities (NIHU). Research theme of RINDAS is “The Living Tradition of Indian Philosophy in Contemporary Politics”, which aims to promote studies in contemporary India from diverse and long-term perspectives.

More information is available, here.

Here is a slightly longer version of the synopsis of my presentation:

During multiple trips between 2009–2013, I spent approximately 18-months at the Temple of Peace (Shanti Mandir) ashram in southern Gujarat, India. Initially, this was to conduct sociolinguistic research into code mixing between Hindi and Sanskrit. This is because the majority of the ashram’s residents speak Sanskrit to varying degrees of fluency, as they are either students or teachers at one of Shanti Mandir’s ‘charitable works’, which is the residential Sanskrit college, Muktānanda Saṁskṛta Mahāvidyālaya. Having successfully completed the MA in applied linguistics, I returned to Shanti Mandir as a PhD candidate to conduct an anthropologically-informed study.

I begin this presentation by discussing Shanti Mandir’s inception and history related to the schism that occurred in Baba Muktananda’s Siddha Yoga; and, how market forces, combined with the imaginative consumption of global yoga consumers, has shaped how Shanti Mandir continues to re-position itself within the multitrillion-dollar global yoga, spiritual tourism, and wellness industries.

Next, I discuss how the analytical framework evolved through noticing the recurring narrative of śānti (tranquility) that is promoted through its brand of modern soteriological yoga, Shanti Darshanam, which is facilitated by Shantarasa Yoga. This lead me to explore various aesthetic and performance-audience reception theories that build upon the ‘doctrine of appreciating tranquility’, i.e. śāntarasavāda. From which I typologise śatsaṅga (‘company of the wise’) as a hybrid campu-rasavat type of performative literature.

Following this, I discuss, from a sociology of education point of view, how Shanti Mandir’s social network is better understood as an epistemic community (of learners), and that the formal pedagogical domain of śatsaṅga privileges a certain type of knowledge; and, more importantly, a specific knower-disposition. This leads into a discussion of how Shanti Mandir’s global network of devotees invest various species of capital to: 1) support the guru’s vision, and 2) gain epistemological access to Shanti Mandir’s ‘legitimate yogic disposition’, which I define as śāntamūrti (‘embodier of tranquility’). Finally, I discuss the conceptual bridge created to describe the internal architecture of Shanti Mandir’s habitus.

One of the papers that I will base my presentation on is now available for free as a PDF.

Patrick McCartney, PhD is a JSPS Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Japan; a Research Associate at Nanzan Anthropological Institute, Nanzan University, Japan; and a Visiting Fellow at the South and South-East Asian Studies Department, Australian National University, Australia.

Building upon an anthropological premise, Patrick’s work intersects the commodification of desire and consumption of yoga-inflected lifestyles. It explores the consumption of global yoga through the politics of imagination and the sociology of spirituality. Patrick’s current project focuses specifically on the Japanese yoga industry, which includes understanding the aspirations of Japanese yoga consumers and how modern yoga is reconstituted in unique ways into Japanese culture. You can follow this project at Yogascapes in Japan, and also find his articles and films there too.

The Call for Papers for the upcoming Yoga, Movement and Space Conference, November 2–3, Kyoto, Japan is now open.

Patrick McCartney

Unless otherwise stated, all content is licensed under: CC Attribution 4.0 International

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