Chapter

Deodorized Tantra

Hugh B. Urban

in Tantra

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780520230620
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936898 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520230620.003.0005
Deodorized Tantra

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This chapter examines the various attempts, on the part of both Western and Indian authors, to deodorize, sanitize, or reform Tantra. The most famous of these is the eccentric Supreme Court judge and secret tàntrika (practitioner of Tantra), Sir John Woodroffe, who is regarded as the founding father of Tantric studies. His legacy of reform and sanitization of Tantra would be mirrored and echoed in various ways by a great many Indian authors, such as Swami Vivekenanda and the disciples of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. For both Woodroffe and Vivekananda, Tantra was something that was very much in need of censorship and reform—either (for the former) a moralizing sanitization, or else (for the latter) a form of suppression and denial. This chapter looks at sex, scandal, secrecy, and censorship in the works of Woodroffe and Vivekananda.

Keywords: Tantra; sex; scandal; secrecy; censorship; John Woodroffe; Swami Vivekananda; reform; sanitization; Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

Chapter.  12016 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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