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Tantric Visual Culture

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Table of Contents

Introduction Overview Part 1: Image in the Context of Tantric Practice 1. Mnemonics, Image Compression, and Tantric Visualization Part 2: Image, Metonymy, and Metaphors 2. Image, Metonymy, and Cognition: A Study of Tantric Language 3. Metaphor, Embodiment, and Tantric Images Part 3: Image Compression and Decompression 4. Complex Images in Tantric Visualization: A Cognitive Approach 5. Holographic Limbs and Metaphoric Bodies in Hindu Myths Part 4: Visualization and Emotions 6. Invoking Emotions: Reading Tantric Images in Light of Rasa Theory Part 5: Conclusions 7. Conclusions

About the Author

Sthaneshwar Timalsina is Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at San Diego State University, USA.


In this bold and brilliant book, Timalsina brings his formidable scholarship on Tantra to bear on questions regarding the nature and constitution of complex images, the purposes and techniques of visualization, the emotional dimension of abstract liturgical and cognitive processes, and the teleology of bodily discipline. The re-conceptualisation of Tantra in order to open up its potential to comparative philosophical understanding is provocative and thought-provoking; even more striking is the wide-ranging, astonishingly well-grounded and thoroughly original use of the ideas of cognitive linguistics in that endeavour. Not only scholars of Tantra and Hindu Studies more widely, but anyone interested in tackling fundamental philosophical questions about cognition, emotion and body should read this book; there is much benefit to be had from it. Dr. Ram-Prasad Chakravarthi, University of Lancaster, UK Tantra, often misunderstood, finds illumination in this important book. Dr. Timalsina carefully explains the role of metaphor and metonymy as well as image and experience in this deeply affective exploration of the texts and practices of Tantra. Beautifully illustrated, this book gives access to material that has hitherto been unknown, including new perspectives on visualization through Yantra and Mandala as well as the efficacy and function of Mantra. Professor Christopher Key Chapple, Loyola Marymount University, USA.

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