Modern gurus, science and the secular

This section lists resources on the relationship between modern gurus, religion (particularly neo-/Hinduism) and science, but also more broadly issues of religion and secularisation within India and beyond.

 
Books
 
Articles
 
Research reports and surveys

Books

Alter, Joseph S. 2004. Yoga in Modern India: The Body between Science and Philosophy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Nanda, Meera. 2003. Prophets Facing Backward: Postmodern Critiques of Science and Hindu Nationalism in India. New Brunswick, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Nanda, Meera. 2005. The Wrongs of the Religious Right: Reflections on Science, Secularism and Hindutva. Gurgaon: Three Essays Collective.

Nanda, Meera. 2009. The God Market: How Globalisation is making India more Hindu. Noida: Random House India.

Zeller, Benjamin E. 2010. Prophets and Protons: New Religious Movements and Science in Late Twentieth-Century America. New York: New York University Press. (Part II consists of two chapters dealing with “Science and the Hare Krishna Movement”, pp.67-113.)

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Articles

Alter, Joseph S. 2005. “Modern Medical Yoga: Struggling with a History of Magic, Alchemy and Sex”, Asian Medicine – Tradition and Modernity 1(1):119-146. Abstract only; full-text paid access.

Brown, C. Mackenzie. 2007a. “The Western Roots of Avataric Evolutionism in Colonial India”, Zygon 42(2): 423-447. [Deals chiefly with Keshub Chunder Sen (Brahmo Samaj) and Madame Blavatsky (Theosophical Society), and to a lesser extent with Dayananda Saraswati (Arya Samaj); also some mention of later developments, e.g. the views of Kurian Kachappilly and Prakashanand Saraswati]. Abstract only; full-text paid access.

Brown, C. Mackenzie. 2007b. “Colonial and Post-Colonial Elaborations of Avataric Evolutionism”, Zygon 42(3):715-747. [Deals chiefly with Narayana Bhavanrao Pavgee and Aurobindo Ghose; also intermittent mention of Keshub Chunder Sen, Vivekananda, Dayananda Saraswati (Arya Samaj), Chamupati (follower of Dayananda), Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Rajnarain Bose (Adi Brahmo Samaj), Madame Blavatsky and Annie Besant (Theosophical Society), Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Bhagavan Das, Ayodhya Chandra Dass, Prakashanand Saraswati (International Society of Divine Love), Kashinath, Varadaraja V. Raman and Vinay Lal]. Abstract only; full-text paid access.

Brown, C. Mackenzie. 2010. “Hindu Responses to Darwinism: Assimilation and Rejection in a Colonial and Postcolonial Context”, Science & Education 19(6-8):705-738. [Deals briefly with 19th-century Brahmo Samaj members (e.g. Rammohan Roy, Akkhoy Kumar Dutt, Debendranath Tagore and Keshab Chandra Sen); more in-depth treatment of Vivekananda, Rabindranath Tagore, Aurobindo Ghose, Dayananda Saraswati, ISKCON’s Swami Prabhupada and his disciples (Richard L. Thompson and Michael A. Cremo), and Prakashanand Saraswati of the International Society of Divine Love (IDSL)]. Abstract only; full-text paid access.

Frøystad, Kathinka. 2011. “Roping Outsiders In: Invoking Science in Contemporary Spiritual Movements in India”, Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 14(4):77-98. [Deals briefly with, among others, Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation, Neelam Verma’s Healing Rhythms, Amma and Kalki Bhagawan’s Golden Age Foundation and an unidentified ashram in Haridwar]. Abstract only; full-text paid access.

Lowe, Scott. 2011. “Transcendental Meditation, ‘Vedic Science’ and Science”, Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 14(4):54-76. Abstract only; full-text paid access.

Weiss, Richard. 2005. “The Global Guru: Sai Baba and the Miracle of the Modern”, New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 7(2):5-19. Open access.

Zeller, Benjamin E. 2011. “New Religious Movements and Science”, Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 14(4):4-10. Free download accessible on author’s website.

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Research reports and surveys

Keysar, Ariela & Kosmin, Barry A. 2008. Worldviews and Opinions of Scientists: India 2007-08 Summary Report. Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture (ISSSC), Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut. (Highlights of an ISSSC survey conducted with a sample of 1100 Indian scientists between August 2007 and January 2008 in cooperation with the Center for Inquiry India). Free download, but login required.

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Last time new entries were added: 18 March 2012.
Last time all links were checked: 30 September 2011.