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What role does mantra play in the lives of Hindu practitioners? Mani Rao takes us on a journey to three sacred sites across India’s Andhra-Telangana region. The practitioners she engages at these sites offer insight into their transformative embodied experience of mantra. Rao dovetails scholarship and practice to grapple with the captivating, eye-opening, mind-blowing narratives of the practitioners she engages. Living Mantra: Mantra, Deity, and Visionary Experience Today (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)broaches compelling questions such as: what is the relationship between mantras and deities? Texts? Gurus? Do practitioners relate to mantra as vehicles of meaning, or as aesthetic entities? What is the relationship to sound and visions in mantra practice? What is the role of imagination here? Celebrating lived experience, Living Mantra documents the modern-day existence of seers (rishis), thus underscoring the open, ongoing nature of divine revelation in Hindu traditions.

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