100 minutes | Aug 24th 2020

Hinduism, Jainism and Academia: Conversation with Prof. Lavanya Vemsani

Join Mukunda as he speaks to Professor Lavanya Vemsani, Professor of Religious Studies and History at Shawnee State University in Ohio. She holds 2 Phd.s, one in History and the other in Religious Studies. She is also the Editor in Chief of the American Journal of Indic Studies. She has written extensively on comparative iconology, history, legends, and ideas between Hindu and Jaina thought, especially related to Krishna and Balarama in Jaina and Hindu thought. In this episode, we discuss a host of topics including:
0:01:30 Introduction to Prof. Vemsani and her background
0:05:40 Deep History and Continuity of Indian archeological sites and temple locations
0:16:00 Krishna and Balarama in the Hindu and Jaina contexts
0:18:20 Analysis of Balarama in Jaina traditions (Explanation of the Vasudeva, Baladeva, and Prati Vasudeva in Jaina Cosmology)
0:25:30 Historic Relationship and Interaction between Hindus and Jains
0:28:15 Return to Discussion on Balarama in Hindu vs. Jaina traditions
0:34:00 Narasimha and his connection sacred geography and cosmology, the Lord of the Middle
0:43:00 Integration and Pluralism of Hinduism and the practices
0:45:45 Academia, Colonialism and Hindu Studies: Built-in Western Bias and Lens
1:03:15 Aryan Invasion/Migration Theory and how it impacts everything about Indian studies, politics, and culture
1:05:05 Caste and how it is different from Varna and how it changed over time in Hindu society prior to British and even prior to 10th century
1:08:20 The flaws and discussion of the Aryan Invasion/Migration Theory (Genetic, Linguistic and Material Archeological issues)
1:31:35 How to approach providing controversial topics in school and education
1:35:30 Prof. Vemsani’s upcoming work and preliminary discussion of Heroines of the Mahabharata

You can find Prof. Lavanya Vemsani at:

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