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Beyond Dharma: Dissent in the Ancient Indian Sciences of Sex and Politics (Hardcover)

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About The Book

One of the world s most acclaimed and engaging scholars of Hinduism presents a groundbreaking interpretation of ancient Indian texts and their historic influence on subversive resistance.Ancient Hindu texts speak of the three aims of human life: dharma, artha and kama. Translated, these might be called religion, politics and pleasure, and each is held to be an essential requirement of a full and fulfilling life. Balance among the three is a goal not always met, however, and dharma has historically taken precedence over the other two qualities, or goals, in Hindu life. Here, Wendy Doniger offers a spirited and close reading of ancient Indian writings-especially Kautilya s Arthashastra and Vatsyayana s Kamasutra-unpacking a long but unrecognized history of opposition against dharma. Doniger argues that scientific disciplines (shastras) have offered lively and continuous criticism of dharma over many centuries. She chronicles the tradition of veiled subversion, uncovers connections to key moments of resistance and voices of dissent throughout Indian history, and offers insights into the Indian theocracy s subversion of science by an exclusivist version of religion today.

About The Author

Wendy Doniger is the author of several acclaimed and bestselling works, among them, The Hindus: An Alternative History; The Ring of Truth: Myths of Sex and Jewelry; Hindu Myths; On Hinduism; Siva, the Erotic Ascetic; Dreams, Illusion and Other Realities; and Reading the Kamasutra. She is the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago. She has also taught at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and the University of California, Berkeley.

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