In this episode we welcome back to the Podcast, Sravana Borkataky-Varma. We catch up on her latest book projects, research, and teaching at Harvard Divinity School. We discuss the categories of so-called Classical Tantra vs. Neo Tantra, and some of the nuances of the scholar-practitioner. We discuss gender and transgender, particularly within the hijrā communities, and the recently formed Kinnar Akhara. We then preview the upcoming course, YS 120 | Women and Gender in Hindu Tantra—detailing its four modules: Sacred Transgender Identities, Temple Wives, Guru Mothers, and Superwomen Gurus.
Dr. Sravana Borkataky-Varma is a historian, educator, and social entrepreneur. As a historian, she studies Indian religions focusing on esoteric rituals and gender, particularly in Hinduism (Goddess Tantra). As an educator, she is currently a lecturer at Harvard Divinity School. She is on leave from her parent organization, the University of Houston where she is the Instructional Assistant Professor. In the past she has taught at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, the University of Montana, Rice University, and Dalian Neusoft University, China.
There are five forthcoming book projects that Sravana is simultaneously working on: A monograph titled Divinized Divas: Superwomen, Wives, Hijṛās in Hindu Śākta Tantra, a co-written book titled The Serpent's Tale: Kuṇḍalinī and the History of an Experience, two co-edited volumes titled Living Folk Religions and Religious Responses to the Pandemic & Crises: Isolation, Survival, and #Covidchaos, and a co-edited special issue journal Digital Tantra. Her published articles can be found on sravana.me
As a social entrepreneur, she is the co-founder of a nonprofit, Lumen Tree Portal. Sravana invests in building communities with individuals from various faith backgrounds who believe in kindness, compassion, and fulfillment.