In this episode, we speak with Dr. Sravana Borkataky-Varma about her experience growing up in India, receiving initiation into a Śākta tantra lineage at Kāmākhya, discovering Religious Studies and the academic path, her doctoral research, the role of female practitioners, tantric sexual rites, being censored by Facebook, online pūjā services, and much more.
Sravana Borkataky-Varma is a historian, educator, and social entrepreneur—who holds a PhD in Religions from Rice University. As a historian, she studies Indian religions focusing on esoteric rituals and gender, particularly in Hinduism (Śākta Tantra). As an educator, she is currently working as a Lecturer at Harvard University and at University of North Carolina-Wilmington, where she teaches introductory courses on World Religions and higher-level courses on Hinduism, Buddhism, Religion and Film, and the History of Yoga.
In the past she has taught at the University of Houston, University of Montana, Rice University and DaLian Neusoft University, China. In a previous non-academic avatar, Sravana worked in customer service, in the financial and IT industry. As a social entrepreneur, she is the co-founder of a non-profit called Lumen Tree Portal. Sravana invests in building communities with individuals from various faith-backgrounds who believe in kindness, compassion, and fulfillment.