In the recent years there has been a newly revived interest in understanding, interpreting and comparing cultures based on the concepts of religion, iconography and translation of Sanskrit texts, and decoding them. By translating “texts”, here is not meant only the philosophical books but decoding of the connotations embedded in spiritual visions, signs or symbols. While these semiotic structures are deeply cultural, they move beyond cultural boundaries to the realms of mystical experiences, once again sometimes deeply subjective and need a further decoding.
There are two Feature Essays in this section by Mani Rao and Arghya Dipta Kar.
Translating Saundarya Lahari, a Tantric text of antiquity is not easy. The embedded structures of mantras, sound patterns, matched with visionary Realities so coded in Sanskrit require the spiritual insight of a sadhaka to translate them into English. Mani Rao here writes about the challenges she has faced while translating this Sanskrit text into English and how she overcame the same.
Arghya Dipta Kar’s essay is on his paintings of Śakti as Vāk. He explains the varied forms and stages of a very subjective mystical experience formulated by his deep understanding of Tantric philosophy and iconography matched with his visions as a śakta practioner and painter.
Both of these essays were presentations at the V Annual International Conference 2023. The links to Mani Rao’s presentation and a sample from Arghya Dipta Kar’s Art Exhibition are to be found in the Caesurae YouTube Channel.
Besides these two Feature Essays there is an essay by Snigdha Mondal and Anuradha Choudry on the comparative analysis of dharma and the Christian concept of Religion which are evidently not the same.
The section also contains a conversation with Srijan Chatterjee as an artiste.
The focus of this issue of Interventions in Caesurae Vol 5:2, is on Śaktism. It has been my pleasure to compile and edit this section, besides the general task of being a Chief Editor of the Caesurae Journal.
---- Jayita Sengupta