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TantraSex, Secrecy, Politics, and Power in the Study of Religion$
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Hugh Urban

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520230620

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520230620.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 01 August 2021

Deodorized Tantra

Deodorized Tantra

Sex, Scandal, Secrecy, and Censorship in the Works of John Woodroffe and Swami Vivekananda

(p.134) Chapter 4 Deodorized Tantra

Hugh B. Urban

University of California Press

This chapter examines the various attempts, on the part of both Western and Indian authors, to deodorize, sanitize, or reform Tantra. The most famous of these is the eccentric Supreme Court judge and secret tàntrika (practitioner of Tantra), Sir John Woodroffe, who is regarded as the founding father of Tantric studies. His legacy of reform and sanitization of Tantra would be mirrored and echoed in various ways by a great many Indian authors, such as Swami Vivekenanda and the disciples of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. For both Woodroffe and Vivekananda, Tantra was something that was very much in need of censorship and reform—either (for the former) a moralizing sanitization, or else (for the latter) a form of suppression and denial. This chapter looks at sex, scandal, secrecy, and censorship in the works of Woodroffe and Vivekananda.

Keywords:   Tantra, sex, scandal, secrecy, censorship, John Woodroffe, Swami Vivekananda, reform, sanitization, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

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