Qualification: 
Ph.D, MPhil, MA
s_pranshu@blr.amrita.edu

Dr. Pranshu Samdarshi currently serves as Assistant Professor at Amrita Darshanam – International Centre for Spiritual Studies at Bengaluru campus. His research concerns the history and literature of Tantra traditions in Southern Asia and Tibet. After obtaining his B.Tech. in computer science and engineering from Cochin University of Science and Technology, he completed his M.A. and M.Phil. from the Department of Buddhist Studies, University of Delhi. For his Ph.D. research at the Department of History, University of Delhi, he has explored the dynamic relationship between sacred feminine imagery and Buddhist Tantra practice. He has authored two books and several articles and reviews in reputed magazines and journals. He has been awarded a Junior Research Fellowship and a Senior Research Fellowship by the University Grants Commission (UGC), India. He has also designed and taught courses on Buddhist studies at Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Gangtok and Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, Delhi, India.

Publications

Publication Type: Conference Paper

Year of Publication Title

2019

Pranshu Samdarshi, “Guru Padmasambhava: An Indic Mahasiddha Prototype in Tibetan Cultural Landscape”, in Guru Padmasambhava: An Indic Mahasiddha Prototype in Tibetan Cultural Landscape, New Delhi, 2019.[Abstract]


Conference on Life and Legacy of Guru Padmasambhava- Centre for Escalation of Peace (CEP), India International Centre (IIC) and Sahapedia are organising a two-day conference on the rich tradition and legacy associated with Guru Padmasambhava, one of the most revered and iconic figures for Buddhists today.

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2018

Pranshu Samdarshi, “Different Levels of Reality: Selflessness of Autonomous Substantial Reality and Selflessness of Intrinsic Reality”, in International Conference on “Quantum Physics and Buddhist Philosophy”, Gangtok, Sikkim, 2018.

2017

Pranshu Samdarshi, “Reinvention of Theravada and Mahayana: The Misinterpretation of Buddhist Scholasticism in Colonial India”, in Theravada and Mahayana: Philosophy of Ultimate Reality and Its Practice, New Delhi, 2017.

2014

Pranshu Samdarshi, “The Tibetan Book of Dead: Understanding the Perception of Death Through Bārdo-Thöḍol”, in International Conference on “Perception of Life and Death: Japan and India”, University of Delhi, Delhi, 2014.

2014

Pranshu Samdarshi, “The Religious Syncretism of Buddhism and Hinduism: Textual and Empirical Study of Convergence of Śākta, Śaiva, Vaiṣṇava, and Buddhist Traditions in Nepal”, in The 2nd International Conference on “Dhamma-Dharma: Nature, Source and Relevance of Dharma-Dhamma Traditions”, Bhopal, 2014.

2011

Pranshu Samdarshi, “Female Buddhas: The cult of Pañcarakşā in Tantric Buddhism”, in The 5th international conference on “the Buddhist Heritage of Nepal Mandala”, Kathmandu, Nepal, 2011.

2011

Pranshu Samdarshi, “Vajrayoginī Practices in Kathmandu Valley”, in International Conference, University of Delhi, Delhi, 2011.

Publication Type: Book

Year of Publication Title

2019

Pranshu Samdarshi, Spatial and Architectural Constructs of Tantric Buddhist Mandalas: A Cognitive Approach, in Eloquent Spaces: Meaning and Community in Early Indian Architecture. London: Routledge, 2019.

2019

Pranshu Samdarshi, Buddhist Tantra: Methodology and Historiography. New Delhi: SABHI (Students for the Awareness of Buddhist Heritage of India), 2019.[Abstract]


This book analyses our conventional ways of looking at Buddhism in general and Buddhist tantra in particular. It investigates how the frameworks and structures that were developed for European and Biblical studies have been deployed to interpret various facets of Buddhism. Many such models that still dominate the historical imagination of Buddhist studies have been examined in this book. This book also proposes an alternative approach towards the Buddhist studies and advocates incorporating the critical study of tantra texts from the perspective of traditional accounts.

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2017

Pranshu Samdarshi, Female Buddhas: Sacred Feminine Imagery in Buddhist Tantra. New Delhi: Rachna Publishers, 2017.

Publication Type: Journal Article

Year of Publication Title

2018

Pranshu Samdarshi, “Asia. Nalanda Srivijaya and beyond: Re-exploring Buddhist art in Asia Edited by Gauri Parimoo Krishnan Singapore: Asian Civilisation Museum 2017”, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, vol. 49, no. 2, pp. 323-325, 2018.[Abstract]


Asia. Nalanda Srivijaya and beyond: Re-exploring Buddhist art in Asia Edited by Gauri Parimoo Krishnan Singapore: Asian Civilisations Museum, 2017. Pp. 296. Maps, Plates, Notes, Bibliography, Index. - Volume 49 Issue 2 - Pranshu Samdarshi

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2017

Pranshu Samdarshi, “‘हिंदी साहित्य पर बौद्ध धर्म-दर्शन का प्रभाव’ (Buddhist Influence on Modern Hindi Literature)”, vol. 26, p. 4, 2017.[Abstract]


आधुनिक हिंदी साहित्य की विधिवत शुरूआत 19वीं शताब्दी के उत्तरार्ध से हुई है और लगभग यही समय भारत में लुप्तप्राय बौद्ध धर्म के पुनर्जागरण-काल का भी है। इस समय जेम्स प्रिंसेप और अलेक्जेन्डर कनिंघम जैसे पुरातत्वविदों और मैक्समूलर जैसे उदभट संस्कृत विद्वानों के सत्प्रयास से बौद्ध धर्म के तीर्थस्थलों, स्मारकों व पाली एवं संस्कृत बौद्ध साहित्य का पुनरुद्धार हुआ। भारत में भी बौद्ध धर्म के इस पुनर्जागरण का श्रेय कुछ हद तक पाश्चात्य-जगत को जाता है जिसने इसमें रूचि ली और बौद्ध धर्म से सम्बन्धित स्थलों व साहित्य का परिष्कार किया। बुद्ध धर्म के इस पुनर्जागरण ने हिंदी जान-मानस को भी प्रभावित किया। ईश्वरवाद और आत्मवाद के अनिच्छुक इस धर्म दर्शन के समन्वयवादी रूप ने आधुनिक हिंदी साहित्य को एक नयी स्फूर्ति और चेतना दी लेकिन फिर भी एक बात स्पष्ट है कि आरंभिक दौर के आधुनिक हिंदी युग के कवि और रचनाकार भले ही अपनी रचनाओं की पृष्ठभूमि के रूप में कुछ प्रेरणा ली हो पर उनकी रचनाओं पर बौद्ध दर्शन के मूलभूत दार्शनिक सिद्धान्तों का प्रभाव अत्यंत अल्प था और जो कुछ भी दार्शनिक पृष्ठभूमि इनके रचनाओं में परिलक्षित हुई वह बौद्ध धर्म के तुलना में बौद्ध दर्शन से कुछ हद तक साम्यता रखने वाले औपनिषदिक दर्शन के अधिक निकट थी। संभवतः उनमें से अधिकांश बौद्ध धर्म के सैद्धांतिक स्वरूप से उस स्तर पर परिचित नहीं हो पाये थे जिस स्तर पर आज हुआ जा सकता है। वर्त्तमान समय में बौद्ध धर्म-दर्शन के वृहद् साहित्य के प्रकाश में आ जाने से समकालीन हिंदी साहित्य धारा से को एक नई गति मिली है, फिर भी इस तथ्य को नकारा नहीं जा सकता कि यह धारा वर्तमान राजनीतिक प्रभाव से अछूती रही है।बौद्ध दर्शन के मूल स्वर की उपेक्षा कर यह साहित्य-धारा बुध्द के दर्शन के बुनियादी सैद्धांतिक मूल्यों को नकारती रही है। बुद्ध को मतवाद व पंथवाद की संकीर्णता में बांधकर उनकी देशना के दार्शनिक पक्ष को नजरअंदाज कर, प्रायः उन्हें भौतिकवादी समाज सुधारक के रूप में प्रस्तुत किया जा रहा है। बुद्ध के दर्शनका सम्यक अध्ययन जीवन-दर्शन मूलतः आत्ममुक्ति के उदघोष का है।वह भौतिकवाद ओर संसार से पलायन, इन दोनों अतियों को नकार कर मध्यम-मार्ग का उपदेश है। यह दर्शन मानव को आत्मग्राही दृष्टि ओर आत्मकेंद्रितता से मुक्त कर,उसे परार्थ हित में समर्पित कर,जीवन को एक नया अर्थ देने का है । बौद्ध धर्म के इस पक्ष की ओर अभी हिंदी साहित्कारों की दृष्टि सामान्यतः नहीं गयी है।

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2016

Pranshu Samdarshi, “'Yoginis as Goddesses’ (Book Review of Anamika Roy’s Sixty-Four Yoginis: Cult, Icons and Goddesses, Primus Books, 2015)”, Frontline, vol. 32, no. 26, pp. 86-87, 2016.[Abstract]


CERTAIN scholarly habits, once ingrained, are difficult to change, especially when they have yielded some plausible interpretative models, which have been used consistently and are rarely subjected to further critical analysis. The search for “origins” is one such habit that can be clearly seen within the domain of studies on religion and its history in India. In order to contextualise religious traditions in their sociopolitical, cultural and material milieu, scholars often get fixated on some well-trodden origin theory so that those traditions can be appropriated to justify their ideology. Although Anamika Roy’s Sixty-four Yoginis is a meticulously researched book, its effect is somewhat mitigated by a similar display of scholarly repetition or redundancy. One of the main themes of this book, which recur in several chapters, is the positing of cultic and tribal origins of Yoginis.

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2014

Pranshu Samdarshi, “The Concept of Goddesses in Buddhist Tantra Traditions”, Delhi University Journal of Humanities and Social Science, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 87-99, 2014.[Abstract]


Tantra has been integral part of several ancient Indic–religious traditions. Its roots are very old, presumably as old as the Mohenjodaro civilization. All of the tantra traditions had a live engagement with the feminine divine. Like other religions in India, Buddhism too has an affiliation with female divinities. The Vajrayāna tradition especially is pervaded with a diverse range of feminine imagery. In Buddhist tantra the symbolism of tantric goddesses and their practices is backed by profound philosophical doctrines. However, unlike other religious tradition, the non-theistic framework of Buddhism does not consider the intrinsic existence of tantric goddesses and their appearance and practices are meant to serve the purpose of transcending all sorts of dualistic thoughts for attaining enlightenment. This paper inquires into the evolution of tantra in different religious traditions in general, and in Buddhism in particular. The focal point of the discussion is the practices of goddesses in Buddhist tantra. The interaction and influence of other religious traditions on Buddhism too is pointed out. On the one hand this paper explores textual sources for explaining abstract appearances and unusual practices associated with tantric goddesses and on the other, the functional aspects of tantric goddesses in ancient religious settings. The neo-orientalist interpretation of tantra as given by Western scholars is examined to point out their misinterpretations of tantric symbols and rituals. After documenting some of the diverse traditions of goddesses within tantric cults, this paper makes an effort to find harmony between the overlapping layers of popular belief and the profound philosophy of Buddhist tantrism.

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