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Lucknow University to nurture interests in occult sciences by offering PhD on ‘Tantraagam’

Amid the few varsities offering a degree in Tantraagam, Banaras Hindu University is one of them.

Under the umbrella of Lucknow University's Sanskrit Department, the Abhinavagupt Institute of Aesthetics and Shaiva Philosophy will be offering PhD on 'Tantraagam'- the academic and philosophical derivations of the occult and Shaiva philosophy. This field of study was developed by 10th century Kashmiri philosopher Abhinavgupta and further, the institute will also offer diploma courses in aesthetics and 'Nāṭya Śāstra', which is an ancient treatise on dramaturgy. Anyone with a PG degree in Sanskrit will be able to pursue this PhD option and related diploma courses.

Topics of Tantraagam & Kashmiri Shaiva philosophy to be studied

The HOD of Abhinav Gupt Sansthan, Brijesh Shukla, stated that the institute is introducing a full-fledged paper on Shaiva philosophy and aesthetics at the post-graduation level in their M.A (Sanskrit) course. Additionally, starting from this upcoming session, the institute will be conducting doctoral studies in Sanskrit on the topic of Tantraagam and Kashmiri Shaiva philosophy.

Shukla further added that the subject is taught in only a handful of universities across the country and even Banaras Hindu University has provisions for a degree in Tantraagam. A total of 16 PhD seats are available in Sanskrit of which 5 seats will be offered within the framework of the Shaiva school, under which the research will be held on these two topics.

"Acharya Abhinavagupta, who studied all the schools of philosophy, is known for 'Tantraloka', an encyclopaedic treatise on all the philosophical and practical aspects of Trika and Kaula (also known as Kashmir Shaivism). A research on major works of Abhinavgupta will be conducted," he said.

Founded back in 1968, the institute has now been revamped

Abhinavagupt Institute of Aesthetics and Shaiva Philosophy was founded on August 5, 1968, by Prof KC Pandey- an expert in Shaivism who was profoundly inspired by the ideologies of Abhinavgupta. The institute had paved the way for scores of scholars in the 80s and 90s but it gradually became inoperative due to the retirement of professors and the dearth of accomplished applicants for the job. The institute has now been refurbished with help of government grants.

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