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Photo of one of Priya Ravish Mehra's artworks.
Photo of one of Priya Ravish Mehra’s artworks

The aim of this forum is to provide space for active, profound and creative reflection based not only on the expertise of each participant, but also on an ability to go beyond his or her own field of knowledge and action, thus contributing to a dynamics of thinking in which:

1. There is no absolute separation between objectivity and subjectivity, knowledge and self-reflection. The inter-space between these two poles can be viewed as where reflection takes risks and engages itself in a transformative process.

2. Each act of thinking, if carried out in full awareness of its conditions and consequences, means putting oneself “at risk” (through the adventure of experiment, the possibility of critique, the difficulty of true questions and the precariousness of genuine answers).

3. The exercise of interaction does not stop at the usual limits imposed by the constitutive and regulative rules of each participant’s culture. Interaction pushed beyond conventional limits is always a gain for each individual involved in the discussion and also for the group as a whole.

This forum intends to do justice to Alain Daniélou’s vision, for which certain prejudices have to be avoided:

1. The academic prejudice, which judges according to scholarly standards typical of the modern Western world. Scholarship is an instrument, not an end in itself.

2. The esoteric prejudice, which denies all possibility of opening up the horizon of understanding through intellectual discussion and believes in a secret message just for a few. The belief that affirming a truth suffices to impose it constitutes one of the roots of human ignorance.

3. The post-modern prejudice, which takes the most basic form of hedonism for cosmic revelation (missing the whole point of the latter) and very often exhibits a pseudo-critical attitude to human existence in general, thus preventing any form of genuine understanding.

Against these prejudices three main approaches form the core of FIND intellectual dialogue:

1. Dynamism of spirit leading to creative exchanges and trans-disciplinary results. There are sources of knowledge, but the very plurality of disciplines makes it a transversal art.

2. Awareness of the tensions and relativities in each conception of truth with regard to its contexts and its history of effects. The greatest fidelity to truth is permanent work at its point of rupture.

3. Determination to overcome the limitations of conformist patterns, dominant trends and the superficialities of rhetorical opportunism.

Workshop 2016: “Transversality in Hinduism” (11-13 November, 2016)

FIND Forum “Transcultural Encounters 2016” will host FIND’s Grantees of 2015 and 2016 who are working on subjects related to Hinduism, in order to pursue the question of transversality within the framework of a three-day workshop.

The concept of “transversality” can be understood as a variation on the subject of FIND’s Forum last year: “differences”, since the logic of transversality, in spite of joining heterogeneous elements, allows no synthetizing sublation in an identitary grid. Coined in the field of mathematics, this notion is generic, non-linear and dynamic: it seeks connections in multiplicity, the creation of space is not limited to logical frameworks, and the notion itself is intrinsically linked to the most complex modality of becoming. However, it cannot be said that there is no “logic” of transversality, since another “order” emerges when the dynamics of transversality are exposed.

In this sense FIND’s Forum proposes an exploration of transversal values, practices and events in Hinduism. How does aesthetics relate to soteriology? Is there a cultural model differential to both the democratic and the nationalistic that includes nevertheless elements of both? What is the intersection of the experiential spaces of extase and enstase in the religious practices and conceptions of Hinduism? Can tradition be reshaped in artistic form through modern and/or feminine schemes? Can knowledge be only ascribed to certain social layers in the practice of the Hindu religion? Is there a differential metaphysics in Hinduism with regard to the West?

The workshop Transversality in Hinduism will also open up a space of debate on a possible application of the notion of transversality in the work of Alain Daniélou, especially his relationship with issues like the caste system, the dynamics of tradition, the value of orthodoxy and the politics of difference. Last but not least, Alain Daniélou will also be considered as a “fictional author”.

Participants and subjects of discussion

Linda Valle (FIND Grantee 2015): Psychological doctrine of kañcuka-s: the interaction between desire and knowledge.
Himadri Ketu (FIND Grantee 2015, PhD candidate University of Munich): Swāmī Karpātrī’s cultural model for India, tertium comparationis between democratization and nationalism?
Samhita Arni (FIND Grantee 2015, writer): Another approach to epic poetry: the feminine perspective and the limits of tradition.
Fabrizia Baldissera (Prof. of Sanskrit Literature, University of Florence) and Stephen Roach (photographer): Mandalas, Chakras and the Resilency of the Circular Icon in Contemporary Indian Imagery.
Aleksandra Wenta (FIND Grantee 2016, PhD candidate in Oriental Studies, University of Oxford, Assistant Professor in Buddhist Studies, Philosophy and Comparative Religions at Nalanda University, India): enstatic and ecstatic forms of knowledge in the Indian philosophical and religious traditions: intersection or divergence?
Patricia Obermeyer (FIND Grantee 2016, PhD candidate Comparative Religion University of Munich): Pañcakṛtya and cyclic movements of existence: transversal perspective on Alain Daniélou’s life.
Adrián Navigante (FIND Director of Research and Intellectual Dialogue): Alain Daniélou’s approach to Hinduism: a transversal logic of orthodoxy and testimony.
Anne Prunet (FIND President of the Advisory Board): Transversality in Alain Daniélou as a fiction author.

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