Kapila: Founder of Samkhya & Avatara of Visnu With A Translation of Kapilasurisamvada

Kapila: Founder of Samkhya & Avatara of Visnu With A Translation of Kapilasurisamvada

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About the Author


Knut A Jacobsen is Professor in the History of Religions at the University of Bergen, Norway, and author or editor of fifteen books and more than sixty articles in journals and edited volumes on various aspects on religions in South Asia and in the South Asian diasporas. He is the author of Prakrti in Samkhya-Yoga: Material Principle, Religious Experience. Ethical Implications (1999; Indian edition, 2002). Recent publications include the edited volumes, South Asians in the Diaspora: Histories and Religious Traditions (2004) (with P. Pratap Kumar); Theory and Practice of Yoga: Essays in Honour of Gerald James Larson (2005); and South Asian Religions on Display: Religious Processions in South Asia and in the Diaspora (2008).


About the Book


In the Hindu tradition Kapila is admired and worshipped as a philosopher, a divinity, an avatara of Visnu and as a powerful ascetic. This book is the first monographic study of this important figure. The book deals with Kapila in the Veda, the Sramana traditions, the Epics and the Puranas, in the Samkhya system of religious thought and in the ritual traditions of many contemporary Hindu traditions. Kapila is an important figure in the sacred geography of India and the study of the rituals and narrative traditions of the firthas of Kapila is an important contribution of this book. The book also contains a translation into English of the text Kapilasurisamvada, Kapila's teaching of Asuri, found in a few manuscripts of the Southern recension of the Mahabharata.


Kapila refers to a pluralistic phenomenon. The Kapilas in the Hindu tradition can't be reduced to a single figure. In general, pluralism characterizes the religious traditions and religious life in South Asia, ancient, medieval, modern as well as contemporary. Openness for the greatest possible plurality is therefore often a good way to approach religion in South Asia. This is the case also with the study of Kapila. The approach of the book therefore is pluralistic.


Knut A. Jacobsen is Professor in the History of Religions at the University of Bergen, Norway, and author or editor of fifteen books and more than sixty articles in journals and edited volumes on various aspects on religions in South Asia and in the South Asian diasporas. He is the author of Prakrti in Samkhya-Yoga: Material Principle, Religious Experience. Ethical Implications (1999; Indian edition, 2002). Recent publications include the edited volumes, South Asians in the Diaspora: Histories and Religious Traditions (2004) (with P. Pratap Kumar); Theory and Practice of Yoga: Essays in Honour of Gerald James Larson (2005); and South Asian Religions on Display: Religious Processions in South Asia and in the Diaspora (2008).

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About the Author


Knut A Jacobsen is Professor in the History of Religions at the University of Bergen, Norway, and author or editor of fifteen books and more than sixty articles in journals and edited volumes on various aspects on religions in South Asia and in the South Asian diasporas. He is the author of Prakrti in Samkhya-Yoga: Material Principle, Religious Experience. Ethical Implications (1999; Indian edition, 2002). Recent publications include the edited volumes, South Asians in the Diaspora: Histories and Religious Traditions (2004) (with P. Pratap Kumar); Theory and Practice of Yoga: Essays in Honour of Gerald James Larson (2005); and South Asian Religions on Display: Religious Processions in South Asia and in the Diaspora (2008).


About the Book


In the Hindu tradition Kapila is admired and worshipped as a philosopher, a divinity, an avatara of Visnu and as a powerful ascetic. This book is the first monographic study of this important figure. The book deals with Kapila in the Veda, the Sramana traditions, the Epics and the Puranas, in the Samkhya system of religious thought and in the ritual traditions of many contemporary Hindu traditions. Kapila is an important figure in the sacred geography of India and the study of the rituals and narrative traditions of the firthas of Kapila is an important contribution of this book. The book also contains a translation into English of the text Kapilasurisamvada, Kapila's teaching of Asuri, found in a few manuscripts of the Southern recension of the Mahabharata.


Kapila refers to a pluralistic phenomenon. The Kapilas in the Hindu tradition can't be reduced to a single figure. In general, pluralism characterizes the religious traditions and religious life in South Asia, ancient, medieval, modern as well as contemporary. Openness for the greatest possible plurality is therefore often a good way to approach religion in South Asia. This is the case also with the study of Kapila. The approach of the book therefore is pluralistic.


Knut A. Jacobsen is Professor in the History of Religions at the University of Bergen, Norway, and author or editor of fifteen books and more than sixty articles in journals and edited volumes on various aspects on religions in South Asia and in the South Asian diasporas. He is the author of Prakrti in Samkhya-Yoga: Material Principle, Religious Experience. Ethical Implications (1999; Indian edition, 2002). Recent publications include the edited volumes, South Asians in the Diaspora: Histories and Religious Traditions (2004) (with P. Pratap Kumar); Theory and Practice of Yoga: Essays in Honour of Gerald James Larson (2005); and South Asian Religions on Display: Religious Processions in South Asia and in the Diaspora (2008).

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