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Karma Samnyasa: Sarkar's Reconceptualization of Indian Asceticism

Journal of Asian and African Studies , Volume 34 (1): 139 – Jan 1, 1999


Sage Publications
Copyright © 1999 by SAGE Publications
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Karma Samnyasa: Sarkar's Reconceptualization of Indian Asceticism


In this article, we explore P.R. Sarkar's contribution to asceticism, particular his concept of karma samnyasa. Sarkar enjoins the yogi with eyes firmly fixed on the supreme to engage in a politics of social liberation. In this transformative practice, he does not ally himself to shaman or brahmin priest; rather, Sarkar imagines and through his social and spiritual movements, intends on creating the sadvipra — the person with the balanced mind. It is this critical reading of Tantra — as spiritual and social liberation — that extends him beyond Aurobindo and Gandhi, taking him outside the Vedic orbit as well as outside the nationalistic politics of the BJP.
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