Tantra Foundation brings “Time As A Landscape” wide open to the masses

Post-pandemic has been a difficult time everywhere, with new mutations emerging every now andthen, with an almost reboot of the economy with AI and industrial automation and more surprisinglycommunities across the world coming to terms with the harsh reality of the loss of lives, effects ofclimate change and the recession.

When a background like this is set, the urge to come up with fresh new ideas is the real challenge of the times, and a pioneer NGO, in the area of Tantric/Agamic Studies in India, Tantra Foundation, “A Centre for Traditional Learning, Creative Arts and Self Evolution” seems to redefine a new terrain and a pathway for the future. The Centre is the brainchild of Prof. (Dr.) Madhu Khanna, Chairperson and Founding Trustee. She is an acclaimed scholar of Hindu Shakta Tantra, author, curator, and truth-seeker. Described by the Sunday Times Magazine, London, (13th July 1997: p.40) as the ‘respectable public face of modern Tantra in India’, her early two books on art (published by Thames and Hudson, London) have run into twenty editions with translations in five languages.

Dr. Madhu Khanna is all set but ready to take this head-on with an array of cultural programs that not only talks about tantra and its ancient roots, but its modern adaptations to also how it can historically redefine this present moment of crisis, both collective and personal, with emerging ideas that put together a network of intermingling points inclusive of tantric philosophy, its art, music, poetry and dance together with modern scientific discoveries in neuroscience, consciousness studies, quantum science and cosmology. She says, sitting in her library curated for scholars of Indic studies which is open for research students: “This is a time teeming with opportunities to connect with a new breed of emerging scholars of Tantra whom she has mentored, musicians, artists, poets, scientists and those who are serious aspirants in spirituality. It’s been almost three decades 36 years since I received my did my PhD from Oxford University in the Shri Vidya tradition of Kashmir, one of the most
sophisticated streams of Shakta Tantra, which is a living tradition in India at a time it was almost unknown to the western world and to many here in the subcontinent. I pursued my studies under the close supervision of my Oxford mentor, PROF. Alexis Sanderson. I have worked on multiple projects under IGNCA, Palo Alto Research Center, and taught Indic studies at the Centre for Comparative Religion, Jamia Milia Islamia, started pioneer courses on Religion and Ecology, Arts and Gender studies and other universities in the west but, now this time I propose want to change the narrative and reclaim the wisdom of our long lost civilisation for tomorrows generation.

By throwing away the objective study of religion, civilisation and their arts in the dust heap of history India is poorer today by several centuries. The young generation of Indians is severely cut-off from their cultural roots because these subjects have remained outside the academic curricula in Indian universities. do something completely different. We have a new fresh young team of scholars, artists, and spiritual aspirants practitioners, who are well versed in the new technologies, and carry with them a depth of knowledge on philosophical visual arts, music, and poetry that can be disseminated to raise our awareness. They work with their heart and with an intelligence that is so symptomatic of the present time”. She has also launched CIASA – The Centre for Indic and Agamic Studies in Asia which is an academic initiative of Tantra Foundation, a non-profit educational Trust devoted to the preservation of the creative genius of Indic and Agamic heritage in India. The Tantra Foundation Library in New Delhi is a collection of 7000 books and rare archival documents primarily, but not exclusively, devoted to the literature of Tantras.


About the forthcoming programme series which will start this year with events in Kolkata, West Bengal in focus, Joy Roy Choudhury, Head of Communications of Tantra Foundation said: ” it is wonderful to work with Dr Khanna, I always feel at ease as she is more like a mentor, and, we are working very closely with a team of young scholars and our new associates M. Morrison and Apratim to map out the future events. My connection with Ma’am happened very surprisingly almost like Jung’s synchronicities and we share the same spiritual parampara or lineage. I think we are looking at a month-long event in Kolkata centred on the theme Time as A Changing Landscape and the Invocations to the Tantric Heritage for a Global Eco-synthesis. The event will showcase works of contemporary artists, Tantra aspirants, music performances, and poetry readings, along with innovative academic sessions on the literature and the arts of Tantra. It will also present the fast-losing history of topping up with an east-west knowledge transfer that happened in the 60s and 70s through the route of visual arts, music, and one that still mesmerized us or rather pampered us with the music of the Beatles, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan – his connection with the Bauls of Bengal etc. We will probably use an acoustic set up which will be overlapped between talks and discourses. The series as planned is a way of inviting new hope of cultural and economic synthesis as India gears up for a promising 6.0 to 6.8 per cent GDP growth slated for 2023-24. This event will be later hosted in Barbican in London and in Italy. More cities will be added as we move along. I am personally working on Sri Aurobindo’s concept of the emergence of Future Poetry together with strumming some of these songs from the 60s/70s.
Dr. Madhu Khanna pointed out that Tantra Foundation in December 2022 has launched a new the first of its kind Rural Children Library Programme, mainly for adivasi and rural children in Bamunara, Bardhman District in West Bengal, initiated by Shri Kunja, A Rural Centre for Eco-heritage and Green Consciousness, Tata Blue Scope, Pune and LK Jha Foundation, Pune. All these to her are “interlinked as we try to create new awareness based on cosmic unity and harmony revisioning new human-earth relationship of our fast-degrading environment on our planet. The multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural engagements are necessary to restore our inner and outer balance which has been disturbed by the pandemic. ” It is to be noted that M. Morrison who spends her non-office hours delving into Sri Vidya studies and practice, is also a Sri Vidya initiate from the same lineage as Dr. Khanna, so there is a common understanding and intelligence that is underlining these future projects in India and in
Europe and the US. She says that it will be revisiting the 60s and 70s minus the drug overload and now with a new awareness of global unity which makes people-to-people contact possible and challenges us to re-think/re-organize in a sustainable way.

Neela-Kali by M Morrison, 2012

A recent interaction with Ustad Zakir Hussain and the famous Jazz guitarist John McLaughlin on music and spirituality has given me extra motivation and inspiration to take this project forward says, Joy Roy Choudhury. To Apratim, who is working in the E-learning space, it is an opportunity to put together something creatively that has never been done before – a tapestry of children’s paintings, poetry, photography, and words of wisdom to help us evolve and become better human beings.
Tantra foundation is talking with various media partners, galleries, and corporate houses to team up with them in creating a series of programs. It will be a wonderful futuristic project where Kali Kirtan can be simultaneous with Dylan’s Mr Tambourine Man or Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock interfused with discourses on Tantra on the Edge: Inspirations and Experiments on Twentieth Century Art, curated by her that includes works of G.R. Santosh, Sohan Quadri, Biren De, Manu Parekh, Sunil Das and others, published by DAG (Delhi Art Gallery).

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