Jainism, which arose in India more than 2500 years ago, states that the soul is eternal: it has never been created nor can it ever be destroyed. The soul becomes cloaked, birth after birth, with karmas that obscure its true nature. The utmost task for the human being entails purifying oneself of karma through untying its many knots that bind the soul, masking its innate energy, consciousness, and bliss. One technique to guarantee a better life in the next birth is (...) to die a conscious death through a systematic process of fasting, entering into a state of dehydration. This highly regulated practice, pursued by monks, nuns, and laypersons who have gone through a rigorous period of internal reflection and external assessment before embarking on this path, provides a peaceful way to embrace death. Known as sallekhana or santara, it has recently been challenged in the courts as a form of suicide, an illegal practice, though for the Jain community it remains an important option through which one can express religious faith. (shrink)
Primary titles in the area of Jaina philosophy are identified, focusing on English-language materials published in the twentieth century. Included is a brief survey of individual books and book series, with more extensive commentary on two important books published within the past five years: Nathmal Tatia's translation of Umāsvāti's "Tattvārthasūtra" (That Which Is) and Nagin J. Shah's translation of Nyāyavijayaji's "Jaina Darsana" (Jaina philosophy and religion).
In the past decade, many diploma and degree programs in Yoga Studies and Yoga Therapy have opened throughout India. This article provides an overview of the origins of these programs and their curriculum at the level of the bachelor and master degrees. It also includes brief descriptions of visits to fourteen universities and specialized institutes dedicated to the study of Yoga. It concludes with some reflections on the history, context, and future prospects for this emerging academic discipline.