SBS Special Lecture: Dharma Patanjala: A Saiva Scripture from Ancient Java

February 1, 2017

Dr. Andrea Acri, Maître de Conférences in Tantric Studies at École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris delivered a lecture in the School of Buddhist Studies Special Lecture series titled “Dharma Patanjala: A Saiva Scripture from Ancient Java” on January 31, 2017.

This lecture explored the Dharma Pātañjala which is an Old Javanese-Sanskrit Śaiva scripture transmitted through a single palm- leaf codex of West Javanese origin dating to before the 15th century AD. Dr. Andrea explained that the text fills a gap in our knowledge of Śaiva theology and philosophy in pre-Islamic Indonesia and also casts light on the origin and development of Śaivism in the Indian Subcontinent. The author of the Dharma Pātañjala adopted a variety of Pātañjala aṣṭāṅgayoga instead of the Śaiva ṣaḍaṅgayoga that is common in other Old Javanese texts, and attuned it to a Śaiva doctrinal framework. When elaborating his hybrid system, the author followed a commentarial tradition to the Sanskrit Yogasūtras that is closely related, yet not identical, to that of the Yogasūtrabhāṣya. 

In the course of his talk, Dr Acri  launched the second (South Asian) edition of his monograph Dharma Patanjala: A Saiva Scripture from Ancient Java, published by Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi, in January 2017. The book presents a thoroughly revised critical edition, English translation, and study of the Dharma Pātañjala, whose doctrines are discussed in the light of related Old Javanese texts from Java and Bali, and Sanskrit texts from the Indian Subcontinent.

Dr. Andrea Acri while delivering the lecture

 Dr. Andrea Acri delivering the lecture at Nalanda University 

Bio-Sketch of Dr. Andrea Acri

Andrea Acri was trained at Leiden University (Ph.D. 2011, MA 2006) and at the University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ (Laurea degree, 2005). He is Maître de Conférences in Tantric Studies at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris, France. Prior to joining EPHE, he has been Visiting Assistant/Associate Professor at Nalanda University in 2016 and, since 2013, Visiting Fellow at the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre, ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute (Singapore). He has spent several years in Indonesia and held postdoctoral research fellowships in the Netherlands, Australia, the UK, and Singapore. He has received competitive grants and awards by the Arcadia Foundation/British Library, the Australian Government/Research Council, and the American Academy of Religion. His main research and teaching interests are Śaiva and Buddhist Tantric traditions, Hinduism and Indian Philosophy, Yoga traditions, Sanskrit and Old Javanese philology, and the comparative religious and intellectual history of South and Southeast Asia from the premodern to the contemporary period. Besides the Dharma Pātañjala, his publications include the edited volumes Esoteric Buddhism in Maritime Asia (2016, ISEAS Publishing), From Laṅkā Eastwards (2011, KITLV Press, co-edited with Helen Creese and Arlo Griffiths), special issues of the International Journal of Hindu Studies (2013, Springer) and the Journal of Hindu Studies (2014, Oxford University Press), and several articles in peer-reviewed scholarly journals.

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