Jeffrey Lidke on the Goddes, Nepal and the Sri Yantra (#45)

About the Guest:

Jeffrey S. Lidke earned his M.A. (1996) and Ph.D. (2000) in South Asia Religion and Philosophy from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Colorado (1990). He was a Fulbright Dissertation Fellow to Nepal in the 1996-97 academic year. During his graduate years, Lidke devoted himself to Sanskritic languages, both classical and vernacular, with training from several teachers, including Gerald Larson, Nandini Iyer and Sthaneshwar Timalsinsa. Currently, he is chair of the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Berry College where he has taught since 2003. After two years as editor for the Southeast Review of Asian Studies (SERAS), Lidke is now attending to the publication of his recent research on the neuroscience of contemplative practice as well as three book projects: the long overdue The Goddess Beyond and Within the Three Cities: Sakta Tantra and the Paradox of Power in Nepala-Mandala ; a textbook for Cognella Academic Publishing on the world’s religions titled World Religions: A 21st Century Primer, and a reissue of his first book Viśvarūpa Maṇḍir: A Study of Chaṅgu Nārāyaṇa, Nepal’s Most Ancient Pagoda (to appear in a newly titled, revised and updated edition, with proceeds going toward the rebuilding of Changu Narayan, one of several Nepalese UNESCO heritage sites severely damaged by the 2015 earthquake). Dr. Lidke’s publications and current projects can be found here:

In this episode, we discuss:

  1. Jeffrey’s motivations and personal experience that inspired him to write his book, The Goddess within and Beyond the Three Cities: Shakta Tantra and the Paradox of Power in Nepala-Mandala, and why he chose to focus on a Shakti centered tradition
  2. Who is the goddess of the text, what are the three cities and what is their significance
  3. How the triad of these three cities correlates with other triadic references found within various eastern texts, including sacred geometry and etymology
  4. The difference between a yantra and a mandala
  5. The importance in sacred geometry
  6. What’s unique about the Sarvāmnaya system in comparison to the many variants of the Shiva/Shakta traditions
  7. The chakra system as a medical tool and its place within the systems of tantra
  8. Ideas around the muladhara chakra and the goddess Lakshmi, and how they represent financial stability and abundance in both the Sarvāmnaya system and interpretations within western currency
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