In this issue we are publishing two papers, “A Spirituality of Pleasure: Deciphering Vijñānabhairava Verse 68” by John R. Dupuche, and “Shaping the Italian Policy on the North-West Frontier: Giuseppe Tucci and the Limits of the Strategy of “Peripheral Destabilization” (1936-1943)” by Gianluca Pastori.
The paper “A Spirituality of Pleasure: Deciphering Vijñānabhairava Verse 68” by John. R. Dupuche is a detailed analysis of verse 68 of a key text of the so-called Kashmir Shivaism or Pratyabhijña. Dr. Dupuche is currently Senior lecturer, MCD University of Divinity and Honorary Fellow, Australian Catholic University, MCD University of Divinity. He has extensively published on Kashmir Shivaism, focusing on Abhinavagupta, and on Pratyabhijña and interreligious dialogue. His work includes Vers un tantra chrétien; la rencontre du Christianisme et du Shivaïsme du Cachemire (Melbourne: 2009), and Abhinavagupta: The Kula Ritual as elaborated in chapter 29 of the Tantraloka (Delhi, 2003). In 2012 Dupuche has published on the International Journal of Tantric Studies the paper “The “Scandalous” Tantric Hymn to Kālī Karpūrādi-stotra: an Unexpurgated Translation” (IJTS vol. 8, n. 1, June 22, 2012).
The paper “Shaping the Italian Policy on the North-West Frontier: Giuseppe Tucci and the Limits of the Strategy of “Peripheral Destabilization” (1936-1943)” by Gianluca Pastori focuses on the Italian policy in Afghanistan and along the British India's North-West frontier, and the role of the Italian Tantra scholar Giuseppe Tucci in establishing it. Dr. Pastori is currently Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan (Italy). His major fields of research include History of the British Empire under the Victorian and Edwardian age, and the Security Policy of North-West India. Among his publications “Steel and Blood. The Social Construction of Hedged Weapons Image in Late Nineteenth/Early Twentieth Century” (in K. Jones, G. Macola, D. Welch, A Cultural History of Firearms in the Age of Empire, Franham, 2013, pp. 149-162), and “Sir John Ramsay, AGG, and the Pacification of Makran (1911-14)” (in Acta of the XXXVI Congress of the International Commission of Military History, “Insurgency and Counterinsurgency: Irregular Warfare from 1800 to the Present”, Amsterdam, 2011, pp. 303-309).
A Spirituality of Pleasure: Deciphering Vijñānabhairava Verse 68
by John R. Dupuche
This heavily coded śloka from the tantric literature of Kashmir Shaivism has been misinterpreted and misused, to the detriment of the reputation of tantra in the West. This paper studies the original text and ancient commentaries, and elucidates the several levels of meaning of this arcane verse. It also looks at the various translations and commentaries in English, French, German, which do not bring out the full meaning of the text or contradict each other or gloss over problems or bend the verse to suit their agendas. As a result, this paper concludes that, far from being disreputable or trivial, the sloka describes a spirituality of pleasure in every-day life which is profound and important for our age.
Shaping the Italian Policy on the North-West Frontier: Giuseppe Tucci and the Limits of the Strategy of “Peripheral Destabilization” (1936-1943)
by Gianluca Pastori
Giuseppe Tucci played an important role in shaping Italian politics towards Asia under both Fascism and the Republic. In the Fascist period, Rome was a rally point for Asian nationalists such as Subhas Chandra Bose and Mohammad Iqbal Shedai. On the field, the Italian Legation in Kabul forged links with the frontier tribes to spread sedition along the North-West Frontier. Nonetheless, their joint efforts to fuel a strategy of “peripheral destabilization” proved unfruitful. Confirming Tucci’s opinion, the intellectuals and the Indian population were unwilling to replace the Raj with another foreign domination. If they wanted to free themselves from the British, «it was not to place someone else in their shoes» (Iqbal).