This research project has been well-progressed and the draft of a book entitled “Ideals of the Body in Indian
Socio-religious History” is completed. This work is divided into three parts. The first part deals with early
stage on metaphors of the body. Starting from the Rig Veda, the body as a powerful metaphor of social organism is solemnly proclaimed. The birth of four social classes (var?a), as articulated vigorously in RV 10:90, bequeaths a lasting legacy to Indian. In early Upani?ads, the body has transformed itself into ?tman and its cosmic bandhu-brahman also gains a new dimension. The religious-philosophical contemplation on the connection between the body and the universe has become intellectual climate of this period. During the Vedic period, consistent employment of the body as a meaningful metaphor shows the triumph of the
Brahmanical orthodoxy and orthopraxy. The ideal of the body receives a serious setback with the advent of ?ramanism. Early Buddhism and Jainism, with its ultimate concern for the liberation from worldly existence,
consider the body as a symbol of impurity and impermanence. To be sure, the body, with its deeply-rooted link with desire and attachment, has to be disciplined. Thus, early Buddhism lays emphasis on the cultivation of the intentness of mind (sati)，especially constant guard on the body, the sensations the mind and phenomena (catt?ro satipa??h?n? bh?vit?). Thus, wakefulness of mind on the body to realize the impermanence of all things (k?yagat? sati) is a practice that a mendicant has to dedicate. Detachment from
the world, especially things associated with the body, is the convinced way to mok?a. The second part deals with Bhakti and Tantra. The ?vet??vatara Upani?ad and the Bhagavad G?t? will be our starting points. The rise of Bhakti and Tantra movement in medieval India gives the role of the body in a new perspective. In both traditions, the body is to be united with the ??vara through taking refuge with him or practicing rituals and visualization. For a follower of Bhakti Yoga, bestowing one’s unshakable devotion to the deity is the definitive way of salvation. Taking refuge with the deity requires unstinting dedication for a devotee, in mind and heart. In Tantrism, as ??vara is the incarnation of ?akti, a Tantric practitioner’s body is also divinized to become a vessel of the divinity.