WILLIAM K. MAHONY (President)
Professor of Religion
Chair, Department of Religion
Davidson, North Carolina
Educated at Williams College (B.A.1973), Yale University (M.Div.1976) and the University of Chicago (Ph.D.1982), Professor Mahony's teaching, research and writing interests center on the religions of South Asia and particularly of India. A recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, Professor Mahony's latest publication is Exquisite Love: Heart-Centered Reflections on the Nārada Bhakti Sūtra (Anusara Press, 2010). A set of his extended reflections on the spiritual life based on selected sutras from this 10-11th century devotional text. Professor Mahony's other publications include The Artful Universe: An Introduction to the Vedic Religious Imagination (State University of New York Press, 1998) and, as co-author, Meditation Revolution: A History and Theology of the Siddha Yoga Lineage (Agama Press, 1997) as well as numerous articles and reviews in various journals.
He served as an editor and major contributor to the 16-volume Encyclopedia of Religion (Macmillan Press, 1987), which received the Hawkins Prize and the Dartmouth Medal from the American Library Association for the best work in any category of publishing.
In addition to serving as President and member of the Board of Directors of the Muktabodha Indological Research Institute, Professor Mahony has been a member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Religion and of its Executive Committee. He has also been the President of the American Academy of Religion Southeast Region and the Chairman of the Southeast Commission for the Study of Religion.
Professor Mahony travels frequently to India for research and teaching purposes. Over the years he has lived for extended periods in different regions of India and leads semester-long seminars in India for western college students and professors, during which time participants visit numerous sites of historical, archeological, cultural and religious significance. At Davidson he has received prestigious awards in recognition of his teaching abilities.
Monk & Scholar in Residence
An art historian by training, (M. A. University of London 1969), Swami Shantananda has been a monk, student and teacher of Siddha Yoga for 30 years. His area of specialty is Kashmir Shaivism. In addition to many articles on this non-dual philosophy, Swamiji has published The Splendor of Recognition, a commentary on the Kashmiri sage Kshemaraja's Pratyabhijnahrdayam.
Swami Shantananda has offered countless lectures, courses, workshops, and retreats around the world on meditation and Kashmir Shaivism. He was the director of the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Oakland, California, and has served as an officer of the SYDA Foundation, the international organization whose purpose is to protect, preserve, and facilitate the dissemination of the Siddha Yoga teachings. Swamiji develops teaching and learning events for the SYDA Foundation.
Former President of Vanguard Software Ltd.
Mr. Spier received a B.Sc. in Computer Science from the University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1973 and from that time has been active in the development of computer software.
In 1975 he was a member of the software team awarded the Queen's Award for Industry (UK) for developing the software to operate the first fully automated dairy in Europe. He was also active in early mini-computer operating system development and developed one of the early virtual memory management systems for mini-computers.
From 1980 until 1995 he was President of Vanguard Software Ltd., a Canadian software development company developing software for the Oil and Gas Industry.
From 1982 until 1987 Mr. Spier served as a member of the Curriculum Advisory Committee of the Department of Computer Science of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
From 1997 until the present he has worked for the SYDA Foundation and for Muktabodha. He was responsible for the technical development and software of the Muktabodha On-line Digital Library.
Mr. Spier was also extensively involved in the production of several of the Muktabodha publications. He was managing editor of "The Essence of the Supreme Truth, Paramarthasara", and was extensively involved in the production of the "Isvara-Pratyabhijna-Karika of Utpaladeva"
New York, NY
Having received her B.A. (2005) in Religious Studies and South Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago and her M.A. in the History of Religions from the University of Chicago Divinity School (2007), Elaine Fisher is currently completing her Ph.D. (expected 2013) in the field of South Asian Religions, in the department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies. at Columbia University. Her research, which makes use of numerous unpublished manuscript sources in a variety of scripts, focuses on unstudied philosophical and ritual texts produced by the Śaiva and Śākta communities of seventeenth-century south India.
She has travelled extensively throughout India and works with materials in Hindi, Persian, Tamil, Telugu, as well as in Sanskrit. In 2010-2011, she studied the history of Śaiva thought with the scholars at the Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient and the Institut français de Pondichéry. Her broad research interests include the history of south Indian Śaiva traditions, Śākta-Śaiva esoteric ritual traditions, such as the Śrīvidyā school of Śākta tantrism, and the changing nature of intellectual exchange and debate across the boundaries of sectarian communities in early modern south India.
PAUL E. MULLER-ORTEGA
Professor of Religion
University of Rochester
Rochester, New York
Considered a world authority on the Non-Dual Shaivism of Kashmir, Dr. Muller-Ortega was educated at Yale University (B.A. 1971) and the University of California in Santa Barbara (M.A. 1979, Ph.D. 1985). His areas of specialization include History and Phenomenology of Religions, Mysticism, and classical Sanskrit, with a special interest in Indic Religious Studies including Vedic Studies, Classical Indian Philosophy and Yoga Traditions.
In addition to publishing a wide selection of articles and book reviews, Dr. Muller-Ortega produced an audio tape of several versions of a famous set of Sanskrit sutras in the tradition of Kashmir Shaivism entitled Pratyabhijnahrdayam: Sutra Pronunciation. His book publications include The Triadic Heart of Shiva: Kaula Tantricism of Abhinavagupta in the non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir (State University of New York Press, 1988), and he coauthored Meditation Revolution: A History and Theology of the Siddha Yoga Lineage (Agama Press, 1997). His forthcoming books are entitled Linga Pilgrimage: Meditations on Siva as Consciousness, and Yogina Born: Tantraloka Studies and Reflections on the Hindu Tantra.
Since 1988, he has served as Editor for a series entitled Tantric Studies published by the State University of New York Press, and his extensive authorship of book forwards includes The Splendor of Recognition: An Exploration of the Pratyabhina Hrdayam by Swami Shantananda (SYDA Foundation, 2003) and The Yoga of Vibration and Divine Pulsation: A Translation of the Spanda Karikas with Kshemaraja's Commentary, the Spanda Nirnaya by Jaideva Singh (SUNY, 1992).
A recipient of several noteworthy fellowships and grants including a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant, he holds many professional memberships such as the American Oriental Society, American Academy of Religion, Society of Asian and Comparative Philosophy, Society for Tantric Studies (Member of Central Steering Committee), and the Association for Asian Studies.
Fomerly Professor of Religious Studies
St. Petersburg, Florida
Professor Bailly was educated at Rutgers University (B.A. 1976) and Columbia University in New York (M.A. 1980, M.Phil. 1980, Ph.D. 1983). She spent two years in India researching and translating manuscripts of sacred Sanskrit poetry. A Who's Who of American Women recipient, her wide-ranging teaching, research, and writing interests include tantrism, goddess worship, women in world religions, Native American spirituality, Kashmir Shaivism, and Sanskrit devotional poetry.
She is the author of Shaiva Devotional Songs of Kashmir: A Translation and Study of Utpaladeva's Shiva Stotravali (State University of New York Press, 1987; revised and republished in India by Sri Satguru Publications, 1991); Meditations on Shiva (State University of New York Press); and numerous articles, chapters, and book reviews.
She is a co-author of Meditation Revolution: A History and Theology of the Siddha Yoga Lineage (Agama Press, 1997), and she contributed the introductory essay to Swami Chidvilasananda's Inner Treasures.
In addition to serving as a member of Muktabodha's Academic Council since its inception, Dr. Bailly's professional and cultural affiliations include the American Academy of Religion (for which she served as Southeast Regional President) and Society for Tantric Studies (of which she is a founding member and steering committee member).
Awards received include a number of fellowships from Columbia University, and a Research Fellowship from the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan (National Institute of Sanskrit) in New Delhi, India. She serves as an editorial consultant for the State University of New York Press and Oxford University Press, and served as the editor of South Asian Religions for the Encyclopedia of Religion.
Dr. Bailly is currently working on Invoking Lakshmi: The Hindu Goddess of Prosperity in Song and Ceremony (Verse translation and explication of Sanskrit devotional poetry).
DR. T. N. DHARMADHIKARI
Retired Director of the Vaidika Samshodhana Mandala
Dr. Dharmadhikari is a renowned Vedic scholar, specializing in Shrauta ritual and the Taittiriya and Maitrayani Samhitas of the Krishna Yajur Veda. He has written many research articles and has created a three-volume descriptive catalogue of Sanskrit manuscripts. As Director of the Vaidika Samshodhana Mandala in Pune for 30 years, he made great efforts in collecting rare Vedic manuscripts, and creating a museum of utensils used in Vedic sacrifice. He was also an Instructor at Balmukund Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya.
In 2003, he received the Ved Vedang award from the National Ved Vidya Foundation for his contributions to the research and study of the Vedas. His forthcoming titles for publication with Muktabodha include a translation of Katiyani Ishti. His Ph.D. is from Pune University.
DR. D. B. SENSHARMA
Senior Research Fellow
Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture
During his distinguished career, Dr. SenSharma was Professor and Chairman of the Department of Sanskrit at Kurukshetra University, Director of the Institute of Sanskrit and Indological Studies, and Dean of Faculty of Indic Studies, and later a Senior Research Fellow at the Asiatic Society.
Dr. SenSharma's Ph.D. is from Banaras Hindu University. He was a long-time student and disciple of Gopinath Kaviraj, who was one of the leading experts of his time on the Shaiva and Shakta traditions. Dr. SenSharma is himself a renowned scholar of Kashmir Shaivism and Tantra Shastra. Among his dozens of academic works, he has published The Philosophy of Sadhana, (State University of New York Press), which examines Tantric sadhana (spiritual practice) in the light of shaktipata, or the descent of divine grace, and Aspects of Tantra Yoga (Natraj Publications House). His forthcoming publication with Muktabodha is a translation of Paramarthasara of Abhinavagupta with the Commentary of Yogaraja.
In 2006, Dr. SenSharma was chosen to receive the Certificate of Honor by the President of India for his lifetime contributions to the field of Sanskrit study.
David Katz, Ph.D. – President and Chairman of the Board
Professor of Neurosciences
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Tarun Desai – Chairman of the Board
Chairman & Managing Director Business Process Solutions