About Raj Balkaran

Dr. Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Indian mythology and seasoned online educator. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom where he delivers original courses applying Indian wisdom teachings to modern life. Beyond teaching, speaking and research, Dr. Balkaran runs a thriving one-on-one life guidance practice and serves as McMaster University’s Chaplain of Indian Spirituality. See https://rajbalkaran.com for more information.

Raj Balkaran is a scholar of Sanskrit narrative texts. He teaches at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at his own virtual School of Indian Wisdom. For information see rajbalkaran.com.

Raj's website

NBN Episodes hosted by Raj:

Bernardo Kastrup, "Analytic Idealism in a Nutshell: A Straightforward Summary of the 21st Century's Only Plausible Metaphysics" (Iff Books, 2024)

May 24, 2024

Analytic Idealism in a Nutshell

Bernardo Kastrup
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

Is reality more than the material? Raj Balkaran holds a fascinating interview with philosopher Bernardo Kastrup on this topic. At the vanguard of the …

Stephen Phillips, "The Metaphysics of Meditation: Sri Aurobindo and Adi-Sakara on the Isa Upanisad" (Bloombury, 2024)

May 23, 2024

The Metaphysics of Meditation

Stephen Phillips
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

In The Metaphysics of Meditation: Sri Aurobindo and Adi-Sakara on the Isa Upanisad (Bloombury, 2024), Stephen Phillips focuses on one of the most impo…

Anusha Rao and Suhas Mahesh, "How to Love in Sanskrit" (HarperCollins, 2024)

May 16, 2024

How to Love in Sanskrit

Anusha Rao and Suhas Mahesh
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

How to Love in Sanskrit (HarperCollins, 2024) is an invitation to Sanskrit love poetry, bringing together verses and short prose pieces by celebrated …

Karen Pechilis et al. ed., "Devotional Visualities: Seeing Bhakti in Indic Material Cultures" (Bloomsbury, 2023)

May 9, 2024

Devotional Visualities

Karen Pechilis, Amy-Ruth Holt et al. ed.
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

Devotional Visualities: Seeing Bhakti in Indic Material Cultures (Bloomsbury, 2023) is the first to focus on material visualities of bhakti imagery th…

Nancy M. Martin, "Mirabai: The Making of a Saint" (Oxford UP, 2023)

May 2, 2024

Mirabai

Nancy M. Martin
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

Mirabai, an iconic sixteenth-century Indian poet-saint, is renowned for her unwavering love of God, her disregard for social hierarchies and gendered …

Kenneth R. Valpey, "Cow Care in Hindu Animal Ethics" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019)

April 30, 2024

Cow Care in Hindu Animal Ethics

Kenneth R. Valpey
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

What does cow care in India have to offer modern Western discourse animal ethics? Why are cows treated with such reverence in the Indian context? Join…

Purushottama Bilimoria et al., "Contemplative Studies and Jainism: Meditation, Prayer, and Veneration" (Routledge, 2023)

April 25, 2024

Contemplative Studies and Jainism

Purushottama Bilimoria, Cogen Bohanec, and Rita D. Sherma
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

Contemplative Studies and Jainism: Meditation, Prayer, and Veneration (Routledge, 2023) is one of the first wide-ranging academic surveys of the maj…

Robert P. Goldman and Sally J. Sutherland Goldman, "The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki: The Complete English Translation" (Princeton UP, 2022)

April 18, 2024

The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki

Robert P. Goldman and Sally J. Sutherland Goldman
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki, the monumental Sanskrit epic of the life of Rama, ideal man and incarnation of the great god Visnu, has profoundly affected t…

Sanskrit Study: A Conversation with Antonia Ruppel

April 12, 2024

Sanskrit Study

Antonia Ruppel
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

A candid conversation with renowned Sanskritist and online teacher Antonia Ruppel on her love of the language, teaching philosophy, views on academia,…

Peter Scharf, "Ramopakhyana - the Story of Rama in the Mahabharata" (The Sanskrit Library, 2023)

April 11, 2024

Ramopakhyana: The Story of Rama in the Mahabharata

Peter Scharf
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

Consisting of about 25,000 verses in Valmiki's Rāmāyaṇa, the story of Rāma was summarized in 704 verses in eighteen chapters in the Rāmopākhyāna, whic…

Tantra: A New Understanding

April 10, 2024

Tantra: A New Understanding

Gavin Flood
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

Professor Gavin Flood of Oxford University discusses new insights on tantra to be released in an upcoming publication stemming from his Continuing Stu…

Translating a Śrī Vidyā Text: The Cidvilāsastava of Amṛtānanda

April 5, 2024

Translating a Śrī Vidyā Text

Brian Campbell
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

The Cidvilāsastava of Amṛtānanda (fl. c. 1325-1375) one of the most comprehensive treatments of the esoteric contemplation of ritual found within the …

Patrick Olivelle, "Ashoka: Portrait of a Philosopher King" (Yale UP, 2024)

April 4, 2024

Ashoka

Patrick Olivelle
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

Ashoka: Portrait of a Philosopher King (Yale UP, 2024) is the first biography of the great Emperor Ashoka relying solely on his own words. Ashoka soug…

Pravina Rodrigues, "A Sakta Method for Comparative Theology: Upside Down, Inside Out" (Lexington, 2023)

March 28, 2024

A Sakta Method for Comparative Theology

Pravina Rodrigues
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

Pravina Rodrigues' book A Sakta Method for Comparative Theology: Upside Down, Inside Out (Lexington, 2023) discusses the issue of the missing Hindu in…

Shakuntala Gawde, "Narrative Analysis of Bhagavata Purana: Selected Episodes from the Tenth Skandha" (Dev Publishers, 2023)

March 21, 2024

Narrative Analysis of Bhagavata Purana

Shakuntala Gawde
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

Shakuntala Gawde's book Narrative Analysis of Bhagavata Purana: Selected Episodes from the Tenth Skandha (Dev Publishers, 2023) presents an analytical…

Pankaj Jain and Jeffery D. Long, "Indian and Western Philosophical Concepts in Religion" (Rowman and Littlefield, 2023)

March 14, 2024

Indian and Western Philosophical Concepts in Religion

Pankaj Jain and Jeffery D. Long
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

Philosophical concepts are influential in the theories and methods to study the world religions. Even though the disciplines of anthropology and relig…

Religious Minorities Online

March 13, 2024

Religious Minorities Online

Erica Baffelli, Alexander van der Haven, and Michael Stausberg
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

Religious Minorities Online (RMO) is the premier academic resource on religious minorities worldwide, reflecting the state of the art in scholarship. …

Laurie L. Patton, "Who Owns Religion?: Scholars and Their Publics in the Late Twentieth Century" (U Chicago Press, 2019)

March 7, 2024

Who Owns Religion?

Laurie L. Patton
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

In Who Owns Religion?: Scholars and Their Publics in the Late Twentieth Century (U Chicago Press, 2019), scholar and noted university administrator La…

Open Access at Heidelberg Asian Studies Publishing (HASP)

March 6, 2024

Open Access at Heidelberg Asian Studies Publishing (HASP)

Hosted by Raj Balkaran

Learn about the fascinating Ethno-Indology series now published at Heidelberg Asian Studies Publishing which offers inexpensive peer-reviewed Open Acc…

Ina Marie Lunde Ilkama, "The Play of the Feminine" (HASP, 2023)

February 29, 2024

The Play of the Feminine

Ina Marie Lunde Ilkama
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

In Tamil Nadu, the nine-night autumnal Navarātri festival can be viewed as a celebration of feminine powers in association with the goddess. Ina Marie…

Knut A. Jacobsen, "The Oxford History of Hinduism: Hindu Diasporas" (Oxford UP, 2023)

February 22, 2024

The Oxford History of Hinduism

Knut A. Jacobsen
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

Knut A. Jacobsen's edited volume The Oxford History of Hinduism: Hindu Diaspora (Oxford UP, 2023) presents the histories and religious traditions of H…

Jeffery D. Long, "Perspectives on Reincarnation: Hindu, Christian, Scientific" (MDPI Books, 2019)

February 22, 2024

Perspectives on Reincarnation

Jeffery D. Long
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

What happens after you die? The book brings together fascinating theological and religious studies perspectives on a controversial yet pervasive idea:…

Michael Stausberg, "Religions, Mumbai Style: Events-Media-Spaces" (Oxford UP, 2023)

February 15, 2024

Religions, Mumbai Style

Michael Stausberg
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

Mumbai is generally recognized as an environment of extraordinary religious diversity. The city is known at one and the same time for a habitual cosmo…

Jeffery D. Long, "Discovering Indian Philosophy: An Introduction to Hindu, Jain and Buddhist Thought" (Bloomsbury, 2023)

February 8, 2024

Discovering Indian Philosophy

Jeffery D. Long
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

Jeffery D. Long's Indian Philosophy: An Introduction (Bloomsbury, 2023) helps readers discover how the many and varied schools of Indian thought can a…