The Path of Desire

The Path of Desire
A provocative study of contemporary Tantra as a dynamic living tradition.

Tantra, one of the most important religious currents in South Asia, is often misrepresented as little more than ritualized sex. Through a mixture of ethnography and history, Hugh B. Urban reveals a dynamic living tradition behind the sensationalist stories. Urban shows that Tantric desire goes beyond the erotic, encompassing such quotidian experiences as childbearing and healing. He traces these holistic desires through a series of unique practices: institutional Tantra centered on gurus and esoteric rituals; public Tantra marked by performance and festival; folk Tantra focused on magic and personal well-being; and popular Tantra imagined in fiction, film, and digital media. The result is a provocative new description of Hindu Tantra that challenges us to approach religion as something always entwined with politics and culture, thoroughly entangled with ordinary needs and desires.

Publication Date: 
March 27, 2024