Sadhana Syllabus

I give you these precious words of wisdom; reflect on them and then do as you choose.
— Sri Krishna, Bhagavad Gita 18.63

The Sadhana Syllabus is an open-source directory of resources on a variety of topics relating to progressive Hinduism, from caste to environmental justice. Sadhana does not necessarily endorse the views expressed in each resource. However, we believe a diversity of intellectual perspectives is important in the movement to build a progressive Hinduism.

Some resources are double-counted because they span multiple topics.

The Sadhana Syllabus emerged from our 2018 Summer Reading Challenge. If you would like to submit a resource to the Syllabus, please email us at info@sadhana.org!

Table of Contents

  • Foundations for a Progressive Hinduism

  • The Bhakti Movement

  • Hindu Rituals

  • Hindu Scriptures

  • Hindu Epics & Mythology

  • Caste

  • Hindu Nationalism (Hindutva)

  • Poverty & Economic Justice

  • LGBTQ Identities

  • Feminism & Gender Equality

  • The Hindu Diaspora

  • Environmental Justice

  • Hinduism & Other Religions


foundations for a Progressive hinduism

  • Swami Agnivesh, “Reforming Hinduism From Within” (link)

  • B.R. Ambedkar, “Brahma, Dharma & Democracy: Another Hindu Riddle” (link)

  • Shailly Gupta Barnes, "Articulating a Hindu Theology of Liberation" (link)

  • "Clarion Calls for a Progressive Hinduism" (link)

  • J.A. Kasturi, Sunita Viswanath, Aminta Kilawan-Narine, and Rohan Narine, "A Progressive Hindu Approach to God" (link)

  • Balmurli Natrajan, "Letter to a Progressive Hindu" (link)

  • Balmurli Natrajan, "Searching for a Progressive Hindu/ism: Battling Mussolini’s Hindus, Hindutva, and Hubris" (link)

  • Anantanand Rambachan, A Hindu Theology of Liberation: Not-Two is Not One (SUNY Press)

  • Anantanand Rambachan, “A Hindu Theology of Human Flourishing” (YouTube)

  • Anantanand Rambachan, “The Need for a Hindu Theology of Liberation” (link)

  • Shashi Tharoor, "Reclaiming Dharma" (link)

  • Ruth Vanita, "Whatever Happened to the Hindu Left?" (link)

the bhakti movement

  • Priya Sarukkai Chabria, “Eight ‘Bhakti’ poems that show India had multiple and diverse paths to devotion” (link)

  • Balmurli Natrajan, "The liberation theologists of the Hindu past" (link)

  • Nicholas O'Connell, "Subversive Hindu Thought" (link)

  • Kabir translated by Arvind Krishna, Songs of Kabir (Amazon)

  • Gail Omvedt, Seeking Begumpura: The Social Vision of Anticaste Intellectuals (Amazon)

  • A.K. Ramanujan, Speaking of Siva (Amazon)

Hindu rituals

  • Aishik Chanda, “West Bengal’s first priestess solemnises marriages without Kanyadaan” (link)

  • T.M. Krishna, “How the appointment of Dalits as priests is perpetuating casteist symbols” (link)

  • Arun Kumar, “Ancient Bihar temples show the way with non-Brahmin priests” (link)

  • Sapna Pandya, interviewed by Sarika D. Mehta, "On Faith, Tradition, and Sexuality" (link) (transcript)

  • Margaret Ramirez, “Shashi Tandon: Fulfilling Hindu priestly duties and starting a quiet revolution” (link)

Hindu Scriptures

  • B.R. Ambedkar, “Brahma, Dharma & Democracy: Another Hindu Riddle” (link)

  • Shailly Gupta Barnes, "God is reborn: A reading on justice from the Bhagavad Gita" (link)

  • Anantanand Rambachan, The Advaita Worldview: God, World, and Humanity (link)

  • NeoIndian, “Why you should read the Vedas, and why the religious will never understand them” (link)

Hindu Epics and Mythology

  • Shaan Amin, "The Dark Side of the Comics That Redefined Hinduism" (link)

  • Kathleen M. Erndl, “The Mutilation of Surpanakha” (link)

  • Ramdas Lamb, “Personalizing the Ramayan: Ramnamis and Their Use of the Ramcaritmanas” (link)

  • A.K. Ramanujan, “Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation” (link)

  • Paula Richman (editor), Many Ramayanas: The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia (link)

  • Devdutt Pattanaik, “On Krishna’s chariot stands Shikhandi” (link)

  • Devdutt Pattanaik, Shikhandi and Other Stories They Don’t Tell You (Amazon)

  • Devdutt Pattanaik, “The Real Ramrajya” (link)

  • Velcheru Narayana Rao, “A Ramayana of Their Own: Women's Oral Tradition in Telugu” (link)

  • Nabaneeta Dev Sen, “Rewriting the Ramayana: Chandrabati and Molla” (link)

Caste

  • Asam Ahmad, "How to Fight a Deadly Caste System" (link)

  • B.R. Ambedkar, Annihilation of Caste (link)

  • B.R. Ambedkar, Philosophy of Hinduism (link)

  • S. Anand, “Equalisation to annihilation — and beyond” (link)

  • Maren Bellwinkel-Schempp, “From Bhakti to Buddhism: Ravidas and Ambedkar” (JSTOR)

  • Nicholas O'Connell, "Subversive Hindu Thought" (link)

  • Campaign to Stop Funding Hate, "Caste and the Hindutva Movement" (link)

  • Manifesto of the Dalit Panthers (link)

  • Nirupama Dutt, “Waiting for spring”: Sikhism and caste discrimination (link)

  • Yashica Dutt, “The Non-Dalit's Guide To Debating Meaningfully About Caste” (link)

  • Equality Labs, “Caste in the United States: A Survey of Caste Among South Asian Americans” (link)

  • Daniel Immerwahr, “Caste or Colony? Indianizing Race in the United States” (link)

  • Ravikant Kisana, “Progressive Millennial Indians, Let’s Talk About How We Never Talk About Caste” (link)

  • T.M. Krishna, “How the appointment of Dalits as priests is perpetuating casteist symbols” (link)

  • Ramdas Lamb, “Personalizing the Ramayan: Ramnamis and Their Use of the Ramcaritmanas” (link)

  • Arun Kumar, “Ancient Bihar temples show the way with non-Brahmin priests” (link)

  • Nivedita Menon, “Bharat Mata And Her Unruly Daughters” (link)

  • Balmurli Natrajan, “From jati to samaj” (link)

  • Balmurli Natrajan, "The liberation theologists of the Hindu past" (link)

  • Annalee Newitz, “The caste system has left its mark on Indians’ genomes” (link)

  • Gail Omvedt, Seeking Begumpura: The Social Vision of Anticaste Intellectuals (Amazon)

  • Devdutt Pattanaik: "Beyond Hinduism: Is caste a religious or a regional problem?” (link)

  • Anantanand Rambachan, “A Hindu Theology of Human Flourishing” (YouTube)

  • Anantanand Rambachan, “Freedom from Caste” chapter from A Hindu Theology of Liberation (link)

  • Anantanand Rambachan, “A New Year Resolution for Hinduism: Opening Temple Doors to All” (link)

  • Anantanand Rambachan, "Is Caste Intrinsic to Hinduism?" (link)

  • Hira Singh, Recasting Caste: From the Sacred to the Profane (SAGE Publishing)

  • Varun Soni, “Why I’m haunted by my religion’s dark side” (link)

  • Thenmozhi Soundararajan, “The Black Indians” (link)

  • Steph Yin, “In South Asian Social Castes, a Living Lab for Genetic Disease” (link)

Hindu nationalism (Hindutva)

  • Shaan Amin, "The Dark Side of the Comics That Redefined Hinduism" (link)

  • Rajni Bakshi, “Swami Vivekananda’s Disputed Legacy” (link)

  • Campaign to Stop Funding Hate, "Caste and the Hindutva Movement" (link)

  • Campaign to Stop Funding Hate, "Sangh and Women" (link)

  • Amit Chaudhuri, “Modi’s Hinduism” (link)

  • Sagarika Ghose, “Manifesto for a liberal Hindu – It’s time for secular Hindus to say: Garv se kaho hum liberal hain” (link)

  • D.N. Jha, "Looking for a Hindu Identity" (link)

  • Nivedita Menon, “Bharat Mata And Her Unruly Daughters” (link)

  • Balmurli Natrajan, "Letter to a Progressive Hindu" (link)

  • Ashis Nandy, “A report on the present state of health of the gods and goddesses in South Asia” (link)

  • Balmurli Natrajan, "Searching for a Progressive Hindu/ism: Battling Mussolini’s Hindus, Hindutva, and Hubris" (link)

  • Constance Jones and James D. Ryan, "Hindu Nationalism" in Encyclopedia of Hinduism (link)

  • Anantanand Rambachan, "Hindu Pride and the Future of Hinduism" (link)

  • Gautham Reddy and Alex Shams, "Welcome to the Beef Capital of India" (link)

  • Stanley Thangaraj, “Sipping on the Indian Haterade: Hindu American Whiteness and Support for Trump” (link)

  • Romila Thapar, interviewed by Ajaz Ashraf: “Before anyone can debate the Sangh, it has to stop abusing its opponents” (link)

  • Ramesh Venkataraman, “Hindu way to resist Hindutva” (link)

poverty and economic justice

  • Shailly Gupta Barnes, The Shakti – life force – of the poor today" (link)

  • Anantanand Rambachan, "Hindus and the Poor People’s Campaign: A Religious and Moral Obligation" (link)

  • Nooreen Reza, "Progressive Hinduism and a New Movement Against Poverty" (link)

lgbtq identities

  • Lata Jha, "What Two Hindu Temples in the US Tell Us about the Divide among Hindus in India" (link)

  • Sapna Pandya, interviewed by Sarika D. Mehta, "On Faith, Tradition, and Sexuality" (link) (transcript)

  • Devdutt Pattanaik, “Did homosexuality exist in ancient India?” (link)

  • Devdutt Pattanaik, “Declared constitutionally invalid” (link)

  • Devdutt Pattanaik, “Hindu, not homophobic” (link)

  • Devdutt Pattanaik, “On Krishna’s chariot stands Shikhandi” (link)

  • Devdutt Pattanaik, Shikhandi and Other Stories They Don’t Tell You

  • Devdutt Pattanaik, “The Real Ramrajya” (link)

  • Madhuri Shekar, Hari Venkatachalam, “Same-Sex Marriage and Hinduism” (link)

  • Ruth Vanita, Love's Rite: Same-Sex Marriage in India and the West

  • Ruth Vanita, Queering India: Same-Sex Love and Eroticism in Indian Culture and Society

  • Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai, "Religious Teachers’ Statements on Same-Sex Sexuality" (link)

Feminism and gender equality

  • Campaign to Stop Funding Hate, "Sangh and Women" (link)

  • Nicholas O'Connell, "Subversive Hindu Thought" (link)

  • Kathleen M. Erndl, “The Mutilation of Surpanakha” (link)

  • Nivedita Menon, “Bharat Mata And Her Unruly Daughters” (link)

  • Sapna Pandya, interviewed by Sarika D. Mehta, "On Faith, Tradition, and Sexuality" (link) (transcript)

  • Velcheru Narayana Rao, “A Ramayana of Their Own: Women's Oral Tradition in Telugu” (link)

  • Nabaneeta Dev Sen, “Rewriting the Ramayana: Chandrabati and Molla” (link)

  • Ruth Vanita, Gandhi's Tiger and Sita's Smile: Essays on Gender, Sexuality and Culture (Amazon)

The Hindu diaspora

  • Equality Labs, “Caste in the United States: A Survey of Caste Among South Asian Americans” (link)

  • Lata Jha, "What Two Hindu Temples in the US Tell Us about the Divide among Hindus in India" (link)

  • Deepak Sarma, "The Academic Study of Hinduism: An Alternative Future" (link)

  • Steven Ramey, “Hindu Minorities and the Limits of Hindu Inclusiveness: Sindhi and Indo-Caribbean Hindu Communities in Atlanta” (link)

  • Interview with Dr. Varun Soni (link)

  • Thenmozhi Soundararajan, “The Black Indians” (link)

  • Stanley Thangaraj, “Sipping on the Indian Haterade: Hindu American Whiteness and Support for Trump” (link)

Environmental justice

  • Bhumi Project, “The Green Temple” (link)

  • Anantanand Rambachan, “Diwali: Hearing Earth’s Cry” (link)

  • Hari Venkatachalam, "One Hindu's Environmental Pilgrimage from Triveni Ghat to Tampa to the Future" (link)

Hinduism and other religions

  • Richard H. Davis, “A Muslim Princess in the Temples of Visnu” (link)

  • David Gilmartin and Bruce B. Lawrence (editors), Beyond Turk and Hindu: Rethinking Religious Identities in Islamicate South Asia (link)

  • “Indo-Islamic Love Stories and the Story of Rama and Sita” (link)

  • Nikhil Mandalaparthy, "When the man who wrote Pakistan's national anthem saw the divine in Hindu god Krishna" (link

  • C.M. Naim, “The Maulana Who Loved Krishna” (link)

  • Ashis Nandy, “A report on the present state of health of the gods and goddesses in South Asia” (link)

  • NPR segment, "Why Many Muslims In India Feel Yoga Has Been Weaponized" (link)

  • NPR segment, "Om Alone in India" (link

  • Manoj Singh, “Before the Rise of Hindutva, Gorakhnath Nurtured Muslim Yogis” (link)

  • George Wolfe, "Parallel Teachings in Hinduism and Christianity" (link

  • Joanne Punzo Waghorne, “Chariots of the God/s: Riding the Line Between Hindu and Christian” (link)