There is perhaps no other word that evokes such compelling responses as “Tantra”. At once beguiling and repelling, affirming and negating, transforming and transgressing, this ancient esoteric worldview encompasses philosophy, religion, ritual and art. Rashmi Poddar talked about some of its basic tenets, symbols and practices. The programme was part of a series conceived around the current exhibition ‘Nothing is Absolute: A Journey through Abstraction’. Many Indian abstract painters were inspired by the sacred geometry of Hindu and Buddhist ritual diagrams, often studying the complex yantras and mandalas associated with Tantric ceremonials of enlightenment.
Rashmi Poddar is the Director of Jnanapravaha, an institution that provides a space for the global exchange of creative Indian thought. Her path-breaking methodology of viewing and understanding Indian classical art has opened up new theories in art history and research. It actively pursues its goal of education of the arts through seminars, workshops, lectures and other pedagogical methods. She was the former Director in Aesthetics at the Department of Philosophy, University of Mumbai and was awarded a doctorate by the University of Mumbai and the Mellon Fellowship by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in 1997. She has been recently appointed the Associate Editor for Marg publications, India’s oldest art publishing house. She is a visiting lecturer at various art institutions in India and abroad. She is also the Chairperson of India Foundation For The Arts (IFA), an independent, professionally managed grant-making organization for the arts. Rashmi is also on the board of several prestigious associations across the country and is actively involved in the promotion of arts in India.