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The roar of awakening: The eros of esalen and the western transmission of tantra

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Chapter Summary

The multiple weavings of eroticism and esotericism within the history of the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California the mother of the American human potential movement founded in 1962 by Michael Murphy (1930) and Richard Price (1930-1985) is a vast half-century tapestry whose multiple patterns, colors, and textures woven elsewhere in some detail. This chapter is a further theorization of and reflection on the results of that historiographic project. It is a "standing back" to see one, and only one, of the final weaves or gestalts, in this case an erotic one. The chapter focuses on the imagining and experience of "Tantra" within the eros of Esalen. It discusses a parable that the Bengali saint Ramakrishna used to tell and talks about its intriguing transformations through Indian and American culture.

Keywords: American culture; Eros of Esalen; eroticism; Indian culture; Tantra; Western esotericism



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