This project is carried out in collaboration with the India-Europe Foundation for New Dialogues (FIND). It aims at reconstructing Alain Daniélou’s philosophy of life starting from the kind of Shivaism he experienced in India and gradually evolved through manifold experiences and reflections in and beyond Benares and India until the end of his life. The building process of this philosophy of life includes not only his śaiva initiation received by Svāmī Hariharānanda Sarasvatī (Svāmī Karpātrī), his learning of the Vīṇā with Śivendranāth Basu and his later collaboration with Pandit Rāmcandra Bhaṭṭ in Pondicherry, but also his frequentation of Sādhus and Tāntrikas. Alain Daniélou’s construction of Śaivism poses important questions about the reception of Hinduism in the West and can be read as a question about the interpreters’ claim to truth. Part of the project will be the study of material preserved at the Daniélou Archive (Zagarolo) and the Daniélou Library of the Cini Foundation (Venice), with a special focus on manuscript transcripts originating from Banaras Hindu University.
Keywords: Hinduism, Śaivism, Alain Daniélou, Vārāṇasī