Madhu Khanna Madhu Khanna

Adjunct Distinguished Professor
Asian Philosophies and Cultures
Philosophy and Religion Department
School of Consciousness and Transformation

PhD, University of Oxford

Dipl, University of Wales; MA, Elphinstone College

Dr. Madhu Khanna (PhD, Oxford University, 1986) is a noted historian of religion and scholar of Hindu Tantrism, whose work frequently explores spirituality, gender, and ecology. She is the Founder and Chairperson of Tantra Foundation in New Delhi, a center for traditional learning, creative arts, and self-evolution. She is Professor of Religious Studies and Director of Centre for the Study of Comparative Religion & Civilization at Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi.

Dr. Khanna is the author of several well-known books in the field of Tantrism, including The Tantric Way: Art, Science, and Ritual (with Ajit Mookerjee,  Thames and Hudson, 1977), Yantra: The Tantric Symbol of Cosmic Unity (Thames and Hudson, 1994), Rta: The Cosmic Order (Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, 2004), and Saktapramodah of Deva Nandan Singh (DK Printworld, 2013).  

She received her PhD in Religious/Indic Studies from Wolfson College, Oxford University in 1986. She was awarded the Homi Bhabha Fellowship in 1991-1993. She has authored several books and research papers in journals worldwide. Dr. Khanna is also an initiate of the Sri Vidya tradition.

Public Events:

Fri., Apr. 25th - Weaving the Worlds (Free)

Sat., Apr. 26th-Sun., Apr. 27th - The Sri Yantra: Theory and Practice (Open for Audit: $275/$140 + reg fees)


1986 Dr. of Philosophy (D.Phil.) in Indology / Religious Studies from Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford.
Subject: Esoteric Hinduism with special reference to Hindu Tantra and Goddess Traditions.
Thesis: The Concept and Liturgy of Sricakra based on Sivananda's Trilogy.
Supervisor: Prof. Alexis Sanderson, Spalding Professor of Eastern Religion and Ethics, University of Oxford.

1972 Diploma in Development Studies, University of Wales, Swansea, U.K.

1969 Masters of Philosophy, Elphinstone College, Bombay University.
Subject: Philosophy  

Current Position:    

Visiting Professor of Indic Religion, Centre for Comparative Religion & Civilizations, Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi. Teaching courses in Hindu Studies: Religion and Contemporary Concerns with two components - (a) Religion and Ecology; (b) Gender and Religion in South Asia.

Completing a book: "Blurring Boundaries, Crossing Frontiers: Studies in Gender and Religion in Hinduism and Islam" for Penguin India.  

Positions Held:           

2010: Professor & Director, Centre for the Study of Comparative Religion & Civilizations, Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi. Taught courses in Hindu Studies; Approaches to the Study of Religion; World Religions and the Arts and basic Sanskrit.  

2006: Professor of Indic Religion, Centre for the Study of Comparative Religion & Civilizations Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi.  

2005: Head, Kala Darshan Division, Indira Gandhi, National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi  

2003:  Director, Narivada-Gender Culture and Civilization Network, Indira Gandhi, National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi  

1994:  Associate Professor, Indira Gandhi, National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi  

1990-93: Homi-Bhabha Fellow, Indira Gandhi, National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi  

1988-89: Consultant & Researcher, Indira Gandhi, National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi  

Honorary Positions:

1. Editor (for section on Tribal Religions in India) Encyclopedia of Indic Religions, to be published by Springer, USA.

2. Adjunct Professor with Sacred World Research Lab, New Delhi

3. Founding Member and Academic Director, Tantra Foundation, New Delhi.

4. Chief Editor, Tantra Monograph Series, New Delhi.

5. Member, Centre for Gender and Culture, Lahore, Pakistan.

6. Member Editorial Committee, Third Frame, Literature, Culture and Society, A Quarterly Journal of Academy of Third World Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, Cambridge University Press.

7. Member, Women's Scholar Network, International Association for the History of Religion.

8. Vice President, Indian Association for the Study of Religion, New Delhi. (2002-2003)

9. Consultant for HUDCO for the Mahabodhi World Heritage site.

10.  Member, Board of Studies, Faculty of Education and Social Work, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

11.  Programme Committee World Congress on Religions after September 11, Mcgill University, Montreal, Canada. (2004-2005).

12.  Honorary Advisor, Narivada Gender Culture and Civilization Network IGNCA, New Delhi.  

Membership of Professional Institutions:

2011 Member, Art History Congress, India

2011 Member, Internaional Association for the History of Religion (IAHR)

2005 Member, American Academy of Religion (AAR), USA.

2004 Vice President, Indian Association for the Study of Religion.

2004 Member, South and Southeast Association for the Study of Religion (SSEASR)

2002 Member - National Committee for selection of Fulbright Scholars to USA.

1998 Chairperson, Women's Cell, IGNCA, New Delhi.

1992 - 1993 Executive Body Member, Oxford and Cambridge Society of India.

1992 Honorary Member, Occult Foundation, Calcutta.

1990 Founder Trustee, Tantra Foundation, A Centre for Traditional Learning, Creative Arts and Self-Evolution. (The Foundation is devoted the documentation and interpretation of the Tantric heritage).

1983 Cultural Adviser, Inlaks Foundation, New Delhi.

1988 Member, Association of Art historians, Baroda.  


1980 - 1982    Inlaks Foundation Award for doctoral research at the Oxford University.

1991 - 1993    The Homi Bhabha Fellowship Award for advanced research by the Homi Bhabha Fellowships Council, Bombay.

2000    Awarded Sarasvati Ratna Abhisekha, Bharat Gaurava Sammana, by Samaratha Siksha Samiti, Delhi for contribution to Tantra-studies.

2001    Achievement Awardfor Excellence in Research on the Crossing Project Living, Dying and Transformation in Benaras by Xerox PARC, Palo Alto Research Centre, USA.

2005    Mahavir Mahatma Award conferred by Times Foundation, New Delhi for the 'Eternal Gandhi' Multimedia Museum Exhibit at the Gandhi Smriti, New Delhi (joint award with Sacred World Foundation)   Scholarships / Fellowships

1971 - 1972 Edwina Mountbatten Award for Development Studies (Social Policy and Administration) in U.K. sponsored by the Indian Council for Child Welfare, New Delhi.  

1974 - 1979    Research Grant from Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, Altmann, Hamburg, West Germany, for research and publication on studies in Tantra at Hamburg and in London.  

1990    Senior Fellowship to outstanding scholars by the Department of Culture, Ministry of Human Resource Development, New Delhi.  

1989    Research grant, Art Heritage, New Delhi.  

1986 - 1987    Research Grant from the Tantra Museum, New Delhi for Cataloguing the collection of Tantra Art at the National Museum, New Delhi.  

1983 - 1986 Max Mueller Fund Grant, Oxford University. Boden Fund Grant, Oxford University. Radhakrishnan Memorial Fund Grant, Oxford University. Study Grant for doctoral research at Oxford from the P.L. Garg Trust, New Delhi. 

List of Books    

2013 Blurring Boundaries, Crossing Frontiers, Studies in Gender and Religion in Hinduism and Islam (co-author, in collaboration with Prof. Durre S. Ahmed) Penguin Books, India (250 pages)  

2014 The Sricakra as Goddess Tripurasundari. History, Symbol and Ritual. The study is based on primary Sanskrit sources of the cult of goddess Tripurasundari and the Trika School of Kashmir Shaivism. The book is proposed to be published by Oxford University Press, New Delhi / New York. (350 pages)   


2013: Saktapramoda Edited with an Introduction in English , published in collaboration with Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, Tantra Foundation and D K Printworld New Delhi. This is a revised edition of a primary source in Sanskrit on the ritual practice of the Ten Mahavidya Goddesses. (750 page).  

2013: Asian Perspectives on World's Religions after September 11, Co- editor. Published by Prager, ABC-CLIO, LLC, USA. Proceedings of an International Congress at Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi (256 pages)  

2011: Thirty Minor Upanisadas Revised and Edited the popular and successful translation of Thirty Minor Upanisadas by T Narayana Swami Aiyer published by Tantra Foundation, New Delhi (325 pages)  

2004: The Subtle Body - An Illuminated Tantric Scroll With commentary, notes and translation published by Sarabhai Foundation, Ahmedabad (80 pages).  

2003: Rta, Cosmic Order & Chaos. Editor. Proceedings of International Seminar, published by IGNCA and D.K. Printworld, New Delhi (326 pages).  

2001: The Crossing Project: Living, Dying and Transformation in Banaras. Co-Author. Published by Sacred World Foundation, New Delhi and Sanfrancisco (174 pages).  

1999: Man, Mind and Mask. Editor. (Exhibition Catalogue), published by IGNCA, New Delhi.  

1998: Rta-Ritu, Cosmic Order and Cycle of Seasons. Editor. (Exhibition Catalogue), published by IGNCA, New Delhi.  

1994: Prakriti, Man in Harmony with the Elements. Editor. (Exhibition Catalogue), published by IGNCA, New Delhi.  

1993: Art: The Integral Vision. Co-Editor. A volume of Essay in Felicitation of Kapila Vatsyayan, published by D.K. Printworld, New Delhi.  

1979: Yantra: The Tantric Symbol of Cosmic Unity (170 pages) English edition by Thames and Hudson, London, 1979. German edition by Aurum Verlag, Freiburg, 1980. Italian edition by Edizioni Mediterranee, Milan, 2002. Reprinted, 1997.  

1977: The Tantric Way. Co-Author (205 pages) English edition by Thames and Hudson, London, 1977. American edition by New York Graphic Society, Boston, 1977. French edition by Seuil, Paris, 1978. German edition by Otto Wilhelm Berth Verlag, Munich, 1978. Danish edition by Forlaget Rhodes, Copenhagen, 1979. Reprinted, 1989.     Reprinted, 1993.     Reprinted, 1997.

Stay Connected to CIIS