With degrees in Hinduism from the University of Toronto and University of Calgary, Dr. Raj Balkaran interprets Sanskrit narrative texts for ethical import. A prolific scholar, he is the author of several articles, book chapters, and two monographs: The Goddess and the King in Indian Myth (Routledge 2018) and The Goddess and the Sun in Indian Myth (Routledge 2020). Alongside his academic training, Raj apprenticed with an Indian master for twelve years as part of an oral tradition dedicated to the preservation and application of Hindu teachings. Having taught comparative religion and mythology at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies for a decade, he now teaches online course privately, at Yogic Studies, at the University of Calgary, and at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, where he also serves on the Course Development Board. Beyond teaching and research, Raj enjoys a thriving consulting practice and hosts the New Books in Hindu Studies podcast.
Himanshu Prabha Ray is a Tutor and Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and has completed a five-year Anneliese Maier fellowship at Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich. She is a former Chairperson of the National Monuments Authority, Ministry of Culture in New Delhi, India, and former Professor in the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. She is the series editor of Archaeology and Religion in South Asia for Routledge in collaboration with OCHS. Her research interests include Maritime History and Archaeology of the Indian Ocean, the History of Archaeology in South and Southeast Asia and the Archaeology of Religion in Asia.
Gitte has a Masters in Religious Studies from Aarhus University, Denmark but has completed most of her studies in Varanasi, India, and as a visiting student at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. Gitte’s focus is on Yoga, Tantra, and Sanskrit. She is also a dedicated practitioner of āsana and prāṇāyāma. She manages the OCHS Kathmandu Office where she oversees the daily operation and focuses on Nepali and Newari language as well as Śākta traditions among the Newar community of The Kathmandu Valley.
Karen is Lecturer in Asian Religions and Ethics at the University of Roehampton and previously taught in the Department of Religions and Philosophies at SOAS, University of London. UK. She is a co-founder of the Sanskrit Reading Room and a committee member of the SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies. A former OCHS Online student, Karen has authored our History of Yoga course. She has published in the journal Religions of South Asia and is co-editing The Routledge Handbook of Yoga and Meditation Studies.
Christopher S. Wood lives in West Bengal, India, after spending ten years in China and Thailand. He completed his M.St. in Indian and Chinese philosophy at Jesus College, Oxford, focusing on Vaishnava teleology and the meditation systems taught in Buddhist commentaries on the I Ching, before teaching ‘The Rise & Fall of Western Civilisation’ alongside academic writing at Shanghai University for several years.
Richard Coldman, who produced our Sanskrit course videos, is a British filmmaker/musician/composer. In addition to shooting, directing and editing documentaries, he has developed a specialization in arts collaborations – in particular his animations of paintings by Alexander Gorlizki, educational video productions featuring choreographers Shobana Jeyasingh and Richard Alston, projections for live performances with Tracy Emin, V-TOL Dance Company and Dominic Murcott’s No Orchestra and a film for the South Bank Centre with poet Lavinia Greenlaw. Coldman considers Asian meditative, somatic and energy practices over an almost 40 year period to have been influential in developing the technical and interpersonal skills necessary for his work.
Guy L. Beck is a scholar, author, musician, educator, historian of religions, and musicologist. A Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Fellow and Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (Oxford University, UK), he is Lecturer in Philosophy, Religious Studies and Asian Studies at Tulane University, and Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies at Loyola University New Orleans.
Guy Beck is the first to publish a comprehensive study of the nature and function of sacred sound (Nada-Brahman) in the Hindu religion. He has created the first college textbook on music in the major world religions and is the first American to perform vocal music in an all-India conference of Hindustani classical music. Prof. Beck has produced the first and most complete collection of field recordings, translations, and annotations of the hymns and religious songs of the Radhavallabha Sampradaya, a Vaishnava or Krishna sect based in Vrindavan in northern India.