Sravana Borkataky-Varma

Sravana Borkataky-Varma is a historian, educator, and social entrepreneur. As a historian, she studies Indian religions focusing on esoteric rituals and gender, particularly in Hinduism (Śākta Tantra). As an educator, she is currently a lecturer at Harvard Divinity School and at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. In the past she has taught at the University of Houston, the University of Montana, Rice University, and DaLian Neusoft University, China.

Sravana’s current project includes a co-edited volume titled Living Folk Religions (under contract with Routledge, 2022), Digital Tantra, a co-edited special issue journal by International Journal of Hindu Studies (under contract with Springer, 2022), and her monograph titled Spotlight and Shadow: Superwomen, Women, and Hijṛās (2023). In addition, book chapters such as “Taming Hindu Śakta Tantra on the Internet: Online Pūjās for the Goddess Tripurasundarī,” in Digital Hinduism (Routledge, 2020), “The Yogic Body in Global Transmission,” in The Handbook of Yoga and Meditation Studies (Routledge, 2021), and “WhatsApp Bagalāmukhī:! The Social Life and Experiences of a Tantric Goddess” in The Ethnography of Tantra: Textures and Contexts of Living Tantric Traditions (State University of New York Press, 2022). Also, sample titles of her published articles are: “Red: An Ethnographic Study of Cross-Pollination Between the Vedic and the Tantric” (2019), “The Dead Speak: A Case Study from the Tiwa Tribe Highlighting the Hybrid World of Śākta Tantra in Assam” (2018).

In a previous non-academic avatar, Sravana worked in customer service in the financial and IT industries. As a social entrepreneur, she is the co-founder of a nonprofit, Lumen Tree Portal. Sravana invests in building communities with individuals from various faith backgrounds who believe in kindness, compassion, and fulfillment.

Sravana credits the Esalen community with helping her define the ways she could connect her paths of scholar and practitioner. She is committed to revitalizing Esalen’s deep roots in South Asian spiritual and intellectual traditions.