My general areas of research and teaching are the classical Yoga philosophies of South Asia found in Vedānta, Buddhism, and Pātañjala Yoga. Most of my research focuses on the Advaita Vedānta tradition of nonduality, specifically its contemplative practices, which are intended to culminate in a unique knowledge that liberates one from suffering and provides psychological and metaphysical wholeness. This research bridges the disciplines of Philosophy and Religious Studies. It explores the praxis and phenomenology of meditation, oral listening, and contemplative self-inquiry in relationship to Advaita Vedānta’s theories of mind, consciousness, and self-knowledge. I ground this research in close readings of Advaitin philosophers such as Śaṅkarācārya, Maṇḍana Miśra, Vācaspati Miśra, and Vidyāraṇya, and their interpretations of the Upaniṣads and the Bhagavadgītā. Current projects include a study of sudden and gradual enlightenment in Advaita, the meditational roles of memory in Advaita and Pātañjala Yoga, and how Advaita’s reflection theories of consciousness formulate an identity with īśvara (“God,” for lack of a better term).
In recent years my interests have grown to include lived traditions and constructive approaches to applied Indian philosophy such as Indian conceptions of non-human animal ethics and ways of constructing an Advaita Vedāntic ecopsychology. My research on contemporary Advaitins combines anthropological fieldwork and textual-philosophical studies to analyze embodied modes of praxis and methods of lineage transmission. One product of this work is a feature length documentary film, titled Gurukulam, which explores a living Advaita lineage through sensory ethnography.
I am fascinated by the ways Indian traditions are transmitted into North America and then transformed—particularly questions around the politics of cultural appropriation in modern Yoga, the mindfulness industry, and neo-Advaita movements. I am currently researching the politics of mantra transmission in modern Yoga, and creating workshops for Yoga practitioners which engage contemplative pedagogies to decolonize Yoga.