Professor Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad Fellow of the British Academy

Distinguished Professor

Research Interests

Areas of Expertise

Indian (Hindu, Buddhist, Jain) and comparative phenomenology, epistemology, metaphysics, theology, and philosophy of religion; religion, politics and conflict; South Asian religious identities in contemporary Britain; the conceptual sources of modern Hindu life and beliefs.

Books and other publications


Papers: Around fifty papers in a wide range of journals like Philosophy East and West, Journal of Indian Philosophy, Ageing and Society, Contemporary South Asia, Journal of Hindu Studies, etc., and edited volumes.


Knowledge and Liberation in Classical Indian Thought, Library of Philosophy and Religion, Palgrave, Basingstoke, 2001

Advaita Epistemology and Metaphysics: An Outline of Indian Non-Realism, Routledge Curzon, London, 2002

Eastern Philosophy, Weidenfield and Nicholson, London, 2005

India: Life, Myth and Art, Duncan Baird, London, 2006

Indian Philosophy and the Consequences of Knowledge: Themes in metaphysics, ethics and soteriology Ashgate, Aldershot, 2007

Divine Self, Human Self. The Philosophy of Being in Two Gita Commentaries, Bloomsbury, New York, 2013 Winner of the Best Book 2011-15, Society for Hindu Christian Studies

Human Being, Bodily Being: phenomenological case studies from classical India, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2018


Current research projects:

1. I am working on a book project on developing a philosophical anthropology of emotion through a reading of classical Indian narrative and aesthetic texts.

2. I am Co-I on a Leverhulme project with Profs Phiroze Vasunia and Francesca Orsini and Dr Maddalena Italia, 'Comparative Classics', which explores conceptions of the classical in Sanskrit, Greek, Latin and Indo-Persian, and interrogates their modern and contemporary understandings in India and the West.

Recent and past research projects:

3. Conceptions of bodily being in classical Indian thought. I recently published a book that looks at how different intuitions about the bodily nature of phenomenology are expressed in different genres of classical Indian materials - a medical compendium, the Caraka Saṃhitā (c 1st c); narrative of a debate on gender and metaphysics from the Mahābhārata (c 1st c); distinctive contemplative practices in Buddhaghosa's 5th c Pāli manual, the Visuddhimagga; and the erotic poetry of Śrī Harṣa's major court poem, the Naiṣadhacarita (12th c).

4. Dialogue and its possibilities: I was CI on an AHRC project with Brian Black (PI), 'In Dialogue With the Mahābhārata', 2016-18, which focussed on the implications of the many and varied dialogues narrated in that the great Sanskrit composition. From careful textual and contextual study, we sought to open up the study of dialogue and its purposes, not only in other Indian compositions and genres, but cross-culturally.

5. Religion and politics, with a focus on the theoretical possibilities offered in interpeting political and public religion in the world, outside the constraints of the modern liberal Western experience, especially through a comparative theological analysis of the politics of secularism. In the more specific area of religion and identity in Britain, I worked under a Home Office Grant with Gwen Griffith-Dickson of the Lokahi Foundation, London, to develop an account of integration of Hindus and Muslims into British society. My interest in the role of comparative theology in the political understanding of secular society has led toworking withthe Hindu-Christian Forum in the UK under the auspices of the Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and chairing the then-Archbishop's engagement with Hindu religious teacher-leaders in India in 2010. My project, 'Religion, Immigration and Integration', ran within the ESRC funded Centre for Corpus Approaches to Linguistics at Lancaster University, within which I was a CI (PI, Tony Mcenery):, with Carmen Dayrell as Research Associate.

6. Comparative study of Indian and Chinese philosophies, especially on the issues of self and knowledge. I was the founding co-chair of the Comparative Studies in the Philosophy and Religion of India and China Group at the American Academy of Religion Conferences starting in 2011. This followed a successful five-year Seminar Series on the same topic. I also sit on the Board of the Working Papers Series on India and China of the India-China Institute at the New School, New York.

7. Theories of self: I was PI on a major AHRC research project: Self: HinduResponses to Buddhist Critiques ( (2008-11). My work for this project was primarily on i) arguments for the diachronic unity of consciousness and the relationship between subject unity and theories of self; ii) the relationship between personal identity and the unity of consciousness, especially with regard to memory; and iii) the theological and ethical dimensions of Hindu conceptions of human and divine self. An outgrowth of this project, tied also to some elements of 3., below, has been an interest in the neurophilosophical aspects of meditative states, focussing on the conceptual debates about consciousness and selfhood between Hindu and Buddhist practices of meditation. In this regard, I have worked with members of the Mind Life Institute, after presenting papers on Hindu theories of consciousness and contemporary neuroscientific and cognitive scientific issues at Mind Life Institute's first major public conference in India in the presence of HH the Dalai Lama.

8. Theories of consciousness derived from classical Indian thought, for which I held an award from the John Templeton Foundation. My work at the National Institute for Advanced Studies, Bangalore in 2006-07 was primarily on the reconceptualisation of the cognitive science agenda through classical Indian theories of consciousness.