Ryan, James D.

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Ryan, James D.


Education: University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D., 1985.


Office—Asian and Comparative Studies, California Institute of Integral Studies, 1453 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103. E-mail—[email protected].


California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, codirector of Asian and comparative studies.


(Translator) Tiruttakkatevar, Civakacintamani: The Hero Civakan, the Gem That Fulfills All Wishes. Verses 1-1165, Jain Publishing (Fremont, CA), 2005.

(With Constance A. Jones) Encyclopedia of Hinduism ("Encyclopedia of World Religions" series), Facts on File (New York, NY), 2006.


James D. Ryan is the codirector of the Asian and comparative studies program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, California. Ryan earned his Ph.D. in Tamil literature at the University of California, Berkeley, and he is the translator of the medieval epic Civakacintamani: The Hero Civakan, the Gem That Fulfills All Wishes. Verses 1-1165, by Tiruttakkatevar. Ryan's interests include the history, culture, and philosophies of India. According to biographical information on the Web site of the Institute, Ryan "is specifically interested in the various forms of Hindu tantra, particularly the Kashmir Shaiva traditions, the tradition of Sri Aurobindo, and the ‘modernized’ tantra of Haridas Chaudhuri. A secondary interest is in Jainism and the historical interplay between the non-theistic philosophical traditions and Hinduism."

Ryan is author with Constance A. Jones, a professor at the Institute of Integral Studies, of Encyclopedia of Hinduism, one volume of a projected six in the Facts on File "Encyclopedia of World Religions" series. The volume begins with an introduction to Hinduism and an eleven-page chronology that spans 3,000 years of history. There are six hundred alphabetical entries, written so as to be understandable to readers from high school age up. Subjects include those typically covered in most resources and include the Kama Sutra and Mahatma Gandhi, but as Booklist reviewer Wade Osburn noted, "examples abound of lesser-known Hindu personalities and concepts that are not adequately covered elsewhere." Approximately one-fourth of the pages are devoted to biographical information about more than 150 gurus, yogis, saints, and teachers. Many of these are unknown outside the Hindu community, and many of the profiles are accompanied by black-and-white photographs. The authors cover subjects that include beliefs, basic concepts and practices, events, and sacred places and writings. Entries that cover geographical regions are included, for example, for Bali, Africa, the United States, Scandinavia, and Trinidad. Also included is information on festivals, people, sites, gods and goddesses, worship practices, funeral rites, organizations and movements, the political and social implications of the caste system, relations between Hinduism and other faiths, and religions that have their roots in Hinduism, specifically Jainism and Sikhism. Texts covered include the Bhagavad Gita. A glossary of Hindu terms is also included.

Osburn concluded by writing: "A thorough index provides the perfect finishing touch to this user-friendly encyclopedia." School Library Journal contributor Ann W. Moore noted the volume's "multicultural scope" and commented that it "is well crafted and will be useful for students."



Booklist, August, 2007, Wade Osburn, review of Encyclopedia of Hinduism, p. 100.

Reference & Research Book News, May, 2007, review of Encyclopedia of Hinduism.

School Library Journal, August, 2007, Ann W. Moore, review of Encyclopedia of Hinduism, p. 70.


California Institute of Integral Studies Web site,http://www.ciis.edu/ (January 2, 2008), brief author profile.

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