In this first-ever Yogic Studies Podcast episode, we speak with Dr. Finnian Gerety (Brown University) about his background as a musician, his journey to Indology and Sanskrit studies at Harvard University, his fieldwork among Nambudiri Brahmins in the south-Indian state of Kerala, the Sāma Veda performative tradition, his short film "Mantras 2 the Max", the origins of sacred sound and the syllable OṂ, the practice of OṂ at the time of death, OṂ in the Yogasūtras of Patañjali, and the practice of "Embodied Philology."
Dr. Finnian M.M. Gerety is a historian of Indian religions focusing on sound and mantra. After earning a PhD. in South Asian Studies from Harvard University, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Yale University Institute of Sacred Music. Finn is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, the Contemplative Studies Program, and the Center for Contemporary South Asia at Brown University, where he teaches courses on mantra, yoga, ritual, and the senses.
Integrating the study of premodern texts with insights from fieldwork in contemporary south India, Finn’s research explores how sound has shaped religious doctrines and practices on the subcontinent from the late Bronze Age up through today. His current book project for Oxford University Press, This Whole World is OM: A History of the Sacred Syllable in India, is the first-ever monograph on OM, the preeminent mantra and ubiquitous sacred syllable of Indian religions.