Magical Progeny, Modern Technology

A Hindu Bioethics of Assisted Reproductive Technology

By Swasti Bhattacharyya

Subjects: Asian Religion And Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791467923, 171 pages, July 2006
Hardcover : 9780791467916, 171 pages, July 2006

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Table of contents


1. Medicine, Bioethics, and Religious Voices

2. Voices from Hinduism’s Past

3. Narrative as a Source of Ethics

4. Characteristics of Hindu Thought

5. Application of Hindu Thought


A Hindu bioethics of reproductive technology that references the Mahābhārata.


Magical Progeny, Modern Technology examines Hindu perspectives on assisted reproductive technology through an exploration of birth narratives in the great Indian epic the Mahābhārata. Reproductive technology is at the forefront of contemporary bioethical debates, and in the United States often centers on ethical issues framed by conflicts among legal, scientific, and religious perspectives. Author Swasti Bhattacharyya weaves together elements from South Asian studies, religion, literature, law, and bioethics, as well as experiences from her previous career as a nurse, to construct a Hindu response to the debate. Through analysis of the mythic stories in the Mahābhārata, specifically the birth narratives of the five Pāṇḍava brothers and their Kaurava cousins, she draws out principles and characteristics of Hindu thought. She broadens the bioethical discussions by applying Hindu perspectives to a California court case over the parentage of a child conceived through reproductive technology and compares specific Hindu and Roman Catholic attitudes toward assisted reproductive technology. Magical Progeny, Modern Technology provides insightful ways to explore ethical issues and highlights concerns often overlooked in contemporary discussions occurring within the United States.

Swasti Bhattacharyya is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Buena Vista University.


". ..a clear, concise contribution to the Hindu Ethics of Assisted Reproductive Technology. It should be required reading for doctors, nurses and health care workers dealing with Hindu families struggling with infertility. The writing and thinking is so clear and carefully conceived that the book will also be helpful to Hindu families dealing with the problem. " — Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies

"Throughout her telling of ancient stories that are magically reborn in modern settings, the author combines humanity with logic to make this seminal work a clear, concise, and necessary exploration of ethical issues relating to assisted reproductive technology. " — S. Cromwell Crawford, author of Hindu Bioethics for the Twenty-first Century

"This book is a welcome addition to a field where the religious voices of the Judeo-Christian tradition are sometimes the only ones heard. It offers a fair and balanced treatment of the Hindu tradition and exemplifies sensitivity to the diversity of this tradition. " — Anantanand Rambachan, author of The Advaita Worldview: God, World, and Humanity