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Alain Daniélou (Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, 4 October 1907–Lonay Switzerland, 27 January 1994) was a French historian, intellectual, musicologist, Indologist, and a noted western convert to and expert of Shaivite Hinduism.

His mother, Madeleine Clamorgan, was from an old family of the Norman nobility; a fervent Catholic, she founded a religious order for women teachers in civilian costume under the patronage of St. François-Xavier. His father, Charles Daniélou, was an anticlerical Breton politician who held numerous national ministerial posts. One of his brothers was Roman Catholic prelate and Académie française member, Jean Daniélou.

The young Daniélou studied singing under the famous Charles Panzéra, as well as classical dancing with Nicholas Legat (teacher of Vaslav Nijinsky), and composition with Max d'Ollone.

He and his partner, Swiss photographer fr:Raymond Burnier, first went to India as part of an adventure trip, and they were fascinated with the art and culture of the nation. Daniélou was one of the first Westerners to visit India's famed erotic temples in the village of Khajuraho. His stunning photographs of the ancient temple complex launched the site internationally. The first-ever photo exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum were those of Khajuraho taken by Daniélou.

But his more important contribution to Indology is his writings on the ancient wisdom of the Veda, Hindu philosophy, and Shaivism.

In 1949, Daniélou was appointed professor at the Hindu University of Benares and director of the College of Indian Music.

He is the author of over thirty books on Indian music and culture. He received several awards for his work on music. He was also a photographer and painter. He studied Indian classical music in Varanasi with Shivendranath Basu and played the veena. He also translated some of the works of Swami Karpatri by whom he was initiated into Shaivism under the name Shiva Sharan (Protected by Shiva). He is perhaps best remembered for his important work on classical Indian music.

He was an Officer of the Légion d'Honneur, an Officer of the Ordre National du Mérite, and Commander of Arts and Letters. He was the director of the UNESCO Collection series, a series of recordings of traditional world music. In 1981, he received the UNESCO/CIM prize for music, and, in 1987 the Kathmandu Medal from UNESCO.



  • While the Gods play, Shaiva Oracles & Predictions on the Cycles of History & Destiny of Mankind
  • Gods of Love & Ecstasy, The Tradition of Shiva & Dionysus, Omnipresent Gods of Transcendence
  • The Hindu Temple; Deification of Eroticism
  • Music and the Power of Sound
  • A Brief History of India (Inner Traditions, 2003)
  • The first unabridged translation of the Kama Sutra
  • Virtue, Success, Pleasure and Liberation (The Four Aims of Life)
  • Ragas of North Indian Classical Music
  • The Way to the Labyrinth: An Autobiography published by New Directions. Currently available
  • The Myths and Gods of India, Hindu Polytheism
  • Yoga, The Method of Re-Integration
  • Yoga, Mastering the Secrets of Matter and the Universe
  • Fools of God
  • Song-poems - Rabindranath Tagore, Texts in English, French and Bengali & Melodies
  • The Congress of the World With miniatures of tantric cosmology
  • Sacred Music, its Origins, Powers and Future, Traditional Music in Today's World
  • The situation of Music and Musicians in the countries of the Orient
  • Introduction to The Study of Musical Scales
  • Northern Indian Music: Vol. One, Theory, History and Technique
  • Northern Indian Music: Vol. Two, The Main Ragas
  • The Phallus, Sacred Symbol of Male Creative Power


See also



  • The Way to the Labyrinth (autobiography)

External links



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