Dr. Dheepa Sundaram is a cultural theorist whose research examines the formation of South Asian digital religious publics located in online platforms, social media, apps, and emerging technologies such as virtual reality. In her current book project, Globalizing Darśan: Virtual Soteriology and the Making of a Hindu “Brand”, focuses on the ways commercial websites hawking various religious services (e.g. rituals, priest services, temple tours, virtual reality access, etc.) fashion a new, digital canon for Hindu religious praxis, effectively "branding" religious identities through a neoliberal "Vedicizing" of virtual spaces. Her work also examines questions of access and accessibility to religious spaces for disabled and elderly people, as well as the viability and visibility of online counter-narratives to dominant forms of representation, especially from disadvantaged caste and Adivasi communities.
Through virtual extensions of her material presence, Amma has transformed herself into a non-sectarian religious “brand,” competing for devotees in a growing soteriological marketplace.