Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. iv-v

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Dramatis Personae

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pp. vii-xiii

Alberuni, also known as Abu al-Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Biruni (973–1048). A renowned Muslim scientist and court scholar, in 1017 Alberuni was taken by force to India where he authored a learned account of Indian science, culture, and religion titled...

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Preface

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pp. xv-xvii

Over the past forty years or so, a theory has been forged in university departments of history and cultural studies that much of what is thought to be ancient in India was actually invented—or at best reinvented or recovered from oblivion—during the time...

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1: Reading the Yoga Sutra in the Twenty-First Century: Modern Challenges, Ancient Strategies

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pp. 1-17

In the United States, where an estimated seventeen million people regularly attend yoga classes, there has been a growing trend to regulate the training of yoga instructors, the people who do the teaching in the thousands of yoga centers and studios spread across...

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2: Patanjali, the Yoga Sutra, and Indian Philosophy

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pp. 18-52

At this point, it is necessary to introduce a small number of more or less untranslatable terms, foreign concepts, and names of philosophers and philosophical schools that will reappear throughout the rest of this...

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3: Henry Thomas Colebrooke and the Western “Discovery” of the Yoga Sutra

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pp. 53-80

Unlike the Yoga Sutra’s classical commentators, relatively few modern-­day Yoga scholars are either Indian or Hindu. Over the past one hundred years in particular, foreign scholars have generated the bulk of the new theoretical perspectives on Patanjali’s work. The story...

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4: Yoga Sutra Agonistes: Hegel and the German Romantics

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pp. 81-91

Now freed from its Indian moorings, the Yoga Sutra’s westward drift next brought it to Germany, where Colebrooke’s 1823 study was seized upon almost immediately by Georg W. F. Hegel, who was, in the 1820s, fully engrossed in his mammoth project of writing a...

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5: Rajendralal Mitra: India’s Forgotten Pioneer of Yoga Sutra Scholarship

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pp. 92-102

It was not until twenty-nine years after Colebrooke’s groundbreaking study that James Ballantyne brought out the earliest partial English translation of the Yoga Sutra, in 1852. Ballantyne’s unfinished translation of the Yoga Sutra would not be completed until...

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6: The Yoga of the Magnetosphere: The Yoga Sutra and the Theosophical Society

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pp. 103-115

In 1875 the Russian émigré Madame Blavatsky founded the Theosophical Society in New York City together with fellow occultists William Quan Judge and Colonel Henry Steel Olcott. Accomplished spirit mediums...

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7: Swami Vivekananda and the Mainstreaming of the Yoga Sutra

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pp. 116-142

In Kolkata and greater Bengal, the administrative and intellectual center of the British Raj, Vedanta-­inspired spirituality came to be increasingly embraced by India’s urban elites as a compelling Hindu response to...

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8: The Yoga Sutra in the Muslim World

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pp. 143-158

In 1893, the same year that Vivekananda sailed west into history, a north Indian Sufi master (pir) from the Naqshbandi order initiated two young Hindu brothers with the understanding that one of them would become his successor. When the old pir died, the elder of...

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9: The Yoga Sutra Becomes a Classic

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pp. 159-171

In his “India,” Alberuni tells the story of an alchemical experiment involving an unnamed king that had taken place “in the city of Dhara, the capital of Malava, which is in our days ruled by Bhojadeva.”1 Alberuni’s Bhojadeva was none other than King Bhoja, the...

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10: Ishvara

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pp. 172-181

For most of the nineteenth century following Colebrooke’s “discovery” of the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali’s work was, for the most part, instrumentalized by various and sundry philosophers, mystics, and reformers for their own ulterior motives. Hegel appropriated...

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11: Journeys East, Journeys West: The Yoga Sutra in the Early Twentieth Century

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pp. 182-196

The decades that followed Vivekananda’s triumphal mission to the West were the stage for what has been termed India’s “Yoga Renaissance.” For the most part, this new flowering of yoga took place on Indian soil, with only two of its leading figures actually following...

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12: The Strange Case of T. M. Krishnamacharya

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pp. 197-224

No person on the planet has had a greater impact on contemporary yoga practice than Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. The guru of B.K.S. Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois, and T.K.V. Desikachar, Krishnamacharya was the...

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13: Yoga Sutra 2.0

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pp. 225-236

According to popular Jewish lore, two Jews will produce at least three opinions on any given subject. So it also is with scholars with respect to the Yoga Sutra. Does kaivalyam (“isolation”), the goal of Yoga practice, mean that the practitioner dies to the world? For...

Notes

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pp. 237-248

Suggestions for the Further reading

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pp. 249-260

Index

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pp. 261-274