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Histories and Legends of the Naths
An exploration of the history, religion, and folklore of the Naths, a Hindu lineage known for Hatha yoga practice. This book provides a remarkable range of information on the history, religion, and folklore of the Naµth Yogis. A Hindu lineage prominent in North India since the eleventh century, Naµths are well-known as adepts of Hatha yoga and alchemical practices said to increase longevity. Long a heterogeneous group, some Naµths are ascetics and some are householders; some are dedicated to personified forms of Shiva, others to a formless god, still others to Vishnu. The essays in the first part of the book deal with the history and historiography of the Naµths, their literature, and their relationships with other religious movements in India. Essays in the second part discuss the legends and folklore of the Naµths and provide an exploration of their religious ideas. Contributors to the volume depict a variety of local areas where this lineage is prominent and highlight how the Naµths have been a link between religious, metaphysical, and even medical traditions in India.