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Textual and Material Evidence for Links between Vajrayāna and Nāth Yogis in Western India in the 11th to 15th centuries

  • James Mallinson
Tuesday 28 November 2017
Drinks aferwards
Lecture series Society of Friends of the Kern Institute (VVIK)
Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 3
2311 BZ Leiden
104 (Verbarium)

Claims of tantric Buddhist origins for the Nāth lineage of yogis are widespread in secondary literature on yoga, but with little evidence to support them. Textual support for this claim has recently been discovered, however, by Dr Péter-Dániel Szántó and Dr James Mallinson in a c.12th century bilingual (Sanskrit—Tibetan) manuscript of the Amṛtasiddhi, the oldest text to teach the methods of haṭhayoga. In this talk Dr Mallinson will summarise the evidence behind this discovery and attempt to identify where and when the shift from Vajrayāna to Nāth identity may have occurred. His research, drawing on Sanskrit, Tibetan and Telugu textual sources, and art-historical material, has led him to the west coast of India and he will illustrate his talk with photographs from his fieldwork in this region.

Dr James Mallinson is Senior Lecturer in Sanskrit and Classical Indian Studies at SOAS University of London. His primary research area is the history of yoga and its practitioners, and he is currently leading the Haṭha Yoga Project, a five-year research project on the history of physical yoga funded by a grant from the European Research Council. His most recent publication, co-authored with Dr Mark Singleton, is Roots of Yoga (Penguin Classics, 2017).


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