Lecture tag: Yoga

History of Rājayoga: Session Eight (MT 14)

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda’s book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries.

Dr. Jason Birch completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

History of Rājayoga: Session Seven (MT 14)

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda’s book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries.

Dr. Jason Birch completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

History of Rājayoga: Session Six (MT 14)

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda’s book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries.

 

Dr Jason Birch completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

 

History of Rājayoga: Session Five (MT 14)

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda’s book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries.

 

Dr Jason Birch completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

History of Rājayoga: Session Four (MT 14)

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda’s book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries.

 

Dr Jason Birch completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

History of Rājayoga: Session Three (MT 14)

This eight-week lecture series will begin with a detailed examination of the earliest Rājayoga text known to have been written. It can be dated to the 11-12th centuries. We shall also examine many of the scattered references to Rājayoga in later medieval yoga texts, and conclude with Swāmī Vivekānanda’s book on Rājayoga, which is largely responsible for most of the twentieth-century interpretations of Rājayoga. Seeing that the history of Rājayoga is intimately connected with Haṭhayoga, this course will provide an explanation of how the relationship between the two has developed over the centuries.

 

Dr Jason Birch completed his doctoral thesis in 2013 on a twelfth-century Rājayoga text called the Amanaska, under the supervision of Alexis Sanderson at Oxford University. In 2014, he was a visiting scholar at Loyola Marymount University where he taught courses on the history of yoga for a Masters program in Yoga Studies. Dr Birch has taught Yoga professionally in Australasia and is currently researching several unpublished Sanskrit yoga manuscripts written between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, in an attempt to reconstruct the history of yoga on the eve of colonialism.

Graduate Seminars (Session Three) (HT 14)

Deconstructing Taxonomies: How Can We Study ‘Modern Hinduism’?

Anthony King, Blackfriars, University of Oxford

The category ‘Modern Hinduism’ is often assumed to be a comprehensive and all-encompassing taxonomy, one that carefully delineates all the modern manifestations of the pre-existing religions of India. However it is far from being an innocent signifier. It is the site of significant contestation between post-colonial and Enlightenment claims to truth and knowledge. Scholars are divided on the issue of the ‘construction’ of Hinduism, but what is certain is that the study of Hinduism is in a crisis.

How can we address the issue of the validity of the taxonomy ‘Modern Hinduism’? Is there a way to give a voice in the debate to those who perhaps hold the answer – ‘Modern Hindus’ themselves? This paper will address these issues and possible methodologies of such an approach.

The idea of ahamkara in Samkhya and Yoga

Ramesh Pattni, Blackfriars, Oxford

Central to the Samkhya and Yoga perspectives is the ego and its central role in the continuation of subjectivity through grasping and ownership of experience. We look at this notion of the subject in relation to the underlying metaphysics of the systems of thought.

Yoginīyoga/Yogin as Yoginī: On the sādhana of female deities in Indian tantric Buddhism of the tenth to twelfth century

Harunaga Isaacson was born in Kuma, Japan, in 1965. He studied philosophy and Indology at the University of Groningen (MA 1990), and was awarded a PhD in Sanskrit by the University of Leiden (1995). From Fall 1995 to Summer 2000 he was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Oriental Institute, Oxford University. After holding teaching positions at Hamburg University and the University of Pennsylvania, he was appointed Professor of Classical Indology in the Department of Indian and Tibetan Studies, Asien-Afrika-Institut, Hamburg University, in April 2006. His main research areas are: tantric traditions in pre-13th century South Asia, especially Vajrayāna Buddhism; classical Sanskrit poetry; classical Indian philosophy; and Purāṇic literature. Prof. Isaacson is a member of the board of Indo-Iranian Journal (since 2003) and the Governing Committee of the INDOLOGY Discussion Forum. He is also presently Director of the Nepal Research Centre and General Director of the Nepalese-German Manuscript Cataloguing Project (both positions held since April 2006), funded by the Deutsche Forschungs Gemeinschaft.

The Śākta Co-option of Haṭhayoga

Text-critical study of the earliest texts to teach haṭhayoga (c.11th-13th centuries) shows that in its first formulations it was closely associated with traditional ascetic practice and that the aim of its techniques, which were physical, was to boost the beneficial effects of celibacy (or, at least, continence). Śākta traditions dating to a similar period had developed a system of yoga in which the yogin visualised the rising of Kuṇḍalinī from the base of the spine up through a series of cakras. This Kuṇḍalinī yoga, together with some other techniques developed in a Śākta milieu, was overlaid onto the techniques of haṭhayoga in texts such as the Vivekamārtaṇḍa, Gorakṣaśataka and Haṭhapradīpikā. The haṭhayoga taught in the latter text in particular became definitive and since its composition (c. 1450) Kuṇḍalinī-based haṭhayoga has been the dominant form of haṭhayoga, and indeed yoga more broadly conceived. The co-option of haṭhayoga by a Śākta tradition is representative of both the development within Śāktism of a less exclusive, more universal yoga and of the formation of the Nāth saṃpradāya. The first gurus associated with the Nāth order, Matsyendra and Gorakṣa, were part of a non-celibate Śākta tradition which developed in the Deccan. Out of this tradition there developed the celibate order of Nāth ascetics whose influence ranged, and ranges, over all but the southeast of the subcontinent.

James Mallinson has a BA in Sanskrit from Oxford and an MA with a major in ethnography from SOAS. His DPhil. thesis at Oxford was a critical edition of the Khecarīvidyā, a Kaula work on khecarīmudrā, an important technique of haṭhayoga. After his DPhil. he translated Sanskrit poetry for the Clay Sanskrit Library for six years. He then spent a year teaching Sanskrit at SOAS and is now helping to set up an institute of Indian classical studies at Lavasa in India while continuing his research into yoga and yogis.

Yoga and Māyā in the Bhāgavata-purāṇa

Among Puranic literature, the Bhagavata Purana has been most influential, both in intellectual circles and in popular Hinduism. The Bhagavata offers a unique form of yoga that is indebted to earlier texts, such as the Mahabharata and Patañjali’s Yoga-sutra, but is nevertheless distinct from them in an important way—the Bhagavata blends its characteristic emotional bhakti with the otherwise staid practice of yoga. This paper argues that the shift from the normative bhakti of the Mahabharata to the emotional bhakti of the Bhagavata is made possible primarily through the concept of yoga-maya. The paper examines the relationship between yoga, the yogi, yoga-maya, and yogesvara in the two texts, and shows that without maya, the intensity of the emotional yoga between the devotee and Krsna found in the Bhagavata cannot take place. While non-dualist Vedanta philosophy often sees maya as a negative force, this paper argues the Bhagavata affirms just the opposite – the devotee’s place under the veil of maya is a desirable situation as it allows for the experience of intimate love. Gopal Gupta is currently pursuing a D.Phil. in Hindu Studies at the University of Oxford.