Yoga in Modern Hinduism

Yoga in Modern Hinduism : Hariharananda Aranya and Samkhyayoga

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The Samkhyayoga institution of Kapil Math is a religious organisation with a small tradition of followers which emerged in the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century in Bengal in India around the renunciant and yogin Hariharananda Aranya. This tradition developed during the same period in which modern yoga was born and forms a chapter in the expansion of yoga traditions in modern Hinduism.

The book analyses the yoga teaching of Hariharananda Aranya (1869-1947) and the Kapil Math tradition, its origin, history and contemporary manifestations, and this tradition's connection to the expansion of yoga and the Yogasutra in modern Hinduism. The Samkhyayoga of the Kapil Math tradition is based on the Patanjalayogasastra, on a number of texts in Sanskrit and Bengali written by their gurus, and on the lifestyle of the renunciant yogin living isolated in a cave. The book investigates Hariharananda Aranya's connection to pre-modern yoga traditions and the impact of modern production and transmission of knowledge on his interpretations of yoga. The book connects the Kapil Math tradition to the nineteenth century transformations of Bengali religious culture of the educated upper class that led to the production of a new type of yogin. The book analyses Samkhyayoga as a living tradition, its current teachings and practices, and looks at what Samkhyayogins do and what Samkhyayoga is as a yoga practice.

A valuable contribution to recent and ongoing debates, this book will be of interest to academics in the fields of Religious Studies, Anthropology, Asian Studies, Indology, Indian philosophy, Hindu Studies and Yoga Studies.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 234 pages
  • 159 x 235 x 19.05mm | 454g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 10 Halftones, black and white; 10 Illustrations, black and white
  • 1138080594
  • 9781138080591

Table of contents


1. Samkhya, Yoga and Samkhyayoga

2. Encounters with a living Samkhyayoga tradition

3. Kapila as the originator of Yoga

4. The rebirth of Yoga and the emergence of the bhadralok yogin

5. Gurus, book printing and the Samkhyayoga lineage

6. Textual tradition of the Kapil Math institution

7. Samkhyayoga meditation instructions of the Kapil Math tradition

8. Monastic life and recitation of Sanskrit stotras

9. The material religion of Samkhyayoga

10. The Kapil Math tradition and modern scholarship on Yoga

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About Prof Dr Knut A. Jacobsen

Knut A. Jacobsen is professor in the study of religions at the University of Bergen, Norway. His research focuses on Yoga, Samkhya, and Hindu conceptions and rituals of space and time. He is the editor in chief of the six volumes Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism (2009-2015) and he is the editor of the Routledge Handbook of Contemporary India (2016).
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