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Sinister Yogis$
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David Gordon White

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226895130

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226895154.001.0001

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Yogi Gods

Yogi Gods

(p.167) Five Yogi Gods
Sinister Yogis
University of Chicago Press

A yogi's powers of omniscience entail extensions of his person that radiate far beyond the contours of his physical body, into the furthest reaches of the cosmos. In effect, a yogi's mind-body (or more properly speaking his consciousness-body) complex becomes virtually coterminus with the limits of the universe. This chapter follows the ways in which the implications of this extension of the person or self came to be applied to the theology, anthropology, cosmology, and soteriology of the Hindu Purānas and Tantras, as well as the scriptures of Buddhist Mahāyāna and Tantra. These new developments appear to follow parallel tracks, with the bodies and powers of yogis and gods being magnified in homologous ways in coeval sources. The four-verse “coda” of the Mahābhārata's yoga chapter offers a novel expansion on the theories of perception and the science of entering foreign bodies. This chapter also examines yogic displays by gods and Buddhas and the deification of yogis.

Keywords:   yoga, yogis, gods, Buddhas, deification, cosmology, Purānas, Tantras, scriptures, Mahāyāna

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