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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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Mughal, Modern, and Postmodern Yogis

Mughal, Modern, and Postmodern Yogis

Chapter:
(p.198) Six Mughal, Modern, and Postmodern Yogis
Source:
Sinister Yogis
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226895154.003.0006

“Die, yogi, die! Dying is sweet, when you die the death by which the dying Gorakh had his vision.” This poem, written by a yogi (Gorakhnāth was the founder of the Nāth Yogīs) for the edification of yogis, dates from no later than the fourteenth century and is an early example of Indic vernacular poetry. This is the same period in which literary references to yogis suddenly appear in half a dozen other non-Sanskrit languages, but in this case, the languages are those of foreigners to the subcontinent: the Perso-Arabic languages of India's Muslim conquerors and the Romance and Germanic languages of travelers and traders from Europe. This chapter focuses on yogis in travel narratives, as well as accounts of yogis as alchemists, healers, poisoners, soldiers, spies, long-distance traders, power brokers, princes, and purveyors of aphrodisiacs in these narratives. It also considers yogis in the Indian peasantry and modern and postmodern yogis.

Keywords:   yogis, India, Perso-Arabic languages, Germanic languages, travelers, traders, Europe, peasantry, travel narratives, aphrodisiacs

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