Mughal, Modern, and Postmodern Yogis

in Sinister Yogis

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226895130
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226895154 | DOI:
Mughal, Modern, and Postmodern Yogis

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“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

Chapter.  25335 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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