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Amaraugha and Amaraughprabodh of Gorakshanath (The Genesis of Hatha and Rajayoga)

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Item Code: HAS142
Author: Jason Birch
Publisher: Institut Francais De Pondichery
Language: Sanskrit and English
ISBN: 9788184702507
Pages: 176
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 9.5x7 inch
Weight 380 gm
Book Description
About the Book

The Lineage of Immortals (Sanskrit Amaraugha) is the earliest account of a fourfold system of yoga in which a physical practice called Hatha is taught as the means to a deep state of meditation known as Rajayoga. The Amaraugha was composed in Sanskrit during the twelfth century and attributed to the author Gorakşanātha. The physical yoga practices have a pre-history in a tantric Buddhist milieu but were here adapted for a Saiva audience. The treatise explains how Saiva yogis move kundalini, unite Sakti with Siva, and achieve Rajayoga. Three hundred years later, the author of the Hatha- pradipika incorporated almost all the Amaraugha's verses on Hathayoga into his own work, which became a definitive exposition of physical yoga. The study of the Amaraugha reveals not only the genesis of Hatha and Rajayoga but also the creation of the most influential model of Hathayoga in the early modern period. This book presents the first critical edition and annotated translation of the Amaraugha, as well as a later recension, called the Amaraughaprabodha, with an introduction that explores the profound significance of both works for the history of yoga.

About the Author

Jason Birch was awarded his doctorate at the University of Oxford and is a Senior Research Fellow of the Light on Hatba project, hosted at SOAS University of London and the University of Marburg. He is co-Director of the Yoga- cintamani project at the University of Massa- chusetts Boston and an Associate Researcher of the Sufruta project at the University of Alberta. He has published articles on the history of Hatha and Rajayoga, and co-authored a book on plastic surgery in the Nepalese version of the Suirutasambită. From 2015 to 2020, he was a Post-doctoral Research Fellow of the ERC- funded Hatha Yoga Project. He is a founding member of the SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies and the peer-reviewed Journal of Yoga Studies.


MY INTEREST IN THE AMARAUGHAPRABODHA arose in 2004 when I noticed one of its verses in a text on Rajayoga called the Amanaska, which I studied for my honours thesis at the University of Sydney under the super- vision of Peter Oldmeadow. With the financial support of the Clarendon and Boden Funds at the University of Oxford (2008-2013), I undertook extensive fieldwork in India with Jacqueline Hargreaves and obtained copies of five manuscripts of the Amaraughaprabodha. I read the text with Alexis Sanderson and, with his guidance, edited and translated several of its verses for my doctoral thesis (Birch 2013). Having written about the historical importance of the Amaraughaprabodha in my thesis, I suggested to James Mallinson that we include it as one of the texts to be studied by the Hatha Yoga Project.

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