SOAS University of London

Centre of Yoga Studies

Gurus, Monks and Naked Yogīs: The Ideal Jain Renouncer in Digambar Literature

John Cort

Date: 5 May 2021Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 5 May 2021Time: 8:15 PM

Venue: Virtual Event Room: Online

Type of Event: Talk

From the late medieval period onwards, continuing to the present, we find Digambar Jain texts that describe the ideal yogī as a naked renouncer who dwells in forests and on mountains, where he engages in all manner of severe asceticism regardless of whether it is during the harsh heat of summer or the freezing cold of winter. But he is not just any sort of ascetic renouncer: he is a Jain renouncer, and so follows the strict rules of Jain monastic conduct. The yogī is also called a muni, sādhu and guru. In Jain narrative and devotional literature these are overlapping and largely coterminous categories. This talk will look at the depiction of the ideal yogī in some of these medieval texts to explore a Jain contribution to the broader cultural trope of the yogī in South Asian history

This event is bookable via our Eventbrite page.

Speaker Biography 

John E. Cort is Professor Emeritus of Religion at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, USA. He is the author of many books and articles on the Jains, and religion and culture in western India. Most recently he has co-edited (with Paul Dundas, Knut Jacobsen and Kristi L. Wiley) Brill’s Encyclopedia of Jainism, and (with Andrea Luithle-Hardenberg and Leslie C. Orr) Cooperation, Contribution and Contestation: The Jain Community, Colonialism and Jainological Scholarship.