SOAS University of London

Centre of Yoga Studies

Gorakṣa’s Early Works: Readings in the Gorakṣaśataka and Vivekamārtaṇḍa (Part 1)

James Mallinson

Date: 8 October 2019Time: 1:00 PM

Finishes: 8 October 2019Time: 3:00 PM

Venue: Room: G10, 26 Russell Square

Type of Event: Seminar

The first in a series of reading events in collaboration with the Sanskrit Reading Room.

The 12th- to 13th-century Vivekamārtaṇḍa of Gorakṣa vies with the Haṭhapradīpikā for the title of the most influential text on haṭhayoga. It became known by several other names, including Gorakṣaśataka and Gorakṣasaṃhitā, and is found in over 200 manuscripts in libraries in India and beyond.

In this Sanskrit Reading Room session we will read verses 103-131 of the 173-verse text. This passage is on pratyāhāra, “withdrawal”, in which, uniquely, one of the methods of withdrawal is viparītakaraṇī, “the inverter”. This technique involves turning the body upside-down in a shoulder stand in order to reverse the flow of the body’s vital energies. The mechanics of the practice are taught in some detail. The text of the passage to be read will be from James Mallinson’s ongoing critical edition.

This event is free but registration is essential. Contact to book your place.

Speaker biography

James Mallinson is Senior Lecturer in Sanskrit and Classical and Indian Studies at SOAS, University of London.

He took his BA in Sanskrit and Old Iranian at the University of Oxford, followed by an MA in Area Studies (South Asia), with Ethnography as his main subject, at SOAS. His doctoral thesis, submitted to the University of Oxford, was a critical edition and annotated translation of the Khecarīvidyā, an early text of haṭhayoga.

Dr Mallinson has published eight books, all of which are editions and translations of Sanskrit yoga texts, epic tales and poetry. His recent work has used philological study of Sanskrit texts, ethnography and art history to explore the history of yoga and yogis. His next book, written in collaboration with Dr Mark Singleton, is Roots of Yoga, to be published by Penguin Classics in 2016.

From 2015 to 2020 Dr Mallinson will be leading and ERC - funded research project on the history of hatha yoga which will result in ten critical editions and translations of key yoga texts, four monographs and two large conferences to be held at SOAS in 2017 and 2019.