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Indian AsceticismPower, Violence, and Play$
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Carl Olson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190225315

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190225315.001.0001

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Types of Power

Types of Power

(p.52) 3 Types of Power
Indian Asceticism

Carl Olson

Oxford University Press

The major part of this chapter is an examination of the third chapter of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali concerning powers acquired by ascetics. The discussion about various types of powers is expanded to include the Pali Buddhist tradition, Mahayana Buddhism, Jainism, Tantra, and Puranic literature. After offering this typology of ascetic powers, this chapter examines the dangers associated with power, its possible loss, and its limitations. Finally, this chapter examines findings in cognitive science and what it suggests about studying ascetic powers in the future. The narrative evidence suggests that ascetics represent a coincidence opposites, suggesting that the ascetic is a paradoxical figure.

Keywords:   Yoga Sutras, Patanjali, Buddhism, Jainism, Tantra, Puranas, typology, powers, paradox, cognitive science

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