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Gurus of Modern Yoga$
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Mark Singleton and Ellen Goldberg

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199938704

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199938704.001.0001

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Manufacturing Yogis: Swami Vivekananda as a Yoga Teacher

Manufacturing Yogis: Swami Vivekananda as a Yoga Teacher

Chapter:
(p.17) Chapter 1 Manufacturing Yogis: Swami Vivekananda as a Yoga Teacher
Source:
Gurus of Modern Yoga
Author(s):

Dermot Killingley

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199938704.003.0002

Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902) was the first Indian to teach yoga in the West. This study examines his life and background and his participation in the 1893 Parliament of Religions, showing that teaching yoga was not part of his plan in going there but was rather a response to local demand. The demand for yoga teaching in the United States depends on ideas that were current in a general expansion of popular knowledge about India. Vivekananda had a critical attitude to yoga, particularly to the development of supranormal powers. He used the Yogasūtra as a basis but showed little interest in some parts of it. The other text he uses as an authority for yoga is the Bhagavad-Gītā. With these two texts, or selected parts of them, he develops two recurrent and interrelated themes: a hierarchy of religions; and a distinctive interpretation of the theory of evolution.

Keywords:   Vivekananda, Yoga, Yogasūtra, Theosophy, Evolution

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