Jason Birch, "The Amaraugha and Amaraughaprabodha of Goraksanatha" (Institut Francais de Pondichery, 2024)


The Lineage of Immortals (Sanskrit Amaraugha) is the earliest account of a fourfold system of yoga in which a physical practice called Haṭha is taught as the means to a deep state of meditation known as Rājayoga. The Amaraugha was composed in Sanskrit during the twelfth century and attributed to the author Gorakṣanātha. The physical yoga practices have a pre-history in a tantric Buddhist milieu but were here adapted for a Śaiva audience. The treatise explains how Śaiva yogis move kuṇḍalinī, unite Śakti with Śiva, and achieve Rājayoga. Three hundred years later, the author of the Haṭhapradīpikā incorporated almost all the Amaraugha's verses on Haṭhayoga into his own work, which became a definitive exposition of physical yoga. The study of the Amaraugha reveals not only the genesis of Haṭha and Rājayoga but also the creation of the most influential model of Haṭhayoga in the early modern period. 

The Amaraugha and Amaraughaprabodha of Goraksanatha (Institut Francais de Pondichery, 2024) 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.

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

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Kshitij Jain

Kshitij Jain is pursuing an MPhil in Classical Indian Religion at the University of Oxford.

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