Join us for stories about yogis abound in Indian literature, although they are little known in the contemporary West. These tales give us a fuller picture of how yogis were regarded in Indian popular culture, and often present us with a somewhat different picture than is conveyed by the more idealized portrayals found in the philosophical literature more familiar to the West. In this evening of story-telling—accompanied by works of Indian art—we will sample a range of yoga stories: tales of sinister yogis who use their spiritual powers to lie, cheat, steal, seduce, and even murder!; gods and goddess—and even demons—who practice yoga; deities who commission celestial nymphs to seduce the most accomplished yogis; stories of flying troops of semi-divine yoginis who consort with male yogis in dark forests, mountain caves, and cremation grounds to share with them both their bodies and their yogic wisdom. And lots more!
Image credit: Yogi Jallandharnath and Princess Fly Over Palace Pool (detail) Amardas Bhatti, 1830 Mehrangarh Museum Trust
Timothy Gus Kileyreceived his master’s degree in religion from Harvard University and for several years taught Hinduism and Indian religions in the public program series of the C.G. Jung Institute in Boston and the C.G. Jung Foundation in New York. In 1987 he helped to start Zone Books, a publisher of academic books in the arts, philosophy, and humanities, and served as its publisher until his recent retirement. A former editor of Parabola: The Magazine of Myth and Tradition, he has served on the advisory panel for Mythosphere: A Journal of Image, Myth, and Symbol and on the board of directors of both The Society for the Study of Myth and Tradition and Urzone, Inc. He was also consulting editor and a contributor to The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images (Taschen, 2010). For the last several years he has been teaching the history and philosophy of yoga to yoga teachers in New York and Boston. He is currently at work on a concise history of Indian yoga for a general audience.