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The Yogīs’ Latest Trick1


David Gordon White's wide-ranging scholarship on tantra, yoga and alchemy has inspired many students and scholars to undertake research in those fields. White worked as an assistant to Mircea Eliade and his doctorate from the University of Chicago was in History of Religions. His research methodology, true to this scholastic heritage, is not as deeply rooted in textual criticism as that of the current vanguard of scholars working on tantra and yoga, whose philological studies rarely reference his work. The accessibility of his books and articles, however, together with his engaging writing style and the excitement that imbues his scholarship, mean that indologists specialising in other fields, and authors addressing non-scholarly audiences, frequently draw on his publications. White's prominence in the study of yoga and tantra requires all scholars working on those subjects to address his work.

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This is a review article about Sinister Yogis by David Gordon White Chicago: Chicago University Press. 2009. ISBN: 978-0-226-89513-0. I am grateful to Alexis Sanderson, Harunaga Isaacson, Shaman Hatley, Dominic Goodall, Mark Singleton, Jason Birch, Patton Burchett, Matthew Clark, Alex Watson, James Fitzgerald and Andrew Nicholson for their comments on earlier drafts.

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Birch, Jason, The Amanaska. King of All Yogas. A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation with a Monographic Introduction. Thesis submitted for degree of Doctor of Philosophy, University of Oxford, 2013.
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Burchett, Patton, Bhakti Religion and Tantric Magic in Mughal India: Kacchvāhās, Rāmānandīs, and Nāths, circa 1500–1750. PhD thesis, Columbia University 2012.
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White, David Gordon 2009. “‘Never Have I Seen Such Yogis, Brother’: Yogīs, Warriors and Sorcerers in Ancient and Medieval India,” pp. 86113 in Ancient to Modern: Religion, Power, and Community in India, (ed.) Banerjee-Dube, Ishita and Dube, Saurabh (New York, 2009).
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Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
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