The Ascetic Path of Traditional Sampradāyas

From Tapas to Modern Yoga - Sādhus’ Understanding of Embodied Practices - Daniela Bevilacqua

Daniela Bevilacqua [+-]
Centre for Research in Anthropology (CRIA, ISCTE-IUL), Lisbon
Daniela Bevilacqua received her PhD in 2015, in Civilizations of Africa and Asia from Sapienza University of Rome and in Anthropology from the University of Paris Nanterre. Her PhD research was published by Routledge (2018) under the title Modern Hindu Traditionalism in Contemporary India: The Śrī Maṭh and the Jagadguru Rāmānandācārya in the Evolution of the Rāmānandī Sampradāya. She is a Associate Researcher at the Centre for Research in Anthropology (CRIA, ISCTE-IUL) in Lisbon. Her research has aroused particular interest because of its methodology and results. Her article, “Let the Sādhus Talk. Ascetic understanding of Haṭha Yoga and yogāsanas”, published in Religions of South Asia, (Vol 11, n. 2, pp. 182-206) has been translated in German, French and Portuguese. She has been invited to give lectures in various universities (Cambridge, London, Haifa, Prague, Turin, Milan) as well as to present her research in various yoga teacher training courses and yoga studios. She has published several articles in peer review journals and book chapters for publishers like Routledge and Palgrave on Hindu asceticism, female asceticism, etc. She is currently editing two volumes, one forthcoming for Amsterdam University Press and another will be a special issue of the Journal of Yoga Studies (JoYS).


In Chapter 2, the focus is on the ascetic society, using diachronic and synchronic approaches to describe four traditional sampradāyas –that of the Nāths, the Daśnāmīs, the Udāsīs and the Rāmānandīs– traditionally connected to the practice of tapasyā (austerities), haṭha yoga and yoga sādhanā. The chapter analyses then the structure of ascetic society, the reasons that lead an individual to enter it, as well as the issue of female asceticism. Eventually, the ascetic symbolism that is shared among sādhus belonging to different sampradāyas but engaged in similar practices is emphasized.

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Bevilacqua, Daniela. The Ascetic Path of Traditional Sampradāyas. From Tapas to Modern Yoga - Sādhus’ Understanding of Embodied Practices. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. May 2024. ISBN 9781800504417. Date accessed: 01 Oct 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.44379. May 2024

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