Prācīn Yoga, or the Practice of Tapasyā: From Past to Present
Daniela Bevilacqua [+]
SOAS, University of London
Chapter 3 analyses the practice of tapasyā (austerities), linking it to the development of yoga and introducing the connections with haṭha yoga. The description of austerities performed in the past follows the narratives of sources that range from the works of Greek historians to the accounts of travelers and orientalists. Later on, the current practice of austerities by sādhusis described, providing a classification that aims to comprehensively illustrate a subject that is very often overlooked by scholars. It then explains the reasons behind the practice of austerities. Through cross-references between past and present, the chapter demonstrates the continuity of certain practices and how layers of meanings have ‘accumulated’ on the word tapas/tapasyā over the centuries, following the needs of times and changing historical contexts.