‘What could an archaic treatise on the attainment of release through true cognition possibly have to do with modern postural yoga’ (p. 1)? How does the postcolonial afterlife of the Yoga Sūtra (hereafter YS) relate to precolonial traditions of yoga? Is it largely a matter of historical contingency that this Sanskrit text from the beginning of the Common Era is today the subject of numerous translations into a variety of languages, a ‘classic’ of Indian religious literature found in bookstores and recited in Sanskrit by practitioners of contemporary forms of yoga? David Gordon White traces the circuitous and surprising history of the YS through a variety of contexts, focusing centrally on its colonial reception but also examining its life in Islamic and precolonial contexts.

White begins...

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