Tantra and Yoga: an egg and the hen problem.

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Abstract
This is what Daniel Simpson has to say of it: An entertaining polemic that takes heartfelt swipes at Western scholars, accusing them of misreading Tantra. "Hinduism is Tantric in essence," the essay says, without proving that Tantra predates other influences, or that "Yoga in its various forms, arises out of Tantra". The latter seems at odds with the earliest descriptions of austerities, or the ascetic objective of bodily transcendence (which Tantric teachings later modified, as evinced by hatha yoga texts). Meanwhile, Patanjali is said to be Tantric because he describes a silent mind - despite not mentioning kundalini (as the author implies). And quoting Abhinavagupta does not mean that Vedanta is based on his framework. Yoga and experiential insight might be inseparable, but a history of ideas can still be written, however tangential it might seem to the practices it alludes to. If "that which is comprehensible is reductionist and is an exercise in structural scrutiny which is disastrous to Indology," then why compose an essay reducing Hinduism to Tantra, while dismissing all else as misguided archiving? Regardless, I enjoyed its invective.
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Archival date: 2018-04-18
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