A Revived Sāṃkhyayoga Tradition in Modern India

Studia Religiologica 53 (2):105-118 (2020)
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This paper discusses the phenomenon of Kāpil Maṭh (Madhupur, India), a Sāṃkhyayoga āśrama founded in the early twentieth century by the charismatic Bengali scholar-monk Swāmi Hariharānanda Ᾱraṇya (1869–1947). While referring to Hariharānanda’s writings I will consider the idea of the re-establishment of an extinct spiritual lineage. I shall specify the criteria for identity of this revived Sāṃkhyayoga tradition by explaining why and on what assumptions the modern reinterpretation of this school can be perceived as continuation of the thought of Patañjali and Īśvarakṛṣṇa. The starting point is, however, the question whether it is possible at all to re-establish a philosophical tradition which had once broken down and disappeared for centuries. In this context, one ought to ponder if it is likely to revitalise the same line of thinking, viewing, philosophy-making and practice in accordance with the theoretical exposition of the right insight achieved by an accomplished teacher, a master, the founder of a “new”revived tradition declared to maintain a particular school identity. Moreover, I refer to a monograph of Knut A. Jacobsen (2018) devoted to the tradition of Kāpil Maṭh interpreted as a typical product of the nineteenth-century Bengali renaissance.
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