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The perspicacious Bhairabanand asks for the necklace, which the queen tears off in a rage, at which point Bhairabanand becomes a peacock to swallow the coins. Bikramadit's guru now transforms the king into a cat, which seizes the peacock and kills it. Bhairavananda, warning the king that he will "again and again regret this request," teaches the art to the pair, which the brahmin abuses by taking over Vikrama's body and the throne when the king has entered into the body of an elephant. Instead, I drink cheap booze and enjoy some woman. But I sure am going on to liberation, since I got the Kula path.

What's more, I took some horny slut and consecrated her my "holy wife. Say, who wouldn't declare this Kaula Religion Just about the most fun you can have? While he was the author of a handful of other tales as well as two original plays and a cycle of barah-masa songs, Singh's greatest legacy was as a collector of Bhojpuri folktales. Despite his lack of formal training, Singh succeeded in publishing the entire "canon" of Bhojpuri-language legend cycles, word-for-word transcriptions of the complete repertory of songs he had heard sung since his childhood by itinerant yogi minstrels, whose peregrinations always brought them back to the banks of the "Manik Talab" pond of his native village of Nachap, in the Shahbad District of southwestern Bihar.

The medieval sources of this tradition are eloquently described by Charlotte Vaudeville, who, writing on the subject of the renowned sixteenth-century "yogi romance," the Padmdvat of Mallik Muhammad JayasI, noted that in order to understand JayasT's worldview in the Padmdvat, one must acknowledge that the religious power that the first Sufis encountered, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, among the deepest strata of the populations living in northwestern India, was neither orthodox brahmanism nor even the Krishnaite current of bhakti which came later.

Rather, it was a complex blend of philosophical ideas, religious doctrines, and esoteric practices In these regions, the great bulk of non-oral literature from the high middle ages was the work of "munis" Jain "ascetics" , "siddhas" Buddhist "perfected beings" , and "Nath Yogis" "Nath PanthTs" or "GorakhnathTs ". As the Rajputs expanded their power and influence eastward out of their original homelands into the Bhojpuri-speaking regions of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, 43 Garhwal, 44 Nepal, 45 and Kumaon, wonder-working yogis often played the roles of counselors, confidantes, and bards to these princes, often at the expense of brahmins.

Laughing Skeletons A detail from Singh's Bhairavanand Yogi not examined to this point is the motif of the laughing skeleton of the murdered city watchman. This too is a recurrent trope in tales from the Vikrama Cycle, as evinced in several narratives. Near the northern rim of the Indian subcontinent, the following tale of a yogi was recounted to Gerard Toffin in by Joglal Mali, a Navadurga dancing master from the village of Theco in the Kathmandu Valley.

Once upon a time, a yogi settled in the Nepal Valley. This ascetic had immense powers. He could bless barren women with a son, provided the mother gave him back the child some time after the birth. One year, under the reign of Subahal Raja, the yogi came to the royal palace, begging for food. As the queen was childless, he refused to accept alms from her hands. The queen asked the ascetic to give her a son. The yogi accepted and fulfilled her wish with some magical pills. Some years later, he asked for the child to be returned. As soon as the ceremony was completed, the ascetic came back to the royal palace and asked for his due.

The parents implored another delay. But when the young prince rajakumara reached the age of twelve, the yogi became angry: "Listen, O king, if you don't give me your child as you promised, I will call down curses upon you. The yogi then returned to his lodge, his kutl, located in Siddhapur. While walking, he decided to put the young boy to the test: "Rajakumara, from here onward, two paths lead to Siddhapur, the main one which is safe and a short-cut with some dangers.

Which one do you prefer? The yogi realized that he had been duped. He went back to the palace with the brahmin boy and, with strong menace in his voice, he demanded the real prince. The royal couple was compelled to obey. To make sure that a new hoax would not be perpetrated, the ascetic successively took the appearance of a tiger and of an elephant.

Rajakumara fought both of them with his bow and arrows. The yogi then felt reassured: his prisoner obviously descended from a royal family. Some time later, they reached a remote hut in a vast forest. After some time had passed, he announced to Rajakumara that the principal festival of his goddess Durga was to come: "Gather all the necessary ingredients for her cult within the next two days," he said.

Durga was situated not far from there, in a secret temple, which only the yogi could enter. In the evening, he entered the goddess's house cautiously and saw an awe-inspiring statue of Durga on the altar with some spots of blood on it. A strange curtain was fixed on one side. He peeped under it and discovered six human heads hanging from the ceiling. The heads were grimacing at him: "After some days have passed," they said to Rajakumara, "the yogi will kill you as he has already killed us in front of Durga.

Then, he will behead you. Pretend that you don't know how to worship the goddess properly. The yogi will show you how to do it. So immediately take his sword, cut his head off and sprinkle us with his blood. We will come back to life. The six heads were liberated. Strangely, two wonderful young girls, Agni and JalavatT, emerged from the ears of the dead ascetic. They were so charming that Rajakumara fell in love and married them.

But Durga flew into a passion: "King, the six corpses that were offered to me are now alive. Is that not so? You have to offer me a human sacrifice every year. I will offer you this sacrifice once every twelve years. Since then, every twelve years, a person disappears in the village during the festival of the Navadurga.

The most venerable and identifiable of these is a myth—first recorded in the tenth- to eighth-century BCE Aitareya Brahmana AB and Sankhayana Sranta Sutra, and subsequently retold in the Mahabharata MBh , Ramayana Ram , and several Puranas—in which a king, usually named Hariscandra, also childless, pleads with Varuna, the vedic god of law and order, to grant him a son. Varuna offers the king a son under the same conditions as those of the yogi in the Nepali account: once the child has undergone the appropriate life-cycle rites samskaras , he must be returned—that is, sacrificed—to the god who had given him life.

A child is born, and the young prince, named Rohita, runs away into the forest before Varuna can claim him as his victim. Rohita comes upon a starving brahmin named Ajlgarta, who sells his son Sunahsepa to him to serve as his surrogate, and, unlike the yogi in the Nepali account, Varuna accepts the prince's brahmin replacement, and in the end mercifully releases Sunahsepa from his bonds. Goplcand's story opens when the young prince learns from his widowed mother Manavatl that he is doomed to die an early death unless he immediately becomes a yogi.

However, Jalandharnath's terms are the same as those of the yogi in the Rajakumara story it is likely one of its sources : after having reigned as a child-king for twelve years, Goplcand must now be returned to the yogi who gave him life, or else he will die. Unlike the royal parents of Rajakumara, Manavatl does not attempt to fool the yogi; but Goplcand himself, who does not wish to give up his princely life and family ties, does, attempting to kill Jalandarnath by sealing him inside a well under the dung of seven hundred and fifty horses.


Great yogi that he is, Jalandharnath escapes from the well, and Goplcand is taken away by Kal Death , but Jalandharnath harrows hell to bring him back to life. However, the young prince's fate is sealed, and he is forced to embrace his fate as a yogi. After a series of fantastic adventures, Jalandharnath gives Goplcand an elixir, whereby he becomes immortal.

The story of Rajakumara does not broach the prospect of what might have happened to its young hero had he not slain his yogi captor and thereby escaped sacrifice to the dire goddess Durga, but it should be noted that a standard motif of tantric narratives of self-sacrifice to 17 CHAPTER ONE the great goddess is that she immediately restores her victims to life. The etic view of yogis, as reflected in the stories we have reviewed to this point, is that their immortality and supernatural powers can only be realized at the expense of others, whose bodies they appropriate in hostile takeovers.

However, the testimony of the emic tantric canon is of a different order. Gurus enter into the bodies of young disciples in order to initiate them into a path that leads to immortality and self-deificiation. I will return to this theme in chapter four. Upon seeing him, one of the heads began to grin. The King was filled with amazement and when he had recovered his wits, asked, "Oh lifeless head, what is it that makes you grin?

A short distance from here lives a genie in the guise of a Djogui. He pleasantly greets all who pass by with a frank proposal: that he will show them a curious thing. He tells them to take an iron cauldron full of black peas, put it on a fire, and tell him when it has come to a boil. The genie then has them walk around the cauldron three times, after which he pitches them in, eats them, and throws their head upon the ground. All this happened as predicted. As the Djogui began to walk around the cauldron, Bekermadjiet seized him by the waist, and pitched him into the pot of boiling peas.

The Djogui cried out horribly, and did all that he could to escape, but in vain: his body, flesh and even his bones were cooked and entirely consumed. The King then revived the owners of the four heads, who swore to him that thenceforward, he had only to think of them for them to come to his aid. The girl blushed and the prince stammered. The sweet confusion did not, however, last long, for shortly afterwards, the prince related his adventures, and the lady told him of things that were horrible to hear.

Hundreds have been slaughtered before this time and you and I shall have to take our turns unless we can contrive our escape or put an end to the monster before the dreadful day comes. The corpses of his victims are all yonder in a pond, and you may see them there. He then returned to the maiden and sat long by her devising how to effect a rescue.

Days and months passed away, and every day witnessed the prince and the maiden enjoying hours together in each other's company In the evening, the Tantrik having finished the pujah came home to fetch the prince. While following his guide the intended victim heard the roar of laughter that was proceeding from the pond, and arriving at the ghat he saw.

The prince paid his devotions to the goddess standing and prayed for strength. Scarcely had he finished when the Tantrik commanded him to prostrate himself before the altar. Thereupon he said, "I am the son of a king and do not know how to prostrate myself. Show me how to do it. And no sooner had he done so than the prince seized the sacrificial sword, which was beside the altar, and at one stroke severed his head from his body.

Just at that instant the trunkless heads in the pond laughed more clamorously than ever, and the maiden of the forest presented herself before the joyful 19 CHAPTER ONE gaze of her lover. To run to the pond with some handfuls of flowers and bel leaves from the altar and shower them upon the heads in the mud was for them the work of a minute. And behold! The dead rose from their miry beds and blessed their deliverers in the fullness of their hearts. While wandering in a forest, he hears her cries and discovers her bound hand and foot, with a skull-bearing yogi with upraised sword about to put her to death.

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One may detect a pattern here, particularly in the earlier versions of this narrative. Here is an abridgement of the Baitdl Pacifist version of the prologue. There was a city named Dharanagar, 69 the king of which was Gandarbsen, who had six sons. When this king died, his eldest son, whose name was Sank, became king in his stead.

After some days, Bikram [Vikrama], his younger brother, having killed his elder brother, himself became king. He gradually became king of all of India and instituted an era, at which point his mind turned to travel: "I ought to visit those countries whose names I am hearing. After Bikram had been gone for a time, Bhartrhari, dissatisfied with the ways of the world, renounced the throne and became a jogi himself, leaving the kingdom without a ruler.

When Bikram heard the news, he immediately returned to his own land. In the meantime, a godling dev sent by Indra had been standing guard over the city.

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Arriving at the city gates at midnight, Bikram was confronted by the dev, who challenged him. Bikram prevailed, but the dev requested that before he died, he be permitted to tell Bikram the following story: "There was in this city a very generous king named Candrabhan. One day when walking in the jungle, he came upon an ascetic tapasvT suspended with his head downward, inhaling smoke from a fire. The king decreed that anyone who could bring that ascetic to his court would be awarded a bounty of , rupees.

A courtesan declared that she would bring a child sired on her by the ascetic back to the court, and the king took her up on her promise.


After some time, she seduced the ascetic, bore a son by him, and brought the child back to the royal court. Learning that he had been duped, the ascetic [now called a jogi] avenged himself by killing both the child and the king. You [Bikram] were born in the house of a king, the second son was born in the house of an oil-presser, and the third, the jogi, in the house of a potter. You have dominion in this kingdom. The oil-presser's son was ruler of the infernal regions. He is plotting your destruction. On the following day, a jogi named SantsTl [KsantasTIa] came to the palace, bearing a fruit that was found to contain a precious gemstone.

The yogi singers whose songs Mahadevprasad Singh transcribed in the middle of the twentieth century have perennially belonged to a Muslim sect known as "Bhartrhari Yogis," not for their practice of "yoga," but rather because many of their songs recount the legendary lives of the founders of the Nath Yogi 72 orders, Bhartrhari, his nephew Goplcand, Goplcand's guru Jalandharnath, Gorakhnath, and so on. In this case, the Nepali anthologist B. Jougee-Eckbar In the SB version of the Vikrama Cycle, the reader is informed that Vikra- ma's queens were viscerally repulsed by the yogi who had appropriated the body of their royal consort and so refused his amorous advances.

The same language is found in the PC, which relates that the first time the false king entered the royal palace in Vikrama's body, he did nothing for those who craved his customary conversation or favors, because he did not know their names, business, or other circumstances.

When they saw the king in this condition, they wondered: "Has some god or demon in the guise of the king taken possession of the vacant throne? On hearing his voice she was greatly pained and thought: "He looks like my beloved, yet afflicts me as an enemy. The KSS tells the story of a king of Patallputra named Nanda, a low-caste sudra by birth, whose corpse is revived when a brahmin named Indra- datta enters into it after leaving his own body behind.

The Mughal emperor Akbar's fl. While the yogi slept the pellet of quicksilver slipped from his mouth. Akbar chanced by, sized up the situation, and seized the pellet. When the yogi awoke, he assured the emperor he had not meddled with his women and begged him to return the quicksilver, without which he could not fly. The emperor demurred, demanding instead that the yogi teach him a few tricks. The yogi agreed and offered to put his soul into any living creature. Akbar had a deer brought forth, upon which the yogi demonstrated.

The yogi complied with the request and then brought the emperor back into his own body. The order was duly carried out but afterwards people began noticing a change in the emperor's demeanor. So that the Moores say That when hee ordered the Jougee to be killed, that the Jou- gee changed soules with the King, so that it was the Kings soule that was gone, and the Jougees soule remained in the King. Alone in the forest, Pratapbhanu confided that his fondest desire was to die of old age, to which the ascetic replied that as a powerful king, he had nothing to fear in that quarter apart from the curse of an angry brahmin.

Using my wizardry tndya , I'll carry off your royal chaplain and bring him here, and keep him here for an entire year. By the power of my asceticism tap bal , I'll make him look just like me, whilst I take on his appearance to take care of all the arrangements! Then "he took the king's chaplain and carried him off, and using his wizardry to confuse his mind, placed him inside a mountain cave.

Then, constructing a chaplain's body of his own, he went [to the palace] and lay in his [the chaplain's] matchless bed. The brahmins sat down to enjoy their meal, but before they began to eat, a heavenly voice warned them of the meal's secret ingredients, upon which they cursed King Pratapbhanu, whose entire lineage was destroyed. It is also noteworthy that on two occasions, Tulsidas refers to him as a "Nath," a moniker that would have been, in his world, a synonym for yogi.

The King and the Corpse: 98 Variations on a Theme It will be recalled that in the SB, a translation of the SD commissioned by Akbar, a yogi takes over a king's body at the moment when the king has experimentally entered into the body of a fawn. As such, the Jougee- Eckbar story told by "Moores" i. It also speaks to a piece of yogi lore reported in the AS, Kautilya's classic work on statecraft: in their roles as spies and agents provocateurs, these arch outsiders could infiltrate royal harems or crime rings through the promise of providing their members with love potions or invisibility salves.

Such is the explicit diagnosis of another king's altered behavior, as described in a number of hagiographies of Sankara fl. Of these, three tell the same story of Sankara's takeover of the body of a king named Ama- ruka: these are the circa fourteenth-century Sahkaradigvijaya SDV of Madhava-Vidyaranya, the circa fifteenth-century Sahkaravijaya SV of Anantanandagiri, and the circa Sarikaramandarasaurabha SMS of Nllakantha.

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When she began to question him about the arts of love kdmakala and other matters about which he, as a celibate renouncer, was unschooled, he requested that their debate be postponed for several months. Leaving his body via the fontanel, he slowly entered the body of the dead king via the king's fontanel Reanimated by Sankara's presence, the body of King Amaruka rose from its funeral pyre, and within it, Sankara quickly mastered the erotic arts through extended love-play with the principal queen.

Following this, they came to the royal court in the guise of a dancing troop whose songs of nondualist wisdom awakened Sankara from his stupor. He abandoned the king's body and re-entered his own, which was lying on the already ignited pyre, just in the nick of time. In the former, it is said that after he had mastered the arts of love with Amaruka's queen, Sankara went on to "extend his power balam in every direction, inhabiting lifeless bodies wherever he found them on the earth. I will return to this passage in chapter four. It is, however, only in the nineteenth-century SMS 4.

This account, which is found in two seventeenth- century Bengali Nath Yog! In this case, however, Matsyendra becomes totally debauched by Queen Kamala and her female entourage and completely forgets his original self. Furthermore, Kamala has discovered his original body and chopped it into pieces, barring his return. The music begins, and when Gorakh plays the first beat on his two-headed drum, it sings out "Awaken, Matsyendra, Gorakh has come!

In two of these clashes, his nefarious adversaries are termed yogis and their practice "the magical power of yoga" yoga-maya precisely when they attempt to slay the great teacher. The names of these sects are listed at the beginning of the fourth chapter of the SV: they are the Saivas, Raudras, Ugras, Bhattas, Jangamas, and Pasupatas.

Already mentioned in a late portion of the MBh, the Pasupatas were responsible for the composition or recomposition of several Puranas in the centuries that followed. Accordingly, yogis are persons whose religious vocation is the quest for such a union or identity, including the power to enter into, to permeate, the creator's every creature. A young brahmin had been brought to the cremation ground for burning. When the yogi saw the being that the crowd was mourning, that barely adolescent body, he resolved to enter into it, weary as he was of his own great age.

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He quickly went to an isolated spot and, shouting with all his might, began to dance with the appropriate gestures and postures. At that moment, the ascetic tapasvin , 29 CHAPTER ONE abandoning his own body out of a desire for youthfulness, thereupon entered into the corpse of the brahmin boy by means of yoga yogat. At that moment, the young brahmin, revived, arose from the heaped up pyre and began to yawn. What can we hold onto in this confusion? And will he [the king], once he has taken refuge in that other body, not forget us in the same way that a person who has gone to the world beyond [forgets]?

Who is he and who are we? He will not forget you. Listen to the reason why: The person who does not die of his own free will and who is then reborn in another womb remembers nothing. Following Maya, Candraprabha descends into a fissure in the water vivaram toye , accompanied by Suryaprabha. Once inside, they all saw the massive body of a man lying, as if asleep, on an enormous bed.

He was anointed with powerful herbs and clarified butter, and his altered appearance was terrifying. The daughters of that titan king surrounded the body, their lotus faces downcast. The king, practicing the yoga that had been taught by him, abandoned his own body and entered into the body of the man. The man lying on the bed rose up, as if awakening from sleep, and yawning, slowly opened his eyes.

And the cry arose from the rejoicing titan widows: "Thanks be to heaven! Today our lord SunTtha has been revived. But when Candraprabha-SunTtha—who was as if awoken from a sound sleep—saw Maya, he fell at his father's feet and praised him. Embracing him, he [Maya] asked him in front of everyone, "My son! Can you now recall your two lives? I remember! Calling out to each of them by name, he consoled his queens, Suryaprabha, and the others, as well as his former titan wives. As a foundation for his dual sovereignty, he had the body in which he had been born consigned to a safe place, [preserving it] in a compound of various potions, saying "Some day it could come in handy.

When he provokes Vasantasena's untimely death through the bite of a venomous snake, her sudden demise is witnessed by an unnamed "wanderer" parivrajaka and his blockheaded disciple Sandilya, a dropout from a Buddhist monastery. No fool, Ramilaka justly observes that some other being has introduced itself into Vasantasena's powerless body. What is this?

This venerable wanderer of a yogi has been having some fun! What am I to do now? I've got it! First I'll put this courtesan's soul into the parivrajaka 's body, and then, once I've yoked each to their proper place, my work will be done! Yama's emissary returns for a final time and, taking the "courtesan" aside, appeals: "Excellency! Release the body of this low-caste whore! Two points are to be retained here. The first is that the plot of this play of mistaken identities is driven by yoga.

This is a play about yoga, which is, in terms of practice, nothing other than the yoking of another person's dead body with one's own self atman. A widely attested aphorism links the parivrajaka to another practitioner of "yoga," "These are the two people in this world who pierce the solar disk: the wanderer parivrad and the yogayukta [warrior] who is slain [while] facing [his enemies] on the field of battle. However, it condemns the parivrajaka style of asceticism as counter to the vedic teachings. An Islamic variant also exists, involving a deified fakir named Manik PIr.

In the town of KanapattTccaram there lived a man named Parancoti whose devoted hospitality toward the servants of Lord Siva was so great that he came to be known as the Little Devotee Ciruttontar. Every day, the Little Devotee would, together with his wife, prepare and offer delicious food to all who came to the temple of his god.

Through the grace of the great god, a son named Cfralan was born to them, and father and mother doted upon him in every way. His heart disposed to grace, the god put on the guise of a Bhairava ascetic, wearing ashes and ornaments of bone on his lovely coral body and carrying the skull of Brahma and the two-headed tamaruka drum in his hands.

Acting as if he were insatiably hungry, he came to the home of the Little Devotee. Yet, when the Little Devotee offered to feed him, he said: "It is not possible to feed me. You cannot do it. It is impossible. The father must cut it as the mother holds it, and both must rejoice in their hearts. Then if they make a curry, I will eat it. The Little Devotee then went to bring his son back home from school. Back at home, he and his wife bathed the child, dressed him in his finest clothes, and took him to a hidden place in their house.

The beloved child, thinking, "They are very joyful," laughed happily, and the father cut off the head of his only son with a knife. Leaving the head aside, the Little Devotee's wife butchered the child, took out the marrow after opening the bones, and put everything in the pot; and grinding the spices needed for a curry, she added them, anxious to prepare it quickly. When the meal was ready, the Little Devotee went outside and bade that the Bhairava ascetic come and eat in his home. But when the meal had been served, the ascetic insisted that he be offered the head as well, and so it was made into a separate curry dish for him.

When the head had been brought, the ascetic said graciously, "We cannot eat here alone. Invite some servants of the lord who may happen to be nearby. And then, as the Little Devotee was about to eat the flesh of his son, the ascetic stopped him. Summon him. Saying, "What can we do to make our lord eat here? The Little Devotee took his child in his arms and returned, wishing to feed their guest. But the Lord who had become a Bhairava ascetic had disappeared. Distressed, the Little Devotee and his wife came outside and He who had disappeared returned, now together with his wife ParvatT and his son Skanda, his topknot swaying with the cool white moon—and the divine family raised up the Little Devotee and his family to remain with them forever.

The fourteenth- to fifteenth-century Srlnatha's poetic compendium of Saiva myths, the Haravilasamu, opens with the story of the Little Devotee. It isn't right to kill a child. If a person puts even a tiny bit of sacred ash on his body, he gets crazy as a pumpkin. Who were these cannibalistic yogis? Mere stock villains of medieval South India, or something more? In his account of his travels through Asia and Africa during the second quarter of the fourteenth century, Ibn Battuta describes the predations of a "Joki" yogi in the north Indian town of Parwan: In the surroundings of the city there are many voracious animals.

One of its inhabitants related to me that a lion used to break into the city in the night although the gates were closed and that he used to molest the people, so much that he killed many. Some of the Jokis are such that as soon as they look at a man the latter instantly falls dead. The common people say that in such a case—of a man being killed by a mere look—if his chest were cut open one could see no heart which, they say, is eaten up. Such is, for the most part, the practice with women, and the woman who acts in this manner is called a "hyena" kaftar. An ascetic yogi used to live in a thick jungle and he was known in the world as Chetak Nath.

He took one person every day from the village to eat and, due to this, everybody dreaded him. There also lived a queen by the name of Katach KumarT whose fame had spread all over. She was the prettiest [woman] in the world; she could recite the Vedas and the Shastras.

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Her husband also feared the yogi [who] took away one person every day. Why should we not take some steps to kill the yogi and save our lives as well? Then the RanT [carried out her plan] like this: She put on precious attire, collected plenty of sacrificial material and at midnight traveled to the yogi. First of all, she served him dainty dishes and then gave him lots of wine to drink.

Then she said, "I have come to exchange thoughtfs] with you. The way you eat men, please disclose it to me. And then, after that. The cauldron [in which the yogi prepared his victims] was ready [nearby], and he went around [it]. She saved herself and [scorched] the yogi, and through this trick she saved the Raja's subjects].

What can we learn from these narratives? In a seminal article written on the subject of "false ascetics and nuns in Hindu fiction," Maurice Bloomfield reduced the sinister yogis of the Vikrama Cycle to stock characters within a medieval literary trope. Fred Smith has taken much the same position in his recent encyclopedic monograph on possession, when he argues with reference to the account of Sankara and King Amaruka that this kind of yogic possession If it was ever more than a hagiographical instantiation of yogic lore, it was doubtless employed sparingly Linton, G.

Schabas, eds. Simpson eds. Williams, Robert G.

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