About 'Hatha Yoga' by Yogi Ramacharaka

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Kim OHara
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About 'Hatha Yoga' by Yogi Ramacharaka

Post by Kim OHara » Thu Oct 19, 2017 4:08 am

An old edition of this book (it didn't look like the cover image below) came my way recently and I wondered just how old it was and who on earth Yogi Ramacharaka was. The answers were odd enough to share.
hatha-yoga-cover.jpeg
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How Old Is This Book?
Hatha yoga : or the yogi philosophy of physical well-being, with numerous excercises, etc. / by Yogi Ramacharaka was first published by the Yogi Publication Society of Chicago way back in … (wait for it!) … 1904.

Who Wrote It?
William Walker Atkinson aka Yogi Ramacharaka.

Huh?

Mostly from Wikipedia:
William Walker Atkinson (1862 – 1932) was an American attorney, merchant, publisher, and author, as well as an occultist and a pioneer of the New Thought movement and the author of pseudonymous works attributed to Theron Q. Dumont, Yogi Ramacharaka and others. He wrote an estimated 100 books, all in the last 30 years of his life. His works have remained in print more or less continuously since 1900.
Atkinson pursued a business career from 1882 onwards. While he gained much material success as a lawyer, the stress took its toll and he experienced a complete breakdown. He looked for healing and in the late 1880s he found it with New Thought. By the early 1890s Chicago had become a major centre for New Thought, and Atkinson decided to move there. Once in the city, he became an active promoter of the movement as an editor and author. He was responsible for publishing the magazines Suggestion (1900–1901), New Thought (1901–1905) and Advanced Thought (1906–1916).
In the 1890s, Atkinson had become interested in Hinduism and after 1900 he devoted a great deal of effort to the diffusion of yoga and Oriental occultism in the West. It is unclear whether he actually ever converted to any form of Hindu religion, or merely wrote on the subject.
According to unverifiable sources, while Atkinson was in Chicago at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, he met one Baba Bharata, a pupil of the late Indian mystic Yogi Ramacharaka (1799 - c.1893). As the story goes, Bharata had become acquainted with Atkinson's writings after arriving in America, the two men shared similar ideas, and so they decided to collaborate. While editing New Thought magazine, it is claimed, Atkinson co-wrote with Bharata a series of books which they attributed to Bharata's teacher, Yogi Ramacharaka. This story cannot be verified and it may be a fabrication.
Atkinson's claim to have an Indian co-author was actually not unusual among the New Thought and New Age writers of his era. In 1875, for instance, the Ukrainian-born Helena Petrovna Blavatsky founded the Theosophical Society, by means of which she spread the teachings of mysterious Himalayan enlightened yogis, the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom, and the doctrines of the Eastern philosophy in general.
After this pioneer work, some representatives from known lineages of Indian and Asian spiritual and philosophical tradition like Vivekananda, Anagarika Dharmapala, Paramahansa Yogananda, and others, started coming to the West.

:namaste:
Kim

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Dhammanando
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Re: About 'Hatha Yoga' by Yogi Ramacharaka

Post by Dhammanando » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:53 am

Kim OHara wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 4:08 am
According to unverifiable sources, while Atkinson was in Chicago at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, he met one Baba Bharata, a pupil of the late Indian mystic Yogi Ramacharaka (1799 - c.1893).

I wonder if Baba Bharata was in any way related to the Swami Brandranath, Hermione's celebrated guru?

THE SWAMI BRANDRANATH

I HEARD such a lovely lecture the other night
on the Cosmos.

A Little Group of Advanced Women that I
belong to are specializing this winter on the Cosmos.

We took it up, you know, because the other topics
we were studying included it so frequently. And
it's wonderful, really WONDERFUL!

Of course, an untrained mind will grapple with
it in vain. One's interest must be serious and sincere.
One must devote time to it.,

Otherwise one will get more harm than good
out of it, you know.

It's like the Russian dances that way.

They are so primal, those dances! And all those
primal things are dangerous, don't you think?
Unless one has poise!

It's odd, too, that some of the most primal
people have the most poise, isn't it?

The Swami Brandranath was like that. I've told
you bout the Swami Brandramath, haven't I?

He wore such lovely robes! You can't buy silk
like that in this country.

And he had such a PURE look in this eyes. So
many of these magnetic people lack that pure look,
you know.

He used to give talks to a Little Group of Serious
Thinkers I belong to.

He taught us to go into the Silences — only we
never quite learned, for some of the girls would
giggle. There are always people like that. The
dear Swami! — he was so patient! It was
Occidental levity, he said, and we couldn't help it.

That is one of the main differences between the
Orient and the Occident, you know.

How wonderful they are, the Orientals. And
just think of India, with all its yogis and bazaars
and mahatmas and howdahs and rajahs and things!

He was a Brahmin, the Swami was. A Brahmin
and a Burman are the same thing, you know.

It's a caste, like belonging to one of our best
families.

The Swami explained about the marks of caste,
and so forth, to us.

And then one of the girls asked him if he was
tattooed!

The idea!

*********************************


HOW THE SWAMI HAPPENED TO HAVE SEVEN WIVES

Isn't it terrible about that elephant at the Zoo
— Oh, you know! — it's like Gunga Din, only,
of course, it isn't Gunga Din at all.

Anyhow, he's CHAINED FOR LIFE! I suppose some-
one gave him tobacco for a joke and it made him
cross. I've heard of those cases, haven't you?

An elephant is such a — such a — well, NOBLE beast,
isn't he?

It's transmigration of souls makes them that way,
perhaps.

Oh is it a Rajah?

Anyhow, it sits on top of an elephant.

We took up transmigration of souls one time —
our little Group of Serious Thinkers, you know —
and it's wonderful; simply WONDERFUL!

That was when the Swami Brandranath used to
talk to us. The dear Swami! Such eyes — so pure
and yet so magnetic! — I have never seen in a human
being.

The eye is the window of the soul, you know.

He's in jail now, the poor, dear Swami. But he
wasn't really a bigamist at all. You see, he had
seven spiritual planes. All of us do, only most of
us don't know it. But he could get from one plane
to another quite easily.

Of course, he couldn't remember what he'd done
on one plane while he was on the next one above
or below it. And that's the way he happened to
have seven wives — one for each spiritual plane.

Only the Court took a sordid view of it. It seems
there was something about life insurance mixed
up with it, too.

The Occidentals are so apt to miss the spiritual
sweetness of the Oriental, don't you think?

We are — all but the Leaders of Thought, and a
little group, here and there — so commonplace.

Don't you LOATHE the commonplace?

Not loathe, really, of course — because the harmonious
mind does not let itself be disturbed.

The harmonious mind realizes that dirt is only
useful matter in the wrong place, as Tennyson sings
so sweetly somewhere.

Tennyson has quite gone out, of course. He is
so — so, well, if you get what I mean -- so mid-
Victorian, somehow.

It seems he WAS mid-Victorian all the time, but
it's only recently that it's been found out on him.

Though I always will think of "come Into the
Garden, Maud," as one of the world's sweetest
little epics.

I'm very independent that way, in spite of the
critics. After all, criticism comes down to a question
of individual taste, doesn't it? That is, in the
final analysis.

Independence! That is what this age needs.
Nearly every night before I got to bed I say to myself:
"Have I been independent today? Or have I FAILED?"

I believe in those little spiritual examinations,
don't you?

It helps one to keep in tune with the Infinite, you
know.

The Infinite! How much it comprises! And
how little we really understand it!

We're going to take it up, the Infinite, in a serious
way soon — our Little Group of Advanced
Thinkers, you know.

Don Marquis: Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers, 1916.

chownah
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Re: About 'Hatha Yoga' by Yogi Ramacharaka

Post by chownah » Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:39 am

dhammanando,
I think it would be good if you introduced humorous excerpts as clearly being fictional humor. The way you have presented this humorous piece will most likely lead some lazy reader(s) to think that this is actually representative of some "respected" individual and thus they will develop a negative attitude towards other yogi's etc.

Sowing the seeds of disrespect.
chownah

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Kim OHara
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Re: About 'Hatha Yoga' by Yogi Ramacharaka

Post by Kim OHara » Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:00 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:53 am
Kim OHara wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 4:08 am
According to unverifiable sources, while Atkinson was in Chicago at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, he met one Baba Bharata, a pupil of the late Indian mystic Yogi Ramacharaka (1799 - c.1893).

I wonder if Baba Bharata was in any way related to the Swami Brandranath, Hermione's celebrated guru?

THE SWAMI BRANDRANATH

I HEARD such a lovely lecture the other night
on the Cosmos.

A Little Group of Advanced Women that I
belong to are specializing this winter on the Cosmos.

We took it up, you know, because the other topics
we were studying included it so frequently. And
it's wonderful, really WONDERFUL!

...

The Infinite! How much it comprises! And
how little we really understand it!

We're going to take it up, the Infinite, in a serious
way soon — our Little Group of Advanced
Thinkers, you know.

Don Marquis: Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers, 1916.
Thank you, Ven Dhammanando :thumbsup: it's very apt.
I didn't know Hermione, only archy and mehitabel http://donmarquis.com/archy-and-mehitabel/
:reading:

However, I don't believe Swami Brandranath and Baba Bharata could have been related, since they exist on different Planes of Unreality: the former is Fictional and Archetypal while the latter is, we suspect, Fictitious.

:namaste:
Kim

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Pseudobabble
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Re: About 'Hatha Yoga' by Yogi Ramacharaka

Post by Pseudobabble » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:24 am

chownah wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:39 am
dhammanando,
I think it would be good if you introduced humorous excerpts as clearly being fictional humor.
Disagree. Hidden humour is the best. Like a land-mine of hilarity.
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

chownah
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Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: About 'Hatha Yoga' by Yogi Ramacharaka

Post by chownah » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:39 am

Pseudobabble wrote:
Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:24 am
chownah wrote:
Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:39 am
dhammanando,
I think it would be good if you introduced humorous excerpts as clearly being fictional humor.
Disagree. Hidden humour is the best. Like a land-mine of hilarity.
Yes but in this case if someone reads without ever figuring out that it is a false report then it is just a land mine.....a land mine sowing disrespect in this case.
chownah

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