In this episode we welcome back Jim Mallinson for an update on his pioneering research into the earliest Sanskrit texts of Haṭha Yoga. We review some of the major findings from the 5-year ERC Haṭha Yoga Project and learn about his latest project, the Light on Hatha Yoga Project (2021–2024) which will produce a critical edition of the Haṭhapradīpikā. We discuss the latest methods in digital Sanskrit philology and the challenges of working with large amounts of manuscript data. We then dive into the Amṛtasiddhi, the "Attainment of Immortality," to learn about this fascinating and important tantric source text for the Haṭha Yoga Traditions, giving a rich preview for Jim's upcoming online course, YS 206 | The Amṛtasiddhi: Haṭha Yoga's Source Text.
Dr. James Mallinson is Reader in Indology and Yoga Studies at SOAS University of London. His research focuses on the history and current traditional practice of yoga and his primary methods are philology, ethnography and art history. Dr. Mallinson led the Haṭha Yoga Project (2015–2021), a six-person research project on the history of physical yoga funded by the European Research Council. The project’s core outputs will be ten critical editions of Sanskrit texts on physical yoga and four monographs on its history and current practice. Together with Professor Jürgen Hanneder (University of Marburg), Dr. Mallinson is now leading the Light on Hatha Yoga Project (2021–2024) which will produce a critical edition of the Haṭhapradīpikā.
Among Dr. Mallinson’s publications are The Khecarīvidyā of Ādinātha, a Critical Edition and Annotated Translation of an Early Text on Haṭhayoga (Routledge, 2007), a revision of his doctoral thesis, which was supervised by Professor Alexis Sanderson at the University of Oxford, where Dr. Mallinson also read Sanskrit as an undergraduate, Roots of Yoga (Penguin Classics, 2017, co-authored with Mark Singleton) and The Amṛtasiddhi and Amṛtasiddhimūla: The Earliest Texts of the Haṭhayoga Tradition (École française d’Extreme-orient, Pondicherry, 2021). Dr. Mallinson has spent more than ten years living in India with traditional ascetics and practitioners of yoga, and at the 2013 Kumbh Mela was awarded the title of Mahant by the Rāmānandī Saṃpradāya.