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The Alchemical Body

Siddha Traditions in Medieval India

The Alchemical Body excavates and centers within its Indian context the lost tradition of the medieval Siddhas. Working from previously unexplored alchemical sources, David Gordon White demonstrates for the first time that the medieval disciplines of Hindu alchemy and hatha yoga were practiced by one and the same people, and that they can be understood only when viewed together. White opens the way to a new and more comprehensive understanding of medieval Indian mysticism, within the broader context of south Asian Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Islam.

"White proves a skillful guide in disentangling historical and theoretical complexities that have thus far bedeviled the study of these influential aspects of medieval Indian culture."—Yoga World

"Anyone seriously interested in finding out more about authentic tantra, original hatha yoga, embodied liberation . . . sacred sexuality, paranormal abilities, healing, and of course alchemy will find White’s extraordinary book as fascinating as any Tom Clancy thriller."—Georg Feuerstein, Yoga Journal

614 pages | 6 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 1996

Asian Studies: General Asian Studies

Religion: South and East Asian Religions

Table of Contents

Preface
Note on Transliteration
Abbreviations
1: Indian Paths to Immortality
2: Categories of Indian Thought: The Universe by Numbers
3: The Prehistory of Tantric Alchemy
4: Sources for the History of Tantric Alchemy in India
5: Tantric and Siddha Alchemical Literature
6: Tantra in the Rasarnava
7: Corresponding Hierarchies: The Substance of the Alchemical Body
8: Homologous Structures of the Alchemical Body
9: The Dynamics of Transformation in Siddha Alchemy
10: Penetration, Perfection, and Immortality
Epilogue: The Siddha Legacy in Modern India
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

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