This carries the unfortunate implication that the yoga discourse has tended to renounce constructive dialogue with competing sign systems having different opinions. Then as now, yoga practitioners and mystics disqualify alternative voices, because they do not have yoga experience or initiation from a yoga guru. You have to belong to the tradition in order to be participate in debate on yoga. The implication: for a true yogi only another yogi is worth debating with. Further, yoga pundits, Brahmins and some scholars dismiss cross-disciplinary input from intellectual peers for example because they do not master the ancient language of yoga – Sanskrit. The end result is that only narrowly defined circles are seen to be able to produce yoga knowledge. This, seen with the eyes of a post-Popperian epistemology, of course seriously limits the growth of knowledge that can take place within the yoga discourse field.
Let me finalise this discussion of the viability of a yoga tradition with a rather thought provoking historical example. As the Muslims established themselves in India and began to translate Sanskrit literature, they found it impossible in their own written language to directly express Hindu words and sounds. This became especially critical for them as they tried to translate yoga texts like the Armtakanda (an early Nath work) which taught mantra and chanting. There was no way that these sounds could be captured by their translations and this frustrated them deeply, as they knew very well how important it was to utter the mantra exactly. However the translators in the end made up some translation constructions with the result that the mantras in totally transformed modes found their way into holy Sufi literature. In other words yoga mantras became a part of Sufi canon and their yogic origination was over time forgotten. This led to following situation for later generations of pious Muslims who studied what was basically a Muslim translation and incorporation of a yoga text:
Thus when Mevlevi dervishes (Muslim ascetics) copied out the Ottoman Turkish version of this text (The Armatakanda) a hundred years ago, they thought of it as a familiar genre of Sufi text with some interesting occult application; they did not have the slightest notion that they were chanting garbled Sanskrit mantras addressed to Hindu goddessesâ. (C.W. Ernst 2003, p.226)
So, so much for tradition ‘ – coming from the Latin tradere ‘ – to hand overâ.
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