Images of Patañjali in modern Yoga
Gudrun Buhnemann (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Paper short abstract:
Patañjali has emerged as an important figure in modern Yoga. His representations are often installed in Yoga studios, where they function as objects of reverence. I will trace the development of Patañjali's iconography by examining representations in a variety of media created in India and the West.
Paper long abstract:
In recent decades the Indian sage Patañjali has emerged as an important figure in modern Yoga. Referred to as "the father of Yoga", his visual representations are often installed in Yoga studios, where they function as objects of reverence and sanctify space. At the same time they serve as links between the practice of postures commonly taught there and the teachings of the philosophical text of the Yogasūtras composed by Patañjali. In this talk I will trace the development of Patañjali's iconography from early representations as a half-human half-serpentine acolyte of the god Śiva in South India to more recent representations as an independent figure enshrined in temples. I will discuss representations created in a variety of media in India and the West and will examine works of art experimenting with new forms.
Dwelling and creating within and across religious traditions (SIEF Ethnology of Religion Working Group Panel)