David Gordon White

Tales of Sinister Yogis


Medieval Indian literature is replete with tales of dark and mysterious figures called Yogis, whose “yoga” consists not in meditation, postures and breath control, but rather in hostile takeovers of other people’s bodies. Professor David Gordon White, who is exploring this literary in his current research, traces its origins back to the Hindu epics, and argues that the yogic “yoking” of other people’s bodies is in fact the most ancient and pervasive of all of India’s yoga traditions.


David Gordon received his Ph.D. from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago in 1988. He also studied Hinduism at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris. He is the authors of three books: Myths of the Dog-Man (1991); The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India (1996); and Kiss of the Yogin: Tantric Sex in its South Asian Contexts (2003).