Wild and diverse outcomes are associated with transmutational practices: the prolongation of life, the recovery of youth, the cure of diseases, invincibility, immortality, enlightenment, liberation from the cycle of rebirths, and unending bliss. This range of outcomes is linked to specific practices taught in separate traditions and lineages in medical, alchemical, yogic and tantric milieus across South and Inner Asia. In this edited volume, transmutational practices and their underlying concepts are examined in the wider context of South and Inner Asian culture. This volume draws together a wide scope of research into this area of enquiry. In addition to the examination of these concepts and practices in Sanskritic South Asian traditions, it features ground-breaking research on the related practices and concepts of kāyakarpam, bcud len and mendrup, developed in the Tamil Siddha medico-alchemical tradition and in Tibetan Buddhist and Bonpo contexts, respectively. The volume also offers an exploration of Islamic yogic longevity practices that emerged in Sufi milieus of the Roshang kingdom between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries.
Dagmar Wujastyk is Associate Professor at the University of Alberta. She was Principal Investigator of the AyurYog project from 2015-2020, an ERC-funded project investigating the historical links between the South Asian knowledge systems of yoga, ayurveda and rasashastra. Dr Wujastyk’s publications include Modern and Global Ayurveda (SUNY Press 2008) and Wellmannered medicine (OUP NY 2012).
Suzanne Newcombe is a Lecturer in Religious Studies at the Open University, UK. She worked as a postdoctoral researcher on the AyurYog project and as Research Fellow at Inform, an independent organisation based at the London School of Economics (2015-2018) and King’s College London (2018-2020). She has written Yoga in Britain (Equinox 2019) and is editing with Karen O’Brien-Kop the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of Yoga and Meditation.
Christele Barois is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Vienna, Austria. She is specialized in ancient and medieval Hinduism through Puranic literature and South Indian Saiva Tantras. Her recent work includes a study of the Dharmaputrika, a text belonging to the so-called Sivadharma Corpus that lays out a systematic programme for the practice of yoga.