The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Modern Yoga, the Global Yoga Phenomenon and the Sāṃkhyayogin Hariharānanda Āraṇ

This lecture series is presented by Professor Knut A. Jacobsen (University of Bergen). Read more about his research here.


Part 1: Historical Yoga, Modern Yoga, and the Current Global Yoga Phenomenon

About the lecture

In this video by Professor Knut A. Jacobsen, we focus on how historical research in yoga and the global phenomenon on yoga has gained much important in the recent years. Modern yoga was the result of great creativity by persons who utilized the circulation of ideas between India and the West for innovative purposes. The result was the expansion of a great variety of traditions of yoga. A main topic of Yoga Studies has been the transition from pre-modern to modern yoga. In this lecture, Professor Jacobsen looks at a small revival of Sāṃkhyayoga, also called Pātañjalayoga, orthodoxy in Bengal in the late nineteenth century that was part of the transition from pre-modern to modern yoga.


Part 2: Hariharānanda Āraṇya (1869-1947) and the revival of Sāṃkhyayoga

About the lecture

In this part, Professor Jacobsen enhances his lecture with excerpts from his recently published book Yoga in Modern Hinduism: Hariharānanda Āraṇya and Sāṃkhyayoga, and talks about its relation to pre-modern and modern traditions and transformation of yoga and investigates the case of Hariharānanda Āraṇya (1869-1947) and the Kāpil Maṭh tradition of Sāṃkhyayoga which he founded.

The Kāpil Maṭh tradition is the only living Sāṃkhyayoga tradition in India and is based on an orthodox Sāṃkhyayoga interpretation of the Pātañjalayogaśāstra and is therefore an interesting case, which Prof. Jacobsen explores here. 


Part 3: The Status of the Yogasūtra and Yogis in Nineteenth Century

About the lecture

Divided into two parts, this lecture focuses on two different aspects, namely the absence of pandits interested in Samkhya and Yoga in 19th century in Bengal and India, and the low reputation of yogis in India during the same period. Professor Jacobsen details that it was the 19 the century when in India the “yogi came to symbolize all that was wrong in certain tributaries of the Hindu religion. … associated with backwardness and superstition, and many people considered them to have no place in the scientific and modern yoga enterprise.”


Part 4: The Yoga Teaching of Āraṇya as Modern Yoga

About the lecture

In the final part of his lecture, Professor Jacobsen focuses on the nineteenth-century intellectual encounter between India and the West which had set off a rush of remarkable intellectual creativity. For instance, Yoga philosophy in Bengal in the second half of the nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth was influenced by the interests of Orientalist scholars and Theosophists in ancient Indian traditions, by Indian intellectuals and the new Hindu movement of the last decades of the nineteenth century Bengal.

In this new Hindu movement people were looking for ways to revive ancient traditions instead of reform of the tradition, which had characterized the Bengali Hindu revival of the first part of the nineteenth century.