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Breathtaking Revelations

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An exploration of the confluence of Sufi and yogic breath-based meditation. Coming in April.
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For centuries, mystics and seekers in the region of South Asia have pursued techniques of watching the breath, bodily disciplines of yoga, and visionary experiences. The two texts presented here illustrate how adepts of Sufism internalized and explained these practices, starting with an anonymous Persian translation of The Fifty Kamarupa Verses in the fourteenth century, and concluding with The Science of Breath composed in English by Hazrat Inayat Khan in the twentieth century. The long tradition of Sufi engagement with yoga, illustrated by these writings, reveals surprising intersections between Hindu and Muslim spiritual practices, and it poses a fascinating challenge to conventional assumptions about interreligious boundaries.

Description

Breathtaking Revelations
The Science of Breath from The Fifty Kamarupa Verses to Hazrat Inayat Khan
by Carl W. Ernst & Patrick J. D’Silva

For centuries, mystics and seekers in the region of South Asia have pursued techniques of watching the breath, bodily disciplines of yoga, and visionary experiences. The two texts presented here illustrate how adepts of Sufism internalized and explained these practices, starting with an anonymous Persian translation of The Fifty Kamarupa Verses in the fourteenth century, and concluding with The Science of Breath composed in English by Hazrat Inayat Khan in the twentieth century. The long tradition of Sufi engagement with yoga, illustrated by these writings, reveals surprising intersections between Hindu and Muslim spiritual practices, and it poses a fascinating challenge to conventional assumptions about interreligious boundaries.

Reviews for Breathtaking Revelations

“Together with Ernst and D’Silva’s lucid introductions, the two fabulously rich texts presented in Breathtaking Revelations are essential sources for understanding some six hundred years of contacts and exchanges between Persianate and Indic worlds of the imagination. Yogis and Sufis, yoginis and angels, planets and flowers, divination and zeppelins all come together in a riotous celebration of the “science of breath.”
David Gordon White, author of Sinister Yogis and Dæmons are Forever: Contacts and Exchanges in the Eurasian Pandemonium

“While making accessible two remarkable works on the science of breath, this volume is also a distillation of Carl Ernst’s profound scholarship and Patrick D’Silva’s expertise. It is a rare and valuable gift for those interested in Sufism, yoga, or the global history of interreligious interactions. ”
Supriya Gandhi, historian of Mughal India and Assistant Professor in Religious Studies at Yale University and author of The Emperor Who Never Was: Dara Shukoh in Mughal India

“Here is a book that will delight any reader, whether academic forager or meditative performer, seeking to understand breath as itself the source of knowledge, worthy of scientific analysis. Ernst and D’Silva have combined to produce a volume that provides what its title announces: breathtaking revelations. ”
Bruce Lawrence, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Duke University

“The publication of these two fascinating and unique works on yoga makes a key contribution to our understanding of the history of yoga, of its adoption and adaptation by Sufi traditions, and of its role therein as a means of spiritual advancement and divination.”
James Mallinson, Boden Professor of Sanskrit, University of Oxford

“From the Medieval period onward, numerous accounts and interpretations of Hindu mystical practices circulated in Muslim textual culture. Carl W. Ernst’s and Patrick J. D’Silva’s book provides a unique insight into this phenomenon and a broader understanding of the contacts between Hindu and Muslim societies in South Asia before the rise of sectarian ideologies. By looking at the doctrines and practices associated with breath control, this book remarkably shows how the assimilation of these materials constituted a long process that lasted until the contemporary period.”
Fabrizio Speziale, Professor, School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Paris-Marseille

“Widely known for his groundbreaking research work on Sufism, Carl W. Ernst, in this exciting new book inspired by the long history of exchanges between Sufis and Yogis, takes a very original approach. He chooses to present the “breathtaking” continuity between an early XIVth century Persian treatise about the Science of divination by Breath, the Fifty Kamarupa Verses, and a modern account by the Sufi master Hazrat Inayat Khan, introduced by Patrick D’Silva. By this thought provoking parallels, they challenge the present-day essentialist approach, focused on religious boundaries and fixed identities.”
Veronique Bouillier is a social anthropologist at the Centre for Himalayan Studies, Paris

“Hazrat Inayat Khan’s own murshid, Abu Hashim Madani, once said that there is but one virtue, to breathe in the full awareness of God. These teachings are not abstract, but connected to a wide system of practices shared between the Islamic and the Hindu traditions. The magnificent Breathtaking Revelations explores this centuries-old, rich tradition of breath-based meditation. In it, Carl Ernst and Patrick D’Silva weave together the rich tapestry of Indic systems of meditation and breathwork that spanned from Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic. This is one of our most fruitful areas of shared practice among Hindu Yogis and Muslim Sufis of South Asia. Highly recommended for all spiritual seekers, and for all who dare to imagine a more fruitful area of overlap among all the people of South Asia.”
Omid Safi, Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke University and author of Radical Love

Additional information

Weight 1 lbs
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 1 in
Number of Pages

184

Size

6 x 9

Author

Carl W. Ernst, Patrick J. D'Silva

Format

Paperback

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