Abhidhyan Yoga Institute

Abhidhyan Yoga Institute
(est. 1991)
   The Abhidhyan Yoga Institute, also called Mod-ern Seers, headquartered at Swarthmore, Penn-sylvania, is a training center for All Embracing (Abhidhyan) Yoga, a somewhat rare form of TANTRA that has survived within several lesser-known Hindu and Buddhist sects. All Embracing Yoga incorporates the four major yoga paths: JNANA YOGA, the path of study; BHAKTI YOGA, the path of devotion to the Divine; KARMA YOGA, the path of action; and RAJA YOGA, the path that unites mind, heart, and body in pursuit of the Divine.
   The revival of All Embracing Yoga, and its spread from India to the United States and several other countries is attributed to Sri Acharya Abhid-hyanananda Avadhuta (Anatole Ruslanov) (b. May 5, 1965), a Russian computer scientist who apprenticed in BENARES (Varanasi) India, with Sri ANANDAMURTI (1921–90), founder of the ANANDA MARGA YOGA SOCIETY. As a monastic student of the guru, Anatole became a vital transmitter and spiritual master of this largely overlooked form of tantric practice.
   A year after the death of Sri Anandamurti (1990), Anatole established the Abhidhyanan-anda Yoga Institute with its headquarters in the United States. He added his own teaching methods to those of his teacher, synthesized what he had learned during his monastic life in India, and refined his tantric abilities. In 1998, Anatole revealed to his students that he had had a transformational experience that had lifted his religious and practical focus to a higher level, thus requiring a revision of the discipline required of practitioners.
   Students of All Embracing Yoga engage in regular meditation, follow strict moral codes, and practice postures (ASANAS) and breathing tech-niques (PRANAYAMA). Abhidhyanananda recom-mends solitary spiritual work for a year prior to entering this specific yoga path.
   The institute publishes a periodical, The Tan-trik Path, at its headquarters in Nevada City, California. No publications in book form are used at the institute. Rather, all teachings are found online on the Internet.
   Abhinavagupta (c. middle of 10th century to middle of 11th century) Kashmiri Shaivite philosopher
   Abhinavagupta, who lived his entire life in the northern Indian region of Kashmir, is one of the giants of Indian philosophical and intellectual his-tory. His work represents the pinnacle of the tantric (see TANTRISM) school of KASHMIRI SHAIVISM, which sees the world as both real and divine. He is also recognized as one of India’s foremost theorists in the field of aesthetics, or the appreciation of art.
   Abhinavagupta interwove the diverse threads of the earlier schools of Kashmiri Shaivism into a coherent and cogent philosophy and practice. He wrote numerous books and commentaries, all in Sanskrit. Most well known is the magnum opus, the massive Tantraloka; it deals with the philoso-phy, religion, and yogic practice of the Kashmir Shaiva tradition.
   Abhinavagupta’s exceptional work on the the-ory of art derives its interest from his belief in the divinity of the senses and sense experience. His most well known book in this area is his commentary on the Dhvanyaloka, an important text on aesthetics, which has become a source book for much of later Indian aesthetic theory. Abhinavagupta’s influence is most evident in the traditions of Swami MUKTANANDA and his disciple Swami CHIDVILASANANDA, two of the most promi-nent modern teachers in the Kashmiri Shaivite tradition.
   See also Shaivism.
   Further reading: Raniero Gnoli, The Aesthetic Experience According to Abhinavagupta (Varanasi: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, 1968); Paul Eduardo Muller-Ortega, The Triadic Heart of Siva: Kaula Tantricism of Abhinavagupa in the Non-Dual Shaivism of Kashmir (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989); K. C. Pandey, Abhinavagupta: An Historical and Philo-sophical Study (Varanasi: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, 1963); R. Raghavan, Abhinavagupta and His Works (Varanasi: Chokambha Orientalia, 1981); Y. S. Walimbe, Abhinavagupta and Indian Aesthetics (Delhi: Ajanta, 1980).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.

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