Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 1 of 1 items for

  • Author: Joseph S. Alter x
  • Refine by Access: All content x
  • Refine by Content Type: All x
Clear All Modify Search
Open access

The Ethics of Yoga and the Spirit of Godmen

Neoliberalism, Competition, and Capitalism in India

Joseph S. Alter


Drawing on Weber's classic study of religion, salvation, and the motivation to be a successful capitalist, this article problematizes the relationship among competition and the embodiment of success in the practice of yoga in modern India. Contemporary postural yoga has been popularized in ways that fetishize the body and the relation between the body and enlightenment. It has become a sign of self-realization in a mode that reflects the possibility of transcendence. So-called godmen in India, who embody this possibility, popularize yoga in different ways. Contrasting Swami Sivananda's brand of twentieth-century yoga in the context of Nehruvian modernity with Baba Ramdev's yoga as an expression of free market religious nationalism, this article examines the work that embodied competition does in different ideological contexts.