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Yogis and Power

How the relationship between political and spiritual power was imagined and navigated in India and Europe
Yoga had complex and ambiguous relationships with power: military, political and spiritual. Images from a sixteenth-century manuscript of the Mughal chronicle Akbar-nama depict battles between different groups of yogis for prime bathing spots on the Ganges. The Mughal emperor Akbar himself was both inquisitive and respectful of Hindu knowledge; another painting in this section depicts his grandfather Babur's imagined visit to the monastery of Gor Khatri. 

Created two centuries later, paintings from Jodhpur reveal an alliance between the Nath order of yogis and the dynasty of Maharaja Man Singh. In it, the sage Jallandharnath uses powers gained through yoga practice to fly through the air; Jallandharnath's spiritual authority would become an important source of Man Singh's political legitimacy.