Westin Harris opens the dialogue between Tibetan, Nāth and Yoga studies centred around the figure of Virūpa
As the supposed originator of haṭhayoga’s Buddhist “source text,” the legendary siddha called Virūpa has arisen as a key figure of interest in Yoga and Nāth Studies. Nonetheless, such discourses continue to underappreciate the value of Tibetan and Buddhist sources.
In this lecture, I will examine a number of overlooked and understudied Virūpa narratives to demonstrate how Tibetan Virūpa hagiographies and South Asian Virūpākṣa(nāth) stories constitute a single, cross-sectarian narrative tradition stretching from South India to Tibet. While much of the recent scholarship on South Asian siddha narratives has focused on what should or should not be counted as “Nāth literature,” I present the model of an Indo-Tibetan “Siddha corpus” as a more useful alternative that can better accommodate the shared, dialogic nature of such stories.