William Ward was a Baptist missionary to India in the early 1800s. When he arrived he used his skills gained as printer and editor of the Derby Mercury as he become responsible for a printing house which published the Bible in a variety of languages including Bengali and Tamil. He also established the first college for Christian theology in India, the Sermpore College. His 20 years in India also resulted in one of the most widely read books on Indian life and religion in the nineteenth century. In his A view of the history, literature, and mythology of the Hindoos Ward makes an ethnological description of what he saw and read about in the country he loved so much.
And so to yoga, which comes from Hindi and means “union”. Ward writes that a “clear knowledge of the spirit arises from yoga or abstraction of the mind”. The word describes a tradition of mediation which goes back centuries, and which was first popularised in English in the book Treatise on Yoga Philosophy (published in London in1851). However, the real breakthrough in the West was only some 50 years ago. Now in the USA alone, almost 10% of the population of 316 million have been involved in some type of yoga.
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