John Woodroffe

John Woodroffe

Sir John Woodroffe (1865–1936), also known by his pseudonym Arthur Avalon, was a British Orientalist whose work helped to unleash in the West a deep and wide interest in Hindu philosophy and Yogic practices.

Early life

Born on December 15th, 1865 as the eldest son of James Tisdall Woodroffe, Advocate-General of Bengal and his wife Florence, he was educated at Woburn Park School and University College, Oxford, where he graduated in jurisprudence and the Bachelor of Civil Law examinations.

In 1890, He moved to India and enrolled as an advocate in Calcutta High Court. He was soon made a Fellow of the Calcutta University and appointed Law Professor there.He was appointed Standing Counsel to the Government of India in 1902 and two years later was raised to the High Court Bench.After serving for eighteen years in the bench, he became Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court in 1915.After retiring to England he became Reader in Indian Law at the University of Oxford, and finally moved to France in his retirement, where he died in 1936.

Alongside his judicial duties he studied Sanskrit and Hindu philosophy and was especially interested in the esoteric Hindu Tantric Shakti system. He translated some twenty original Sanskrit texts, and under his pseudonym "Arthur Avalon".He published and lectured prolifically and authoritatively on Indian philosophy and a wide range of Yoga and Tantra topics.

His most popular and influential book, a major contribution to the appreciation of Indian philosophy and spirituality, is "The Serpent Power – The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga" (Dover Books), which is the source of many modern Western appropriations of Kundalini practice.

Other writings (published under his own name, as well as Arthur Avalon include:

* "Shakti and Shakta"
* "Principles of Tantra (2 vols)"
* "Kamakalavilasa"
* "Introduction to the Tantra Śãstra"
* "Mahanirvana Tantra (Tantra of the Great Liberation)"
* "Hymns to the Goddess and Hymn to Kali"
* "The World as Power"
* "The Garland of Letters"
* "Bharati Shakti: Essays and Addresses on Indian Culture"
* "India: Culture and Society"
* "Is India Civilized? Essays on Indian Culture"

External links

* [ Woodroffe]

ee also

*Indian philosophy

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