This book (and the dissertation from which it is derived) was made possible through the help and support of a number of individuals and institutions over the last dozen years; its strengths are a direct result of this support, and the deficiencies which remain are my own. Throughout the endeavor, Arjun Appadurai offered intellectual sustenance as well as the encouragement required to pursue a research topic which often seemed untamable. The interdisciplinary community of scholars linked through Arjun and Carol Breckenridge's first Public Culture reading group at Penn in the late 1980s provided an incredibly stimulating environment for a new student with an un- (or perhaps trans-) disciplined mind to begin the transformative process that is graduate school. Peter van der Veer constantly forced me to evaluate and defend my ideas, and his challenges improved my thinking immensely. Rebecca Huss-Ashmore provided a firm anchor in the Anthropology department through all of my transnational traverses. Wilhelm Halbfass is sorely missed; he helped me sort out the tangled relationships between European and Hindu Indian philosophy, and kept me honest.
A great debt of gratitude is owed fellow Penn students and friends, now colleagues, Carolyn Behrman, Amy Trubek, Mark Liechty, Sanjay Joshi, Cecilia van Hollen, Ritty Lukose, Maneesha Lal, Stuart Kirsch. Field research was funded by a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Award for work in India in 1992 (Amiya Kesevan at USEF/I helped my work in India go far more smoothly than it might have), and by a Travel Grant from the School of Arts and Sciences at Penn for work in Germany in 1993. Visiting Scholar status granted by both the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology/EAWAG (1993–94) and the Center for Comparative Research in History, Society, and Culture at the University of California at Davis (1994–95) was essential to writing up.
To the people of Rishikesh, especially Arun Bhattacharya, Mohan Dang and his family, Swamiji, Rudra Gowda, the Issars, Marcel and Pauline, and the many individuals, both in India and elsewhere, who shared their understandings of yoga with me – with special thanks to Sharon, Tom, Astrid, and Claudia. In Delhi, Veena Das, and in Calcutta, Partha Chatterjee, helped to clarify my thoughts. My fellow Rishikesh researchers Lise McKean and Richard Castillo both offered insights and commentaries I could not have done without. Joan appeared in Rishikesh at exactly the right moment, giving me confidence and making me believe that everything was unfolding as it should.