a1 School of Oriental Studies, University of Durham
The mystical experiences of the is, the spiritual giants of the early Vedic times, led to the creation of the Vedic hymns and eventually to the formation of the whole elaborate structure of the Vedic religion, as upheld by the Indian priesthood. But there were obviously others who pursued mystical experiences without themselves engaging, like the ancient is, in attempts to transmit their experiences through mythological poetry and religious leadership. They adopted mystical ecstasy as their way of life. Mysticism as a conscious way of life is, in India, called Yoga. Being outside the trend of Vedic mythological creativity and the Brāhmanic religious orthodoxy, the Yogis of Vedic times left little evidence of their existence, practices and achievements. And such evidence as has survived in the Vedas is scanty and indirect.