Ramacharaka, Yogi (1862–1932)
Religious name of American writereditor William Walker
Atkinson. He was born on December 5, 1862, in Baltimore,
Maryland. He went into business as a young man and was admitted
to the Pennsylvania bar in 1894 and the Illinois bar
1903. He underwent a profound change after experiencing a
nervous breakdown. He found healing through New Thought
metaphysics and moved to Chicago where he emerged as a
major advocate of the new faith. In that cause he became associate
editor of the magazine Suggestion (1900–05), co-editor
with his colleague Sydney Flowers of New Thought (1901–5),
and later edited Advanced Thought (Chicago, 1916–19). He
founded the Atkinson School of Mental Science and authored
a large number of popular books on New Thought, SelfHealing,
Mind-Power, and psychic phenomena.
During this time he was also introduced to yoga exercises,
and the whole of the yogi philosophy. In 1903 he began to write
books on yoga using the pseudonym Yogi Ramacharaka.
Through the next several decades thirteen titles appeared and
Atkinson thus became one the earliest propagandists of and an
important figure in the development of Hinduism in North
America. His books on yoga and occultism were issued by the
Yogi Publication Society, now located in Jacksonville, Florida,
and continue to be reprinted. Atkinson died in California on
November 22, 1932.
Sources
Melton, J. Gordon. Religious Leaders of America. Detroit Gale
Research, 1991.
Ramacharacka, Swami [William Walker Atkinson]. Advanced
Course in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism. Chicago Yogi
Publication Society, 1904.
———. Hatha Yoga. Chicago Yogi Publication Society,
1932.
———. The Hindu-Yogi System of Breath. Chicago Yogi Publication
Society, 1904.
———. Raja Yoga, or Mental Development. Chicago Yogi
Publication, 1905.
———. The Spirit of the Upanishads; or, The Aphorisms of the
Wise. Chicago Yogi Publication Society, 1936.

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