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Yogi Ramacharaka's Biography (Books)

William Walker Atkinson (December 5, 1862 - November 22, 1932) was an attorney, merchant, publisher, and author, as well as an occultist and an American pioneer of the New Thought movement. He is also thought to be the author of the pseudonymous works attributed to Theron Q. Dumont and Yogi Ramacharaka.

He is the author of an estimated 100 books, all written in the last 30 years of his life. He was also mentioned in past editions of Who's Who in America, Religious Leaders of America, and several similar publications. His works have remained in print more or less continuously since 1900.

When Atkinson wrote under the pseudonym Yogi Ramacharaka, he claimed to be a Hindu. As Ramacharaka, he helped to popularize Eastern concepts in America, with Yoga and a broadly-interpreted Hinduism being particular areas of focus. The works of Yogi Ramacharaka were published over the course of nearly ten years beginning in 1903. Some were originally issued as a series of lectures delivered at the frequency of one lesson per month. Additional material was issued at each interval in the form of supplementary text books.

Ramacharaka's Advanced Course in Yoga Philosophy and Oriental Occultism remains widely respected as an excellent primer for the Western layman, despite the fact that it was 100 years old in 2004 and is understandably dated in some respects.

According to Atkinson's publisher, the Yogi Publication Society, some of these titles were inspired by a student of the "real" Yogi Ramacharaka, Baba Bharata, although there is no historical record that either of these individuals ever existed.

Atkinson's second Hindu-sounding pseudonym, Swami Bhakta Vishita, billed as "The Hindoo Master" was not authentically Hindu, nor did he write on the topic of Hinduism. His best-known titles, which have remained in print for many years after entering the public domain, were "The Development of Seership: The Science of Knowing the Future; Hindoo and Oriental Methods" (1915), "Genuine Mediumship, or Invisible Powers", and "Can We Talk to Spirit Friends?" Atkinson produced more than two dozen Swami Bhakta Vishita books, plus a half-dozen saddle-stitched paper pamphlets under the Vishita name. All of them dealt with clairvoyance, mediumship, and the afterlife. Like Ramacharaka, Vishita was listed as a regular contributor to Atkinson's Advanced Thought magazine, but his books were published by the Advanced Thought Publishing Company, not by the Yogi Publication Society, which handled the Ramacharaka titles.

During the 1910s, Atkinson put his attention into another pseudonym, that of Theron Q. Dumont. This entity was supposed to be French, and his works, written in English and published in Chicago, combined an interest in New Thought with ideas about the training of the will, memory enhancement, and personal magnetism.