Lust, Benedict


Lust, Benedict
(1872–1945)
   founder of naturopathy
   Benedict Lust was a pioneer in what has come to be called holistic medicine and a facilitator of the dissemination of YOGA in the United States. Lust was born in Michelbach, Baden, Germany. As a youth, he became ill and was cured by Fr. Sebastian Kneipp, a famous advocate of the water cure, a popular form of healing in the 19th cen-tury. He eventually traveled to the United States as Kneipp’s official representative and in the late 1890s organized the water cure movement, espe-cially among the many first generation German Americans.
   Meanwhile, Lust studied osteopathy and vari-ous schools of healing that eschewed the use of drugs and surgery. By 1900, Lust was looking toward a new synthesis of nonintrusive healing arts, which he termed naturopathy (a name he actually purchased from a colleague).
   In 1919, by which time Lust had launched his long-term battle to have the government recognize naturopathy, Lust met Sri YOGENDRA, a yogi who had traveled to New York from Bombay (Mumbai). Yogendra was a pioneer in reviving HATHA YOGA as a discipline for body and mind in India and had gone to the United States to con-duct a set of scientific tests with the Life Exten-sion Institute in New York. Lust quickly saw the value that hatha yoga might have in his repertoire of healing tools.
   In 1924, Yogendra returned to Bombay. The restrictive, discriminatory immigration laws that went into effect at the time prevented him from making any return visits. Thus, Lust, through his naturopathy, was to become the major dis-seminating force for yoga in the next generation. Only after World War II did Asian teachers arrive in the United States once more to help popularize hatha yoga.
   Lust died in 1945. Subsequently yoga has been deemphasized by naturopaths, and Lust’s role in introducing yoga in America largely for-gotten. The Benedict Lust Publication Company still offers books on naturopathy, health, and healing.
   Further reading: Benedict Lust, The Fountain of Youth (New York: MacFadden, 1923); Paul Wendall, Standard-ized Naturopathy (Brooklyn, N.Y.: The Author, 1951).

Encyclopedia of Hinduism. . 2007.


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