Yogi Ramacharaka (William Walker Atkinson)
Yogi Ramacharaka (1862 – 1932) was the pseudonym of William Walker Atkinson, an American writer who was influential in turn-of-the-century (1890s-1900s) spiritual and philosophical movements such as 'New Thought' (a precursor to today's New Age movement) and Theosophy.
Atkinson, writing as Ramacharaka, helped to popularize Eastern concepts in America, with Yoga and a broadly-interpreted Hinduism being particular areas of focus. 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 reached 100 years old in 2004 and is understandably dated in some respects.
There are a number of other Ramacharaka works, in addition to several popular books written by Atkinson under his own name. Many of Atkinson's works sold well at the time of their publication, although he has not been favored with significant historical recognition.
It may be due to the fact that many of his books dealt with ideas now widely discredited as pseudoscientific, such as mentalism. There is some debate as to whether other authors may have contributed to the Ramacharaka books, but reliable information relating to Ramacharaka/Atkinson is scarce.
William Walker Atkinson died in 1932, in Los Angeles, California after successful careers in writing and law. He is now largely forgotten, despite obtaining mention in past editions of Who's Who in America, Religious Leaders of America, and several similar publications.