Astanga yoga nirupanam is a short Sanskrit work in 51 verses that conveys the essence of the eight – limbed yoga propounded by Patanjali in the work Yogasutra. It also Provides unique insights in the practice of Pranayama and Dhyana.
Nadanusandhana – pancakam is a set of five verses that condenses and presents a special Hathayoga practice called Nadanusandhana that leads a practitioner from sounds to silence.
By these two short and crisp texts one can internalize and recollect yogic principles easily and effectively.
The publication of two hitherto unpublished Sanskrit works Astangayoganirupanam & Nadanusandhanapancakam, is a part of the literary research activities carried out by the Research Department of Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram.
Astangayoganirupanam presents a short versified summary of the eight – limbed Yoga described in Patanjali's Yogasutra, which is the basic text of Rajayoga. Nadanusandhanapancakam is a set of five verses on Nadanusandhana, a Hathayoga practice described in great detail in Hathayogapradipika, the fundamental text on Hathayoga. Thus this publication adds two works to the body of Sanskrit literature in Rajayoga and Hathayoga respectively.
Generally manuscript research activities focus on big volume works. Due to this, small yet significant works like these are seldom noticed. The advantage of these small works lies in the fact that, these works present yogic ideas in a nutshell and so, they are easy to commit to memory and recollect.
Hence, the objective of the literary research division of Krishnamacharya yoga Mandiram is to make efforts to bring to light such literary gems that lie in the form of palm leaf and paper manuscripts in manuscript repositories.
This publication, apart from presenting the original Sanskrit verses of these two works as found in the manuscripts (with variant readings wherever applicable), also gives the translation, description of the source of the manuscripts & critical and comparative notes. Three appendices are presented at the end. In Appendix 1, images of the manuscripts of the two works are given. Appendix 2 presents various lineages of Yoga found in various Yoga texts (including the one presented in Astangayoganifupanam). Appendix 3 presents a short life sketch of Yogi T Krishnamacharya & TKV Desikachar.
I would like to thank Adyar Library and Research Institute, Chennai and Government Oriental Manuscript Library, Chennai for permitting to refer the manuscripts for this work of research.
I thank eminent Yoga Expert Sri S Sridharan, Trustee, KYM, for giving critical inputs and also writing a foreword to this work highlighting the value of Yogic wisdom contained in these two works.
I convey my gratitude to Dr. S. Venugopalan, Associate professor, Sri Jayendra Saraswati Ayurveda college, Nazarathpet, Chennai, for reviewing the contents of this publication and providing vital inputs and suggestions from Sastric point of view.
I heartily thank Smt. Padmini Narendran, Sri T.T.Naraendran Sri. T.T. Rangaswami, Sri T.T.N Hayagreevan, Smt Shobhana Srinivasan and Sri T.N. Venkatesan for their support in bringing out this publication.
I thank Dr Latha Satish, Managing Trustee, all the trustees and staff of KYM for their encouragement and support.
Thanks are due to Madhave Mudhra for their fine printing work.
Thanks are their encouragement and support.
It is hoped that Yoga fraternity will welcome, utilize, encourage and support such literary research activities in future too.
The contents of the two manuscripts which are being published will be of great practical value to the practitioners of Yoga. They give vivid details of certain Practices which one can follow under the guidance of a right teacher. Interestingly the two manuscripts trace their yogic origin to two important religious branches, srivaisnavism and saivism. "Astangayoganirupanam" links the Astangayoga to Pancaratra agama and thus supports srivaisnavism. Nadanusandhana – pancakam" briefly gives details of Nadanusandhana, a yogic tool used in the Hathayoga tradition which traces its origin to Siva.
Some of the important original contributions of this work are as under.
I. The explanation of Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi,specifically having the "Self" as the object. (Verses 25-28). This is not easy for beginners and requires preliminary practice over a period of time.
II. The prescription to do the five activities of the day which is special to Srivaisnavism and practice of Yoga in the evening.
III. The recommendation of "Svastikasana" which is the first of the postures given in Hathayogapradipika and yogayajnyavalkya samhita for keeping the back straight.
IV. The pranayama suggested here is specifically "Candrabhedana" and that too without reference to exhalation. This is the Pranayama which is done in all vedic rituals including Sandhyavandanam.
V. In doing the Pranayama, a visualization technique is also given where the process of uniting the Self with the Supreme Self is also given. There is specific recommendation of "Saguna Dhyana" (meditation on the Supreme Being with attributes).
VI. For holding the breath in pranyama, it is specifically stated "Not to use the hands" this is to indicate the Process of bringing the subtle connection between the breath and the mind. By making the involuntary process of holding the breath to voluntary process, one can bring the mind under control.
VII. After drawing in the air through the left nostril the instruction is to let it enter Susumna Nadi. For this purpose, the practitioner has to apply the fingers to open up the left nostril for inhalation after stopping the breath hold both the nostrils by touching the two nadis so that the mouth of Susumna opens to make the Prana enter Susumna.
VIII. In Verse 43, there is an instruction to work on bringing the Prana into the body. Prana generally is scattered outside up to 12 Angula-s as there are Mala-s inside the Nadi-s. By doing Nadisodhana one can clear the Mala-s and thus make the Prana enter the body and be within. If he Mala-s have been removed, it will be known through the breath quality which will be smooth and long.
The pancakala activities include "Yoga" As the last activity of the day which is prescribed to be done before retiring to bed. The "Ahnika grantha-s" give elaborate procedures and the mention of Astangayoga is found there. In this activity it is considered that the Self unites with Supreme Self in sleep and that union is "Yoga ". The author of this text,a yogi belonging to the Srivaisnava Sampradaya, like Shri T Krishnamacharya, has given this exclusive procedure that one can follow in the practice of "Yoga" as one of the Pancakala activities.
The special contributions from this text are as under:
1. Verse 1 indicates that even if one is absorbed in the Self for a moment or half, one can hear the "Anahata Dhvani" in the right ear. This is the reason why one is asked to touch the right ear at the end of a Pranayama. While other valid reasons such as the right ear is the place where the Ganga resides and that purifies one and also that the right ear is where the Gayatri Mantra was first given during Brahmopadesa, this idea that the "Anahata dhvani" is heard has special significance. This leads the practitioner to close the right ear in a way to look for and hear the sound to ensure that the mind is quiet and ready for meditation which follows.
2. The need for a competent Guru as emphasized in Verse 2 is important, as in the initial stages of Nadanusandhanam one cannot rightly recognize the real sound which is beyond the mind. The normal sound we hear both outside and inside are through the senses.
3. Also the pre-requisite to hear the 'Anahata Dhvani' is the stilling of the mind by withdrawing if from the sense objects which is given in Verse 3.
4. Verse 4 talks about the difference between other sounds and 'Anahata Dhvani'. As long as other sounds like that of flute, kettle drum, conch, etc. Are heard one is supposed to be moving towards the state of "Samprajata Samadhi" as per Hathayogapradipika.
5. The fifth verse talks about the attainment of "Asamprajnata Samadhi" when the sound is not heard but the light is seen. The light is that of the 'Svarupa' of the Self.
Both the texts are of immense value to the practitioners of yoga and the efforts of Dr M Jayaraman in bringing them to light deserve commendation.
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