Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Yoga Tarangini

by Swami Veda Bharati



गुरोर्योगे बुध्न्यस्याहेः खे सरितं गाधामहे।
स्पन्दयन्तीं तडिन्मेरुं चित्सुतारां तरङ्गिणीम्।।

guror yoge budhnyasyāheḥ khe saritaṁ gādhāmahe
spandayantīṁ taḍin-meruṁ cit-sutārāṁ taraṅgiṇīm

Long before modern scholars started their tremendous tasks of exploring Sanskrit manuscripts, the traditional vidvāns, āchāryas and yogis have known of many texts and manuscripts in their respective fields. They have then passed on that knowledge orally in teaching their disciples. It is thus that my Gurudeva, the late Swami Rama of the Himalayas spoke to us disciples many times about an important text named Yoga-taraṅgiṇī (YT). He did not give us an author’s name but charged me to edit and publish the text.

It is thus that I began to search for this elusive text. I first found an incomplete copy in the then Darbar library (now National Library) of Kathmandu, Nepal. Often the yoga text YT was confused with another ayurveda text of the same name.

Later other more complete manuscripts of this YT were found through the kind efforts of manuscriptologist Dr. Bibekanand Banerjee of Kolkatta who, in his spare time did the preliminary editing.

The work was passed on to my friend Dr. Jan Brzezinski (Jagadananda Das) who spent much diligent effort in meticulous editing and translating it.

It turned out that YT is a commentary on the well known Gorakṣa-śataka (GS). The author of the commentary is not known. Maybe some scholar with keen insight will find some internal evidence in the text by which the time period of the work may be approximated. This may be possible by looking closely at the texts quoted in YT. It is obvious that GS itself is some time after Bhagavad-gītā portion of Mahābhārata as the verse 2.91 is identical to BhG 6.17.

Dr. Brzezinski made a study of the Gorakṣa and related traditions of yoga practices and then wrote his erudite introduction. It is primarily the fruit of his labours that the text is now in the reader’s hands.

The text corroborates some of the subtle practices of yoga that were passed on to me by my Guru for practicing. Some parts however can only be understood if explained by some other practicing master of these traditions; mere lexical effort and guesswork will not do. Like the second part of Haṭha-yoga-pradīpikā, many verses of YT also seem to be in what the yogis call sandhā-bhāṣā or sandhyā-bhāṣā (sandhāya bhāṣyate), that which is spoken in a concealed manner. The concealed meaning is explained to select disciples. YT suggests this in numerous places, for example, first time in the text, on verse 1.7, YT says

… अन्येषां यस्य यस्य यदा यदा अनुष्ठेयत्वं तस्य तस्य तदा तदा गुरुमुखावगम्यत्वस्य चावश्यकतया…

… anyeṣāṁ yasya yasya yadā yadā anuṣṭheyatvam, tasya tasya tadā tadā guru-mukhāvagamyatvasya cāvaśyaktayā…

…Other [aṅgas are included] because of the necessity [that] given [practices] may be undertaken respectively as to when they are to be undertaken only after being learnt from the mouth of a guru…

Not only some of these yoga texts use “concealed” language but they also frequently employ existing terminologies of unrelated fields giving them the meaning related to tantric yoga practices. For example, YT quotes on 1.100 Gobhila’s Gṛhya-sūtra (GGS) an ancient Vedic text of rites for householders where in the original GGS the reading is slightly different from the YT’s rendering but essentially the same:

यः परो विप्रकर्षः सूर्याचन्द्रमसोः सा पौर्णमासी
यः परः सन्निकर्षः साऽमावास्या।

yaḥ paro vi-prakarṣaḥ sūryā-candramasoḥ sā pauṃamāsī
yaḥ paraḥ sannikarṣaḥ sā’māvāsyā

The farthest distance between the sun and the moon, that is Full Moon (pauṃamāsī);
The closest contact [between the two], that is No-Moon (amāvāsyā).

Gobhila’s Gṛhya-sūtra 1.7

YT follows the Tantric yoga tradition wherein the sun and the moon are imageries internal to a person. In the same tradition the distance or contact between these points of the imagery is referred to respectively as Full Moon and No-Moon nights. YT uses a text on household rituals to define these two terms but in the sense of sun and moon of the internal imagery to which the ritual text makes no reference.

Similarly the term khecarī is (e.g. 1.64ff.) used to mean the well known haṭha-yoga practice but soon the subject of khecarī leads on to the imagery of sun and the moon, the yellowish white and red points (bindu) and so forth, concluding that it is called khecarī

चित्तं चरति खे यस्मात्
cittaṁ carati khe yasmāt
because the mind moves into [transcendental] space.
GS 1.67

Unless one has undertaken the practices relating to this sun and moon imagery or to concentration on the yellowish white or red points (bindu) of light, and experienced these, what is meant by these terms will not become real.

I bow to my Gurudeva for having given me the experience of some of these levels but not many other levels of reality referred to in the texts.

I offer this work to the feet of my Gurudeva as I am sure, wherever he is, he will be pleased to see that his disciple has even belatedly fulfilled one of his wishes.

(Mahamandaleshwar) Swami Veda Bharati
Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama, Rishikesh
[email protected]


Editor’s Note:

For more information about purchasing the book Yoga-taraṅgiṇī, please contact Himalayan Yoga Publications Trust (HYPT) at [email protected] . Website: http://www.yogapublications.org/



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