Jyotsna –a Sanskrit Commentary on Hathapradipika written by Yogi Sri Brahmananda- is a practical book on yoga practices as it not only provides the details of the practical procedures but also clarifies the practical instructions of Svatmarama given in Hathapradipika. This commentary provides the experiences of earlier yogis, as well as, the alternative procedures for practice which are more useful and safe as they are simple and not having any adverse effect on health. This edition of Jyotsna commentary is based on 11 manuscripts and 2 published texts.
Yogi Sri Brahmananda had a vision during his meditation that Lord Datta is present at a place Audumbara which is located on the bank of river Krsna near Sangali (Maharashtra) wherein Goddess Bhuvanesvari and Lord Narahari (Datta) reside. In search of this place in 1740 he could reach the place wherein he lived in a hut and wrote this commentary. After 24 years of austerities, yoga studies and spiritual discourses, he went in to samadhi in the evening of the last day of the dark half of the month of Kartika in 1764.
Brahmananda’s Jyotsna commentary on Hathapradipika is well known Sanskrit treatise. This commentary has really helped the Yoga Researchers in understanding the deep rooted content of Hathapradipika. Therefore, this commentary has attracted the attention of Yoga Researchers the world over. Our esteemed readers are very well aware that a Critical Edition of Jyotsna Commentary on Hathapradipika (Hindi version) – on the basis of eleven (11) Manuscripts and two (2) Published Texts along with its exhaustive introduction, translation and appendices-was published and the same was released in the Inaugural Function of 4th International Conference “Yoga Research and Value education” held at Kaivalyadhama, Lonavla, December 28-31,2002 and it is matter of immense pleasure and satisfaction that we have received overwhelming appreciative response from our Hindi knowing readers. Moreover, there was a constant demand from our English knowing readers for the English version of this edition and we are extremely happy that we could fulfill the demand-though little late- of our readers by presenting before them the English version of this Edition.
While translating any Yogic Sanskrit Treatise in English our readers are aware about the fact that we do not find appropriate terminology in English language which can convey the proper connotation of some of the Sanskrit yogic terms. Therefore, it was thought necessary to retain the original Sanskrit terms in the translation. However, lot of care has been taken to see that the English rendering is close to the Hindi version. We hope that present English version of Jyotsna Commentary on Hathapradipika will prove to be pertinent in deciphering the traditional import of the text.,p> While presenting the subject matter we have given transliteration of original Sanskrit verses of Hathapradipika followed by transliteration of Jyotsna Commentary and then the translation of verses followed by translation of Jyotsna Commentary. At the end of the text important appendices are also presented so that the readers can understand the subject matter of this treatise easily without wasting time.
This Preface will not be complete if we do not express our sincere gratitude towards all those who have contributed directly/indirectly towards this work and Kaivalyadhama-
Our thanks are due to the Ministry of H.R.D., Department of Education, Govt. of India, for its regular financial and moral support for the research works being carried out and over all development of Kaivalyadhama.
We acknowledge with gratitude the invaluable contribution of Sri O.P. Tiwariji, Secretary, Kaivalyadhama S.M.Y.M. Samiti, towards the development of Kaivalyadhama as a whole keeping the ideals of his master Swami Kuvalayanandaji in mind and whose regular communication and concern for the department is indeed a source of inspiration to the research workers.
Sri Subodh Tiwari, Joint Director of Administration, Kaivalyadhama also deserves our thanks without whose efforts in arranging funds for its publication the present work would not have seen light of the day.
We would like to thank Sri Sameer Tadphale who was neither having the background of Sanskrit nor the background of yoga but was having keen interest in spirituality and could prepare the first draft of the whole text in English under the direct supervision and guidance of Dr. B. R .Sharma,
Our thanks are also due to Sri G. S. Sahay, the then Research Officer of the department, for going through the entire manuscript and giving valuable suggestions.
Sri R. K. Bodhe, Research Officer of the Department, should also be thanked for his moral support and for giving useful suggestions time to time in spite of being busy with other project.
We express our sincere thanks towards all the members of Kaivalyadhama Pariwar for their direct/indirect contribution towards this work.
We wish to acknowledge the assistance that requires refined skill and attention in computer works of various kind and Sri P.R. Raut and Miss Varsha Londhe both deserve our thanks for the same.
We are also thankful for the prompt services provided by our Library staff Sri B.D. Kute, Mrs. A.S. Sinha and Sri Ashok Sharma.
Mr. Tanpure, Ace Enterprises, Pune, who has long standing experience in printing and long association with Kaivalyadhama, has utilized his expertise unsparingly towards the well-knit printing of the present work and hence our thanks are due to him.
Last but not least, time alone will show how far our effort in the form of this English edition qualifies for the satisfaction of our readers and that can be assessed only with their feedback, comments and constructive criticisms which will be welcomed, acknowledged and incorporated in the next edition of this text.
It is well known that the material on yoga found to be scattered in the Sanskrit literature and most of the material related to yoga is still lying in the cupboards of Manuscript libraries in the form of Mss which requires our effort to collect all material, analyze it and to present the same in a systematic order so that horizon of yogic knowledge can be expanded. Therefore, it should be the first priority of researchers in the field of yogic literature to study the fundamental concepts and practical aspects of yoga and having an indepth understanding of the fact therein the usefulness of this yogic knowledge in the context of necessities of modern life should be brought to the common man so that the masses can be benefitted from this traditional knowledge.
Keeping this objective in mind the Philosophico-Literary Research Department of Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute has been continuously contributing towards reduction of the gap between traditional and modem lifestyle. In this regard the publications like Yoga Kosa, Yoga Concordance etc. and the critical editions on the important treatises on Hathayoga like Hathapradlpika, Gheranda Samhita, Goraksa Sataka, Siva Samhita are of great significance. This critical edition of ascetic sri Brahmananda's Jyotsna brings out the subtleties of the practices described in the traditional treatise on Hatha Yoga namely Hathapradlpika should be considered as a step in this direction.
The people who know the ancient Indian style of writing are well aware of the fact that the Sanskrit commentary literature has a significant contribution in understanding the purport or import of the sutra treatises and other poetic works in Sanskrit language. With the help of such commentaries only it is possible to unfold the mysteries of the original treatises and keep up the flow of knowledge. In other words, in absence of such commentaries it is difficult to understand the mysteries of the original treatises. The Sanskrit commentaries on Yoga literature are also not far from this fact. The Yogic knowledge which is experiential by nature can be obtained from the Guru or from the literature obtained as blessings from the Sadhakas or Gurus who had divine experience. Brahmananda's Jyotsna commentary on Hathapradi pika by Svatmarama is a result of such blessings only. In reality in order to understand the Hathapradipika all the sadhakas and translators have directly or indirectly taken help of this commentary. But it is surprising that till now nobody has thought of editing Jyotsna commentary critically itself.
Theosophical society, Adyar was the first to publish this important commentary on Hathapradipika. In 1893 they had published the original Hathapradipika and its English translation, as well as, the original Jyotsna with English text of very small part of it. In 1933 this publication was enlarged and published as a second edition which was reprinted in 1975. In the introduction of this treatise there is a reference to a handwritten Manuscript P.M. 1431, No. V in this publication available in their library which they had used as a base for this publication. Through this publication the editors have made a significant contribution in satisfying the various quaries of people regarding Yoga. But this publication cannot be placed in category of critical edition as for critical edition more than one manuscript is required and only then the clarity and comprehensiveness of the original text can be confirmed.
One more publication of Jyotsna commentary which is available along with Hindi translation from Laksmi Venkateshwar Press, Mumbai in 1924, was reprinted from the same press in 1992. But these two publications are based on which handwritten manuscript? Editors have given no information about this. Although the translation of Jyotsna in Hindi can be said to be grammatically correct but this translation does not appear to clarify the practical aspect of the various yoga practices. In this publication there are certain references like 1/ 37,2/23,40,46,3/51,62 etc. in which the critic is not very clear as to what he wants to say. There are many references which have not been explained and there are some important text part whose translation is also absent. Also as compared to Hindi language, the language of this translation is collognial and a mixture of various Hindi dialects which is difficult to understand.
Considering the above stated facts, the Philosophico-Literary Research Department of Kaivalyadhama planned to edit critically the commentary Jyotsna on Hathapradipika so that by the study of the Jyotsna commentary's maximum manuscripts, the original text of this commentary can be made authentic and comprehensive.
In this regard we were successful in finding out eleven manuscripts of Jyotsna. Some manuscripts of Telgu and Malayalam were also available but due to some constraints we were not able to include them in this edition. So this edition is based on 11 manuscripts and two published texts whose description has been given in this introduction at respective places.
Biography of Brahmananda, the author of Jyotsna -
It has been tradition among the authors of Sanskrit literature that they do not give any personal information in their treatises. This is the reason why there is difference of opinion among scholars about the era and biography of the great poet like Kalidasa and this is still a subject of research. Brahmananda has also followed the same tradition. Like Svatmarama the author of Hathapradipika, we have very little information even about Brahmananda.
We have to rely on the available information supplied by the author of any other treatise and we have to derive possible conclusions on the basis of the same.
In the form of internal evidences the following statements available in the manuscripts of Jyotsna are worth mentioning --
1. Brahmananda took the help of Merusastri for writing the Jyotsna commentary --
2. In the manuscript obtained from Prajna Pathasala, Wai Brahmananda has been said to be residing in Himachal.
1. Merusastri about whom Brahmananda has discussed in this commentary was originally a scholar from Pune and later he lived with Brahmananda at Audumbar. His full name was Merusastri Godbole. He was a great scholar of Sanksrit and Law (Justice). His reference is available in as the author of "Vakyavrtti", a commentary on Tarka Samgraha (a treatise on Nyaya). According to Kavikavyakalakalpana, Vakyavrtti was written in 1900 samvat i.e. 1843 (AD). Now If he is the same Merusastri whom Brahmananda has quoted, then it can certainly be concluded that Brahmananda lived around 1900 samvat. These conclusions are confirmed also from the date mentioned in the various manuscripts of Brahmananda's commentary on Jyotsna and from this it follows that Jyotsna was written before Vakyavrtti .
2. In one manuscript Brahmananda is said to be a resident of Himachal. This manuscript has been quoted here as manuscript No. IX in this book. This is the only manuscript which talks about which place Brahmananda belonged to. But there is no other evidence available about Brahmananda being the resident of Himachal. Even on the basis of external evidences (which will be discussed later) Brahrnananda is known to have travelled from Girnar (Gujarat) to Audumbara.
The proof of Brahmananda being a resident of Himachal can be found in just one manuscript but from the point of view of editors this is important information. Even if it is proved that Brahmananda travelled from Girnar to Audumbar still the question - whether Brahmananda was originally from Girnar or had travelled to Girnar from other place remains unanswered. The manuscript which assumes Brahmananda to be resident of Himachal can be of help in answering this question and then it can be said that Brahmananda who was originally from Himachal having stayed and practicing penance at Girnar (Gujarat) came to the holy place of Audumbar near Sangli by divine inspiration in the form of a roving ascetic.
In the form of external evidences, we have collected information from three sources which talk about Brahmananda. The books were actually written about the holy place of Audumbara but they contain information regarding Brahmananda also. Following are the details of these three books-
1. Sriksetra Audumbara Kathamrta, Padamasri Sudhamsu (H.N. Joshi), year of publication 1977.
2. Sripavanakshetra Audumbar Darsana, (H.N. Joshi), year of publication 1989.
3. Sriksetra Audumbara, Dhondo Laksmana Abhyankara year of publication 1917.
We could procure only the first two books out of three, but we came to know about the third book and the description of Brahmananda given in it from an article - 'Notes on Brahmananda -- Commentator of Hathapradipika' (Author- Dr. M. L. Gharote) published in Yoga Mimamsa (Vol. XXX, Nos. 2 and 3, pp. 80-83, July- October 1991). The subject matter related to Brahmananda had been presented almost completely in this article.
The author of the first two books is the poet Sudhamsu who is a resident of Audumbara and he is around 90 years of age. Editorial Board of this treatise had a personal discussion with Sudhamsu and also obtained a copy of the books written by him. On superficial level the informations available about Brahmananda in these three books are similar however; there is difference of opinion regarding one important point. In the book written by Sri Dhondo Laksamana Abhyankar, Merusastri is said to be the author of Jyotsna whereas the book written by the poet Sudharpsu clearly says the author of Jyotsna was Brahmananda.
Having written the Sanskrit treatise namely Hathayoga Pradi pika Jyotsna provides the spiritual aspirants with nectar of knowledge. (Sriksetra Audumbara Kathamrta, Sudhamsu) The opinion of the poet Sudhamsu seems to be acceptable to Editorial board of this book because-
1. In the Jyotsna commentary Brahmananda himself has acknowledged the name of Merusastri with thanks. Brahmananda himself accepts the contribution of Merisastri. However, he had clearly claimed himself to be the original author of the treatise.
2. The poet Sudhamsu is a resident of Audumbara and is well aware of the local stories must also have been the base of the opinion written by Sudhamsu.
Due to the two reasons given above the Editorial Board considers the introduction given by Sudhamsu as more appropriate and authentic.
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