The book teaches Yoga, the stages of Yoga and the methods of its accomplishment. It discusses philosophy underlying Yoga and its practices in manifold ways.
Divided into fifteen chapters, the book recounts (1) Daily routine of the aspirant, including the method of repeating the mantras, (2) Centres of meditation inside the body, (3) Breath-control, (4) Preliminaries to Yoga, (5) Yaugic postures, (6) Withdrawal of the senses from external objects, (7) A specific way to breath- control, (8) Position of fingers in Yaugic discipline, (9) Method of concentration and retention of the breath, (10) Simple Meditation, (11) Abstract meditation, (12) Yoga of absorption, (13) Postures suitable for Yoga, (14) Purification -e- of body inside and outside, (15) Injunctions and Prohibitions.
The book cites from ancient obsolete texts on Yoga such as Visvasara, Kubjika, Varna- Vilasa, Tarapradipa, Samayanga-matrka and others. It includes Bija kosa- a glossary of mystic syllables which are usually prefixed to the mantras. It also contains Preface, Introduction and Index.
This was some time in May 1977 when I visited Vararanasi in search of rare printed books and manuscripts that I came across an old hermit at Gaya-ghat sitting in a peculiar position, practicing Yoga. I stood still and waited for the chance to talk. After a while, he woke up from trance. I saw him wrapping a book in-a red piece of cloth and preparing to go.
I approached the hermit. With my hands joined in reverence r prostrated at his feet. He blessed me with a benign show of hands and enquired of my mission. I answered I was interested in Yoga, especially in regard to the sitting postures (asanas) and the position of fingers (mudras) in Yogic practice. I acquainted him with my work on the Grhyasutras of Asvalayana and the Kalpa-Cintamani of Damodara Bhatta.
Our meet grew into friendship, - We met every day at day-break and sun-set, on the sacred bank of the river Ganga. His talk, though very general, was a scholarly discourse on the topic of Yoga. It was during the conversation that I learnt of the yoga-Karnika-the book he was wrapping in the red piece of cloth when I first met him at Gaya-ghat.
On the day of my departure for Delhi I met the hermit as usual at sun-rise. I had brought some precious presents Jar him which he accepted most cheerfully and in return of which he bestowed his blessings on me most graciously. But I noticed that he consented to my departure with some reluctance, for as it appeared to me, though a Yogi, detached and dispassionate he had become attached and attracted to . me. As a token of love he gave me the book yoga-Karnika which was precious to him as his very life.
Iaccepted the present in joyful spirit, promising that I would send a fresh copy soon after it is published again.
I have been working on the book for the last two years. There has been a constant Bow of correspondence between Yogi Bhakava Nath (for that was the name of the venerable hermit, I met in Varanasi and myself. The present edition is the result of mighty labour done in the light of midnight Iamp. I do not shirk labour and as a result of my labour, I believe, what was not intelligible to the reader in the old print, would become clear to him now. For all the corrupt readings of the old edition are replaced by the correct readings in the present edition. The revision is carried out after a thorough scrutiny and check-up.
The present edition has several new features: A critical introduction prefixed to the text highlights some most important aspects of Toga-sdhana occurring in the text; presents correct interpretation of some very intricate, ambiguous and non-ethical practices enjoined therein; sheds light on the healthy aspects of Yoga and makes a highly valuable contribution to the field of ethics and religion. The edition contains an index of Yogic words. The reader will find that quite a high percentage of terminology incorporated in the text is not found in any other treatise on Yoga.
The term Toga is derived yuj-to join. By implication it applies to a set of means whereby the personal soul (pragyagtaman) is absorbed into the transcendental soul (paramatman) or the universal soul (Visvatman). A book on Yoga,as a corollary to it, is understood to contain some means (sadhanas) whereby the individual soul loses its identity and is totally merged into the higher soul, namely Brahman. The practice of means helps the personal soul withdraw the mind from the objects of the phenomenal world and achieve realization that it is of the nature of the universal soul, unborn and eternal. In this process, realization is the goal and Yoga is a means of its achievement! This is corroborated by Patanjali who at the beginning of his Yogasutras defines Yoga as the process for disciplining the mind by withdrawing the senses from the external -objects and focusing the same in the internal on the self-illuminating atman.
Toga-its antiquity and purpose
According to the Bhagavad-Gita,'the supreme lord, at the beginning of Creation, taught Vivasvat the science of Yoga. Vivasvat handed it down to Manu and Manu taught it to his son Iksvaku. Thus this science descended to the royal sages. This great teaching passed down from teachers to disciples from generation to generation. The Ksatriyas were the custodians of this science. We have an evidence in the Narada Purana that Yogiraja Suka, son of Sage Veda 'Vyasa received instructions in Yoga from the royal sage Janaka, the lord of Mithila.
The primordial lord I Bhagavan), at the beginning of creation imparted this science to the Ksatriyas whom he made the rulers of this earth, just to strengthen them so that by dint of their Yogic power they might become capable of protecting the earth-the Brahmanas and other subjects. In protecting the Brahmanas and other subjects, the protection of the earth could be rendered easy.
Through the vast period of time Yoga was lost in this world. The revival of Yoga came about in the lord's discourse to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kuruksetra.P As the Brahmanical tradition records, the science of yoga was of Ksatriya origin. Lord Krsna himself belonged to the Ksatriya clan.
According to acarya Sankara's exposition of Bh. Gita (iv.i), the purpose of this science was primarily mundane rather than spiritual It was spiritual only secondarily. The purpose of imparting instruction to Arjuna in Yoga was just to create- strength in him to fight with his own kith and kin, to over- power or suppress the forces of disruption and establish stability, law and order. in the universe. It was to generate spirit in Arjuna and remove his depression that lord gave lessons in Yoga. The ultimate aim of the lord was against inaction or renunciation. Though lord laid stress upon the performance of duty (srvadharma) with detachment, his exhortation was not motiveless, for it had an aim of creating strength in Arjuna to establish order and equanimity in, this chaotic and disorderly world. A number of exercises of rigorous austerities as prescribed in the science preached by the traditionists help control senses, discipline the mind, prepare the aspirant for the concentrated effort. pranayamas, Asanas and other exercises can cure mental imbalance and enable a person face joys and sorrows, glories and tragedies with detachment- and equanimity. As a practical science Yoga alone can establish harmony, law and order in the universe.
The tradition of Yoga is very ancient. It is certainly prevedic. The discovery of an image in Yogic posture in the ruins of Mohenjodaro in Sind (Pakistan) is a strong evidence to support that the Yogic cult is of hoary antiquity. Yoga as the principal constituent of the Upanisadic learning is as much a part of Vedic cult as the ritual of the Brahmanic lore. On the theoretical side, Yoga is akin to the oldest system of philosophy-Sankhya inasmuch as it accepts the concept of Duality in the existence of eternal Prakrti consisting of tattoos and the eternal atman (Purusa), attributeless and unattached, and also in the acceptance of evolution of the universe as a result of the union of Atman and Prakrti. In the hierarchy of Vedic cult the Purauas playa significant role in dissipating the knowledge of Yoga both for the material and spiritual ends. In non-Vedic Indian culls such as Jainism and Buddhism the practices of Yoga-meditation and the like-play an important role ill 'lifting man to nobler heights materially and spiritually.
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