The Yogaratnanmala of Nagarjuna is more or less now a forgotten work though it is important historically. The text was published in 1914 by Venkateswara Press, Bombay1 but not seen today. Nagarjuna has remained a mysterious identity in the history of medicine, philosophy, alchemy as well as tantricism and it would be worth-while to examine this text which is undoubtedly by Nagarjuna from this point of view. The commentary on this text by Gunakara is also important because departing from the traditional Indian Practice he has given the date of his work (1239 A. D.) at the end of the commentary. Based on this, the illustrious indologist, Dr. A. R. Hoernle2 has fixed the date of Vijayaraksita, the author of the Madhukosa commentary on the Rugviniscaya of Madhava as about 1240 A.D. because he (Vijayaraksita) has also quoted Gunakara3. Keeping such historical importance of the text as well as the commentary the present edition of the work is being brought out.
1. Title of the work:
The title of the work is variously mentioned in different catalogues such as:-
1. Ascaryayogamala (Baroda, Udaipur, Raghvan)
2. Ascarya Yogaratnamala (Baroda)
3. Yogaratnamala (Saraswati Bhavan)
4. Yogamala (Saraswati Bhavan)
5. Mahakautuka (B.H.U.)
6. Kautukatantra ( ,, )
The difficulty is that the author has said it a 'Yogaratnamala' in the beginning (verse 2) but at the end he has mentioned it as Ascaryaratnamala (verse 140). The title is meaningful as the text contains a collection of valuable formulae and recipes and is like a necklace of precious jewels. As the recipes are miraculous it is also called as Ascaryayogamala, a collection of miraculous recipes. But on the evidence of initial verse supported by the introductory verse of the commentator, the actual title of the work seems to be Yogaratnamala which is preferred in the present edition.
2. Materials for the text:
The basic material was procured from the Mithila Research Institute, Darbhanga but this Ms. Contained only 120 verses while from other sources it was evident that the text should have 140 verses. Hence for comparison and completion of the text the following other Mss. were consulted:-
1. Saraswati Bhavan Varanasi- Ms. No. 44791 and 45134.
2. Banaras Hindu University –Ms. No. B 1002 and B 603.
The following Mss. Have been taken for textual comparison:-
1. Mithila Research Institute Darbhanga, accn. No.3009 (mentioned as Yogaratnavali)
2. Saraswati Bhavan, Varanasi. Ms. sl. No. 44791.
Size -9.8 by 3.8 in.
Extent- 26 leaves, 9 lines to a leave, 43 letters to a line, complete.
Script – Devanagari.
3. B.H.U., Varanasi- Ms. accn. No. 131002,
Sl, No. 26/10240
Size – 20.8 X 12.0 cm.
Extent- 16 leaves, incomplete.
Date- 1967 Sam.
The Mss. of Yogaratnamala or Ascaryayogamala are found in various parts of the country as mentioned in several catalogues1. Raghavan has given the following information on this item:-
"Ascaryayogamala in 140 verses. See also under Yoga. By Nagarjuna, Pupil of Bhaskara. Bike., B. O. R. I, Mithila, Udaipur, Pub. Venkateswara Press, Bombay, 1914".
3.Subject matter and the contents:
This text has been included under Tantra, Ayurveda, Yoga or Indrajala. In Baroda Catalogue there are two Mss. –one under Tantra (Sl. No. 46) and the other under Ayurveda (Sl. 37). B.H.U. catalogue has described it under Indrajala as well as Tantra.
Similarly, there is variation in number of verses in different Mss. Baroda mentions the number of Granthas as 450 (Tantra Ms.) and 400 (Ayurveda Ms.) As said earlier, the Darbhanga Ms. contains only 120 verses while other Mss. contain 140 verses. On corroborative evidences the total number of verses seems to be 140
One strange thing is that verse No. 70 is repeated as verse No. 124. All the Poona Mss. also have the same readings.
The Contents of the text are various nature such as Medical, Tantric and Mesmeric. There are certain formulae which have been claimed by the author as effective oral contraceptive (V. 89-92) which deserve scientific trial. Similarly, there is one formula for sterility (V. 85-86).
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