|from Yoga Journal Mar-Apr 1986|
Thursday, 22 March 2012
'...the Yoga Korunta, which was written on palm leaves'
The above includes a page from Krishnamacharya yogasanagalu where he mentions his book was partly based on a Yogakuranti
I did not attempt a detailed review of all ancient yoga treatises since it will make this book very long and perhaps cause boredom to the readers. Please forgive. This writing is mainly based on the following texts:
Upanishads related to yoga
Learning’s from my Guru and self-experience"
from Intro to Yogasanagalu
I mention it too, briefly, in this post
Sunday, 14 April 2013
Did Krishnamacharya teach Ashtanga Primary Series? Matthew Sweeney and the Origin of Ashtanga, Yoga Korunta and Vinyasa
My current thinking?
Oh I don't know, it seems such an old issue now. Reading through the Yoga Journal article above it does make you wonder where the story came from in the first place especially since it goes inot such detail, does anyone reading this know the author Christine Hether, she lives on the Big Island, Hawaii ( I'll try and get in touch and see if she remembers her sources). Pattabhi Jois' English wasn't that great, perhaps the odd mention grew into a whole mythology, Chinese whispers that he later felt the need to come and out and say he had actually never seen a copy.
Perhaps the kernel of the story came from David Williams
"When I arrived in Mysore in 1973, the "Ashtanga Yoga Syllabus" was framed and hung on the wall of Pattabhi Jois' Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute. Pattabhi Jois told me the syllabus was the list of the four series of postures and pranayama from the Yoga Korunta, written in the 12th century by the yogi, Vamana. He explained to me that this ancient text was taught orally to his guru, T. Krishnamacharya, by his guru in Tibet, Rama Mohan Brahmachari. Several years later, Krishnamacharya, following the directions of his guru, found a written copy of the Yoga Korunta in the library of the Maharaja of Calcutta. Krishnamacharya made a copy of the manuscript.
Krishnamacharya showed the Yoga Korunta to his student, Pattabhi Jois. The text included all of the basic yoga asanas, from elementary to advanced, detailed move by move, breath by breath".
We also have this by Eddie Stern's from his profile of Pattabhi Jois
"Ashtanga Yoga: The historical definition of ashtanga yoga is "eight-limbed yoga," as originally outlined by the sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. Ashtanga Yoga as taught by Guruji began with the rediscovery, early in this century, of the Yoga Korunta, an ancient manuscript describing a unique system of hatha yoga practiced and created by the sage Vamana Rishi. Under the direction of Krishnamacharya, Guruji helped decipher and collate this system. He named it Ashtanga Yoga, believing it to be the original asana practice as intended by Patanjali.
The Yoga Korunta emphasizes vinyasa, a method of synchronizing progressive series of postures with a specific breathing technique. The process produces intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, a light and strong body, and a calm mind. On a practical level, the vinyasa continuous flow aids the practitioner, under the guidance of a qualified instructor, in integrating the eight limbs of yoga described by Patanjali".
Eddie Stern 2001
And this from Guy Donahaye
"In 1919 Krishnamacharya began his studies of the Yoga Korunta with his Guru in Tibet, a period of study which lasted seven years. During this time he was able to master over one thousand asanas and had learned the Yoga Korunta in the Nepalese Gukha language.
At some point years later Krishnamacharya discovered a written copy of the text in a Calcutta library. He started to transcribe the text from the nepalese Gurkha language. Unfortunately the verses were written on palm leaves and had been damaged by ants so the text was not complete.
It has been suggested by some that Krishnamacharya created the six Ashtanga sequences and fabricated the story of the Yoga Korunta to add mystical authority to his system.
But why would a man of Krishnamacharya's spiritual evolution, for whom to lie would be a sin, intentionally misrepresent the truth?
No one can say how old the text is, or how old the teachings are which must have preceded the creation of the record. Those who say these are creations of Krishnamacharya must be mistaken, certainly he was a genius and made some adaptations, as can be seen in his later teachings.
The text is attributed to Risi Vamana. Vamana was an avatara of Vishnu and the first incarnation of the Treta Yuga (the 2nd Yuga) which places him at the same time in history as the battle of Kuruksetra (in the Gita/Mahabharata).
It is common practice for authors to attribute their texts to their teachers or teachers teachers, so the author of the text is not necessarily Vamana but could be one of a lineage of his students".
"Yogi, don't practice asana without vinyasa"
Before switching to Philosophy at Uni I studied Classics so am not unfamiliar with fragments, one would expect if the text had been read recently or imparted orally to Krishnamacharya by his teacher then we would have more than one fragment. Krishnamacharya was a memory machine, there is film of him on his 100 Birthday celebration chanting away from memory while his son and other scholars chant from texts.
My kindest guess is that Krishnamacharya's teacher referred to a yogakuranti and perhaps that got confused with Vamana Rishi's text. Or perhaps the teacher was mistaken and the text he was using or basing his teaching on was another text altogether that he believed or had been told was called yogakurunti.
As for the Calcutta library story, Iyengar scoffs at the very idea but we do know that the young Pattabhi Jois accompanied Krishnamacharya on some of his yoga promotion tours. I'm sure Krishnamacharya would have visited libraries in his free time, I can imagine Krishnamacharya testing his young padwan on his Sanskrit translation skills and perhaps one such texts rang bells with Krishnamacharya, Sriitattvanidhi or something based on it perhaps.
Wednesday, 3 September 2014
Origin's of Modern Yoga Asana: Comparison of Krishnamacharya's teachers drawings and Norman's Sjoman's Sriitattvanidhi (1880's) presentation in his Mysore palace book
Does it matter how old the practice is, try going a week without practicing and see if you still care, something resonates in this linking of breath, mind and movement that is timeless whether it was written down or not. It's excellent preparation for yoga, it marries as the Italians are fond of saying. And truth be told if a copy of the Korunta was found I very much doubt it would change a single vinyasa in how it's taught in Mysore currently. Some would explore it through practice just as some of us explore Krishnamacharya's texts through practice, to try and understand what he was exploring himself. Would I change my own practice, probably not, somebody else would though ensuring that it was a living practice once more. It's a nice thought.
That's all I've got, the ants had it.
Yoga Journal is still going of course, here's a link http://www.yogajournal.com/