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Yoga Yajnavalkya

The Yoga Yajnavalkya (Sansk. yoga-yājñavalkya) is a classic  Yogatext like the Yogasutras  which is ascribed to the vishnuist sage Yajnavalkya.

Other known titles are Sri Yajnavalkyasamhitopanishat, Yajnavalkya Gitopanishadah, Yajnavalkya Samhitopanishad, Yajnavalkyopanishat, Yoga Yajnavalkya Gita, Yoga Yajnavalkya Gitopanishadah, Yoga Yajnavalkyam, Yoga Yajnavalkya Samhita, Yoga Yajnavalkya Upanishad, Yoga Yajnavalkya Smrti, Yogi Yajnavalkya, Yogi Yajnavalkyam and Yogi Yajnavalkya Smrti.

Several texts like Hatha Yoga PradipikaYoga Kundalini - Upanishad and Yoga Tattva - Upanishad rely on the Yoga Yajnavalkya.

== Content ==

The Yoga Yajnavalkya begins its description of yoga practice with a statement of virtuous self-restraints that a yogi or yogini needs to adhere to.

This list is longer than the five yamas listed by Patañjali in Yogasūtra but similar to those found in other Hindu texts such as the Shandilya Upanishad.

Verses 1.50–51  list  ten Yamas, while verses 1.52–70 explain these virtues ]

  1. Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): nonviolence, nonharmfulness by action, with word or in thought
  2. Satya (सत्य): truthfulness
  3. Asteya (अस्तेय): not stealing
  4. Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): celibacy, fidelity to one's partner
  5. Dayā (दया): kindness, compassion
  6. Ārjava (आर्जव): no hypocrisy, sincerity
  7. Kṣamā (क्षमा): forgiveness[43]
  8. Dhṛti (धृति): fortitude[45]
  9. Mitāhāra (मितहार): moderation in diet
  10. Śauca (शौच): purity, cleanliness

Verse 1.69 asserts that when themind achieves purity, Atmavidya becomes feasible.

Chapter 2 starts with a list of ten Niyamas (the Observance, Do-these list, positive duties), followed by an explanation. The list is  similar to those found in the Shandilya and Varaha Upanishads, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and verses 552 to 557 in Book 3 of the Tirumandhiram of Tirumular, in the sense of positive duties, desirable behaviors and discipline.

  1. Tapas: austerity, persistence and perseverance in one's purpose
  2. Santoṣa: contentment, acceptance of others and of one's circumstances as they are, optimism for self
  3. Āstika: faith in merit and demerit
  4. Dāna: generosity, charity, sharing with others
  5. Īśvarapūjana: worship of the Ishvara (Brahman, Vishnu, Rudra, God/Supreme Being, True Self)
  6. Siddhānta śrāvaṇa: listening to the Vedas and Upanishads, texts about virtues and principles
  7. Hrī: shyness, modesty, remorse and acceptance of one's past, humility
  8. Mati: faith in self and duties, reflection to reconcile conflicting ideas
  9. Japa: steady reading of the Vedas, repetition of mantras or sacred sounds set in poetic meters, either with sound or silently in one's mind
  10. Vratam: vows and self-promise to focus and achieve appropriate self set goals on Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.

Chapter 4 The nature of 14 Nadis, the human body and how vital airs function in it, the Prana (breath, vital air) . The  aim of yoga is at first to become aware and control this vital air, to be equal to or lower than the inner fire within one's body.This inner fire resides in the middle part of the body, and he calls it the Nabhi (center) and a Chakra. This is the residence of the Jiva, and the vital air nourishes it from below while one is alive.Just above this Nabhi is the kundalini which normally is dormant. Yoga awakens her, by bringing vital air and heat to her.

Chapter 5 and 6 discuss the means of cleansing the body and mind.

Chapter 6 Breath : The essential nature of breath control is the union of Prana and Apana. Three levels of breath regulation, namely Puraka (satisfying), Kumbhaka (prominent) and Rechaka (purging).

Chapter 7 discusses the five forms of Pratyahara.

The theory of Marma (joints) is presented, and 18 vital points inside one's body are listed that can be used as focal points to help initial stages of the meditative exercises.

Chapter 8 Five chakra deities are addressed by chanting the five letters or syllables  laṃ , vaṃ , raṃ , yaṃ , and haṃ to become one with Parameshvara. A yogin should practice meditating on these respective body systems as deities, with the help of Om mantra. This leads to dissolution and realization of the Brahman-Purusha. After mastery is achieved by envisioning the five deities,  the yogin overcomes three Dosha (faults).T

Chapter 9 is about Dhyana which can lead to freedom or bondage, depending on how and what one concentrates on. Freedom comes from realizing the oneness of individual self with the universal self.

The Nirguna (attribute less) form of meditation is best suited for those who have mastered the vital airs as well as all the Asanas with inner awareness of Marmans (vital points) and Nadis. These yogins and yoginis can feel the Self within. They should meditate on "I am Brahman, who is all pervasive, all embracing, all perceiving and full of bliss".

Reflective meditation is the direct feeling (Vedana) of one's own self through the mind. It is either qualified (Saguna) or non-qualified (Nirguna). Qualified meditation are five, of which three are the best. Non-qualified is of one kind only.

Yoga Yajnavalkya 9.1–3

The Saguna meditation is for those who need a concrete symbol such as a Murti, or a visualization aid.They should think of their lotus heart having eight petals with the highest self visualized as Vasudeva, Narayana or Purushottama. The meditation should concentrate on one's own identity with this image of imperishable highest self. This is the path to the state of Vaishvanara, or qualified Dhyana.

Chapter 11 is about concentration (Samadhi) as  the state of equality of both the individual self and the highest self or as the abiding of the inner self in Brahman. By concentration the individual self and the supreme self can become one.

Chapter 12 starts with Siddha Yoga and Kundalini. The aim of these  exercises is to reach the "internal fire" with Prana (life force, breath energy). They should be performed three times daily for ten days. With the vital air under control the yogin realizes signs of progress such as a relaxed state of body, manifested divine sound or nada inside.

This Kundalini fire is in the navel. It should be meditated upon by breathing exercises. This warms up the Kundalini and awakens her. The warmth glows through the entire body, and at this stage the yogin must draw the breath above the navel.

Yagnavalkya explains that warm air inhaled passes to the Brahmarandhra via the navel which helps in curing diseases.

Chapter 13 is about  degradation and rectification(sins) and penances

Chapter 14 is about Preta-Asaucha, cremation and mourning


== Literature ==

* Yagjnavalka abriged

* Daouk, Malek. Main points of Yoga Yajnavalkya as taught by Yogi Yajnavalkya.The Yoga Review, Summer & Autumn 1983, 3(2&3):101-108.

* Desikachar, T. K. V.Yogayajnavalkya Samhita: The Yoga Treatise of Yajnavalkya.Chennai, India: Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, 2003

* Mohan, A. G., trans. Yoga-Yajnavalkya. Madras, India: Ganesh & Co., 2000

== Weblinks ==

* Wiki about the Yoga Yajnavalka