An Introduction to Yuktabhavadeva of Bhavadeva Mishra

(ISBN-81-901176-8-8) Edited by Dr. M. L. Gharote and Dr Vijay Kant Jha

The Lonavla Yoga Institute has been working on this critical edition of Yuktabhavadeva of Bhavadeva Misra for the last three years and its subsequent publication makes a valuable contribution to the available traditional literature on Yoga. Yuktabhavadeva of Bhavadeva Misra was written in the 17th Century and it is an exhaustive compilation of Yogic principles and practice which also brings together trends from different Yogic traditions. The author, Bhavadeva Misra refers to a total of 38 reliable and famous works and renowned authorities and this fact alone makes it an important text for the serious student of yoga to study.

A short introduction is followed by a very substantial summary of the text and then a critical appraisal of the text, the full text in Sanskrit, useful general glossary, glossary of botanical terms, glossary of deities and holy places, indexes and photos.

The text is divided into the following chapters

Chapter 1 – Prinicples of Yoga

Chapter 2 – Rejuvination Treatment

Chapter 3 – Structure of the Body

Chapter 4 & 5 – Yama and Niyama

Chapter 6 – Asana

Chapter 7 – Pranayama

Chapter 8 – Pratyahara

Chapter 9 – Dharana

Chapter 10 – Dyana

Chapter 11 – Samadhi

This really is a fascinating book which introduced to me many aspects of yoga which were either new or not really understood by me, particularly in the first five chapters.

The first chapter introduces various Yogic principles and the author refers to a variety of different texts to help make the subject clear to his reader. The healthy body plays such an important part in Yoga that great lengths were gone to in order to achieve vitality and these are described in Chapter 2 in what can only be described as an introduction to Yogic herbalism and alchemy! Recipies for age defying medicants and treatments are given and various methods of ingestion and application are suggested. Though as most of these are based on the use of mercury I wouldn’t advise you to try any of them at home, and of course only under the direction of a guru! (The additional information in the critical appraisal of this chapter makes just as fascinating reading!).

The anatomy and physiology of the body in Yogic terms (Chapter 3) sounds strangely contemporary and seems to me to be the result of scientific investigation rather than eosoteric interpretation. The structure of the body, development, nadis, charkas, jiva and elements are described The marmas and their locations are discussed as is the prognosis associated with damage to each particular marma. There are useful diagrams to explain the information given in this chapter.

The Yamas and Niyamas are discussed in chapters 4 & 5. Ahimsa (non-violence) is given great importance and discussed in full with different gradients of ahimsa described. This makes me keen to find out if other yamas and niyamas are dealt with so completely elsewhere.

The subsequent chapters continue to be thorough and informative and as the editors write in their introduction ‘once the reader starts studying this treatise, he experiences the depth and breadth of Yoga in it’. The only problem with this publication is that I can predict that I am going to buy even more books to find out more about the subjects raised in this treatise!

This book would benefit anyone wishing to find out more about Yoga, beyond asana and panayama practice. Students and teachers will find the book very useful, in particular the chapters on yogic anatomy and physiology as well as all the references to other yogic texts.

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