Prosody

Dedication to T Krishnamacharya

The following śloka is an original composition by T Krishnamacharya dedicated to himself. There is a line of verse that requires a working knowledge of Vedic astrology (Vedāṅga Jyotiṣ). I include my revised translation and interpretation for the purpose of study.

śrī kṛṣṇa vāgīśa yatīśvarābhyāṃ
(Fearless master of language and king of ascetics)

samprāpta čakrāṇkaṇa bhāṣya sāram
(In the tradition may you as a devout vaiṣṇavaite attain wheel and conch)

śrī nūtna-rangendra yātau samarpita-svaṃ
(May you remain eternally young on your passing)

śrī kṛṣṇa-māryaṃ guru-varya-mīde

virodhe kārtike māse śatatārā kṛtodayāṃ
(May you confront the auspicious entry of the Sun into Scorpio and Moon into Aquarius by showing compassion)

yoga-čaryāṃ kṛṣṇa-māryam

guru-varya-mahaṃ bhaje
(We pray to the cosmic mind to guide your journey)

śrī gurubhyo namaḥ
(We pay tribute to the lineage of gurus)

T Krishnamacharya

vāgīśa: master of language
yatīśvara: king of ascetics
abhayām: fearlessness

samprāpta: completely attained
čakrāṇkaṇa: wheel and conch
bhāṣya: commentary or exposition
sāram: the essence

nūtna: young
rangendra: lord of kings

yātau: gone
samarpita: offered or placed
svaḥ: sky or heaven

virodhe: in opposing

kārtike māse: In the solar religious calendar used in Tamil Nadu, Kartikai begins with the Sun’s entry into Scorpio (October–November)

śatatārā: the nákṣatra (lunar mansion) śata-bhiṣaj (6°40′ Aquarius to 20°00′ Aquarius, Sadachbia: gamma Aquarii,  “hundred healers”); an auspicious nákṣatra sign for yoga, healing and rejuvenation

kṛto: having done
dayām: mercy

yoga-čaryām: performance of yoga

bhaje: worship or engage in devotional service

śrī gurubhyo namaḥ: tribute to the lineage of gurus

gurave namaḥ: my salutation to one guru (singular)
gurubhyo namaḥ: my salutation to many gurus (plural)

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In Search of Hanumān

You do not have far to look for iconography of Hanumān, whose bare footprints leave deep traces across wide stretches of cultures, bridging them as one unity. This is a dedication to the supernatural vānara and folk hero named Hanumān, son of Āñjana and the wind.

Footprint of Hanuman at Lepakshi Temple, India

Hanumān Gāyatrī

Āñjaneyāya vidhmahe (May we realise the son of Āñjana)
Vāyu-putrāya dhīmahi (Let us meditate on the son of the wind)
Tanno hanumat pračodayāt (Through that, may Hanumān illumine us)

Hanuman

Hanumān wields a mace (gada) in an āsana of devotional servitude (dasya-rasa) to Lord Rama and the kingdom of Ayodhyā.

Hanumān (a.k.a. the “monkey”) represents the discipline of taming the mind (čitta-vritti).

Have you seen the venerated hirsute post-war veteran? Please report sightings of Śrī Hanumān to the Yoga community. You may earn +1,000 karma points.

Namaste to this unidentified distant relative:

Bigfoot

The Hanumān Festival is celebrated on April 25, 2013.

On April 25, 2015 the lunar eclipse (čandra grahan) occurs in the bright half of the čaitra month on full moon day (pūrṇimā), in the svati constellation (Libra).

Viniyoga Hanuman Vyayam

The following series of Hanumān postures may be used as part of a full practice with twists and lateral bends to bring vitality to the back, knees, piriformis, hamstrings and hips. Collectively, I label my system of progressions “viniyoga-hanumān vyāyam”, which forms part of the foundation of my own regular personal practice.

Arthurian Pose

Use this preparatory pose to stabilize the core (Pilates method). Find the neutral spine by tucking in the pelvis and sucking in the abdomen.

Half Frog Pose (Ardha bhekāsana)

Ardha Bhekāsana

Stretches the piriformis. A safer alternative to the Hero Pose.

Reclining Hero Pose (Supta virāsana)

Supta Virāsana

Stretches the piriformis from a supine position. Cushions assist relaxation.

Hero Pose (Virāsana)

Virāsana

Stretches the piriformis. Kneeling is a pose of noble servitude, and only one fighter in Hindu mythology bears this association: Hanumān.

Lizard Pose Variation A (Utthan priśthāsana)

Lizard

Press hands on the mat, lift the back heel but keep the back leg straight. Hold. Use the supports to allow the back hamstring to stretch.

Crescent Moon Lunge (Añjeyarāsana)

Añjaneyāsana

Rest your back knee on the mat (or cushion). Square the hips towards the front of the mat. Lean forward slightly to open the hips. Inhale, engage the core and bend backwards.

Lizard Pose Variation B (Utthan priśthāsana)

Utthan priśthāsana

Bring both of your elbows to rest on the mat. Hold. Lift the back knee off the mat and straighten the back leg. Use this preparatory pose to loosen the hips before taking kauṇḍinyāsana and/or ekapada bakāsana.

Pistol Pose

Keep the foot slightly flexed and gently straighten the leg like a pistol. This step (sthiti) follows a crescent moon lunge to loosen the hamstring, preparing for seated splits. Use tracking to test the stability of the patellofemoral joint.

Psoas Stretch

Rest your back knee on the mat (or cushion). Keeping that knee on the mat, raise the foot. Reach the opposite hand behind and hold onto your raised foot.

Lizard Pose Variation C (Godha-pīṭham)

Godha pīṭham

Stretches the iliotibial band and the piriformis, and opens the hips. Bend your front knee and rest the leg on its side. Square the hips towards the front of the mat, and extend the back leg as far back as possible. Extend your back and walk your hands forward. The pose that brings the crown of the head to the back of the foot is called ekapada rajakāpotāsana.

Seated Splits (Hanumānāsana)

Hanumānāsana

Mark of Hare Pose (Śaśankāsana)

Balāsana

The moon signifies healing and rejuvenation. On April 25, 2015 the lunar eclipse (čandra grahan) occurs in the bright half of the čaitra month on full moon day (pūrṇimā), in the svati constellation (Libra).

The Mark of Hare signifies the auspicious full moon. The birthday of Hanumān falls on the full moon at the March Equinox. Thus, the Mark of Hare Pose (Śaśankāsana) is often called Baby Pose (Bālāsana) or Child Pose.

Flying Knee Strike

The flying knee strike (hanuman thayam) in Muay Thai is performed by rotating the body so that the side of the knee strikes the opponent.

Sūrya Gāyatrī

Gāyatrī is the name of a poetical meter (çhanda) that contains three lines of eight syllables each.

bhūr bhuva sva: alluding to the first three of seven vyahritis respectively representing physical plane (bhūr loka), astral plane (bhuva loka), and celestial plane (sva loka), which may be reached in meditation by a yogi

auṃ: pranava (The eternal vibration that binds the physical plane, astral plane, and celestial plane)

tat savitur vareṇya: that, the One God (tat), solar (savitā), venerable (vareṇya)

bhargo devasya dhīmahi: Let us meditate (dhīmahi) upon the effulgence (bhargo) of the deity (deva)

dhiyo yo na pračodayāt: may our wisdom (dhiya), who (ya), of us (na), be inspired (pračodayāt)

Çhandaḥ Śāstra

Vedāṅga disciplines comprise of  phonetics, rituals, grammar, etymology, prosody and astronomy. The study of Vedic prosody is called çhanda (छन्दः).

The metrical unit of verse is the foot or pāda (पद).

Çhanda include:

  • Gāyatrī: 3 padas of 8 syllables containing 24 syllables in each stanza
  • Virāj: 4 padas of 10 syllables
  • Kākubh: 3 padas (8+12+8) containing 28 syllables in each stanza
  • Uṣṇi: 3 padas (8+8+12) containing 28 syllables in each stanza
  • Anuṣṭubh: 4 padas of 8 syllables containing 32 syllables in each stanza
  • Bṛhatī: 4 padas (8+8+12+8) containing 36 syllables in each stanza
  • Sato-bṛhatī: 4 padas (12+8+12+8)
  • Upáriṣṭād-bṛhatī: 4 padas (8+8+8+12) containing 36 syllables in each stanza
  • Pańkti: 4 padas (sometimes 5 padas) containing 40 syllables in each stanza
  • Triṣṭubh: 4 padas of 11 syllables containing 44 syllabes in each stanza
  • Jagatī: 4 padas of 12 syllables containing 48 syllables in each stanza
  • Atyaṣṭi: 7 padas (12+12+8+8+8+12+8) containing 68 syllables in each stanza

Invocation to Patañjali

yogena čittasya – by the means of mind control
padena vāčam – the studies of vocabulary and speech
malam śarīrasya ča – maladies of the [composite] body as well as
vaidyakena – the science of medicine

yopākarot-tam – who removed
pravaram munīnām – most honoured of the sages
patañjalim
prānjaliranato’smi – [with] folded palms, bowed

abahu puruṣakaram – shoulders, [taking] human form
śańkha čakrasi dhariñām – conch [and] discus, bearing
sahasra śirasām śvetam – thousand headed, white
pranāmami patañjalim – bow down to Patañjali

śri mate – sage
anantāya nāga-rājāya – everlasting, supreme king of snakes
namo namaha – salute to thee