Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Ashtangayoga included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Aṣṭāṅgayoga

Yama, Niyama, Āsana, Prāṇāyāma, Pratyāhāra, Dhyāna, Dhāraṇā and Samādhi.


That which prevents the yogīs from doing prohibited things. Ahiṃsā, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacarya and Aparigraha are yamas.


Actions leading to Mokṣa. They are:

(1) ŚAUCA—Cleanliness of the mind—cleaning it of such bad qualities like jealousy. (2) TAPAS—indifference (Samatvabhāva) to the pairs of opposites like pleasure and pain, heat and cold etc. (3) Svādhyāya -pursuit of the science of salvation chanting of OM. (4) SANTOṢA—remaining happy and contented. (5) ĪŚVARA-PRAṆIDHĀNA—surrendering all actions to God.


Postures of sitting firmly and comfortably. Of the many āsanas the very prominent ones are: Svastikāsana, Vīrāsana, Padmāsana, Siddhāsana, Vastrāsana, Vyāghracarmāsana, Valkalāsana, Kuśāsana, Kṛṣṇāsana, Viṣṭarāsana, Mayūrāsana and Kūrmāsana. Of these Siddhāsana is considered to be the best of the lot. This āsana strengthens the 72,000 nerves of the human system and all the yogīs prefer this to any other. "Kimanyaiḥ bahubhiḥ pīṭhaiḥ pīṭhe Siddhāsane sati" (of what use are the others when there is Siddhāsana).


Control of Prāṇa (Prāṇa is the life giving breath and āyāma is the checking of it). Select an airy place and be seated in an ordinary āsana facing north or east after taking your early morning bath. Sit erect with your breast slightly pushed forward and your head slightly drawn back. Then complete one Prāṇāyāma doing Pūraka, Kumbhaka and Recaka. The Rudrayāmala states thus about Prāṇāyāma.

"dakṣāṅguṣṭhena dakṣaṃ ca. ghrāṇaṃ saṃpīḍya mantravit īḍayā pūrayedvāyuṃ mātrā ṣoḍaśabhiḥ kramāt aṅguṣṭhānāmikābhyāñca dhṛtvā nāsādvayaṃ tataḥ tatastu kampayedvāyuṃ pūrakāṇāṃ caturgaṇaiḥ anāmayā tathā vāmanāsāṃ dhṛtvā tu dakṣine dvātriṃśadbhistu mātrābhir vāyurecanamācaret."

Closing the right nostril by the thumb of the right hand and inhaling air inside through the left nostril taking 16 seconds is called Pūraka. Closing the nostrils by the thumb and ring-finger and keeping the breath for 64 seconds is called Kumbhaka. Closing the left nostril well and then exhaling through the right nostril taking 32 seconds is called Recaka. Pūrakas should be done through the same nostril through which you have done Recaka. (You must do at least ten Prāṇāyāmas at a time).


Withdrawing the mind from worldly objects and sensuous pleasures.


Keeping your mind fixed on the tip of your nose. Meditation.


Steadily thinking of things you should know. Concentration.


The union of mind with God. This is a blissful superconscious state in which one perceives the identity of the individualised soul and cosmic spirit. (Yogābhyāsa).

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: