Discovering the essence wisdom of Yājñavalkya – International Yoga Day 2020

Discovering the essence wisdom of Yājñavalkya – International Yoga Day 2020

Tirumalai Krishnamacharya

Happy International Yoga Day! We are celebrating the day by diving deeper into the essence of Yoga Yajnavalkya.

Yājñavalkya is an essential treaty of Yoga that is not widely known amongst yogis in the West. Though many historians believe that its origin can be traced back to the classical age of Yoga between 2BCE -4th century CE when the Yoga Sutras were written. 

Yājñavalkya is written in the form of a male-female dialogue between the Sage Yājñavalkya and his wife, Gargi. 

Unlike the Yoga Sutras, Yājñavalkya acknowledges the Advaita Vedanta proposition of non-dualism and oneness. According to Krishnamacharya as quoted by A.G Mohan, Yājñavalkya has inspired many other ancient texts scholars, such as Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Yoga Kundalini, and the Yoga Tattva Upanishads.

Yājñavalkya introduces specific vital energy points on the body that are used for sequentially focusing on meditation, similar to yoga nidra.  

The limbs of Yājñavalkya also refer to various steps to reach Moksha and relate the Yoga to the concept of Kundalini and Nadis too. The text also describes many asanas, such as  Svastikasana (Swastika Posture), Gomukhasana (Cow Face Posture), Padmasana (Lotus Posture), Virasana (Hero Posture), Simhasana (Lion Posture), Bhadrasana (Beneficial Posture, Muktasana and Mayurasana (Peacock Posture).  

Interestingly, Yājñavalkya dismisses the notion that “yoga and spiritual practice were only eligible for men during the Vedic time.” On the contrary, the text believes that renunciation is not a prerequisite to achieving liberation – Moksa. All yogis and seekers can also be householders. 

The Yoga Yājñavalkya demonstrates that Vedic culture provided women with equal opportunities and encouragement for their spiritual pursuits to attain freedom. 

We honour the legacy of Yoga Yājñavalkya that has inspired Krishnamacharya and his lineage to share the sacred knowledge of Yoga to women and men alike. 

As a woman and a non-Brahmin, I am deeply grateful to have been given the opportunity to access the body of knowledge of the Vedas. Therefore I feel privileged to pass this sacred knowledge down to as many dedicated yogis and yoginis.

How are you celebrating #internationalyogaday?