Though the Manuscript Kapalakurantaka’s Hathabhyasa-paddhati is incomplete in itself, it describes the techniques of 112 asanas and futher if classifies the asanas in six categories on the basis of initial position of the body. Among one of the categories we find the description of asanas to be performed with the rope (rjvasanas group). This is earliest traditional reference of the prop to be used while performing asanas. Such references are not found in traditional Hathayogic texts like Hathapradipika and Gheranda Samhita. The text prescribes the undertaking of shodhana kriyas after the practice of asanas. Unlike other Hathayogic texts it disuses ten Yamas and Niyamas.
Philosophico-Literary-Research Department of Kaivalyadhama Lonavla, undertook a research project on unpublished Yoga Manuscript (MSS) known as Kapalakurantaka during last two years and it is only this year that it could materialize the same. It's study has revealed that among the various MSS the Department took for the said research it came to know that Kapalakurantak’s Hathabhyasapaddhati is unpublished and incomplete MSS on Hathayoga. When it studied the MSS it was found that though incomplete it contains very valuable and unique information regarding the practices it deals with such as Yama, Niyama, Asana, Asta-Kumbhakas, Shodhana - kriyas and, Mudras. Especially the Asanas, as it gives, unlike other various Hatha texts, the information regarding techniques of 112 Asanas, their six fold classification, prescription for the use of rope in asanas. Besides this unique information about Asanas it accords place, unlike other hathayogic texts, to the discussion of what are otherwise known as Yama (10) and Niyamas (10). Speaking about some other yoga practices it prescribes a few strange things viz. about Nauli it is said that in it one should rotate the abdomen for thousand times, or again the length of vastra dhauti is prescribed as five thousand cubit (approximately 277 inches). We could comment nothing except that these are the matters needing further investigation. Our staff is well aware that the text they are working upon is not free from corrupt text (patha) so instead of correcting the text we have translated the text with possible correct reading and rendered annotations wherever possible with best of knowledge. We hope that readers will appreciate our efforts positively. Many a times researchers have to work under limitations with a view to obtain transparency and objectivity.
We are thankful to Bharat Itihas Samshodhan Mandal, Pune, for providing the photo copy of the manuscript under the name Asanayoga by Kapala Kurantaka which contains 58 folios and available in Devanagari script of which Kaivalyadhama Library Accession No. is 29126.
We are thankful to our Secretary Shri O.P. Tiwari for encouraging and providing necessary facilities right from procuring MSS and discussing with the staff about the progress of the work. Joint Director of Administration Shri Subodh Tiwari with his acumen and diligence was in pace with ongoing research and generate necessary funds for the publication of the text. And he rightly deserves our appreciation and thanks.
Our thanks are due to the Ministry of H.R.D., Depai tinent of Education, Government of India, for their regular financial and moral support for the research works being carried out and for the overall development of Kaivalyadhama.
This Preface will not be complete without expressing our sincere gratitude towards all the members of Kaivalyadham Pariwar for their direct /indirect contribution.
We thank our Library staff for their prompt services that they have always rendered towards departmental work.
Mr. Tanpure, ACE Enterprises, Pune, who has long standing experience in printing and long association with Kaivalyadhama, has utilized his expertise unsparingly towards the well-knit and timely printing the present work. We are thankful to him.
Last but not least, we hope that our readers will provide as usual with their feedback, comments, criticisms etc. regarding the present work so that their opinions and comments can be well taken care of in our next edition.
Kapalakurantaka's Hathabhyasa-paddhati is an important text on Hathayoga in many respects. Unlike Hathapradipika and Gheranda Samhita, it deals with the Yamas and Niyamas elaborately. Among other topics it deals with Asanas, Satkarmas, eight Kumbhakas, and ten Mudras.
At the very beginning of the text the author declares that he is writing this Hathabhyasa-Paddhati for the persons who are heated with the fire of worldly affairs and who are extremely attached to mundane objects, and who are very uxorious, and who are driven out or expelled from their caste, and who can undertake a very audacious task. (See Para 2 in the text).
The author classified the Asanas into six categories on the basies of initial position of the body for the first time in a Sanskrit text. And his description, about Asanas strikingly include 'Rajjvasanas' (Asanas performed with the help of a rope). In fact we see such Asanas with rope described for the first time a Hathayogic text. We do not find such Asanas in Hathapradipika and Gheranda Sainhita. Kapala-kurantaka has described the technique of 112 Asanas. Such a large number of Asanas are not found described in the well known Hathayogic texts like Hathapradipika, Gheranda Samhita and Siva Samhita etc.
For the purification of the body the author described Adhdrasuddhikriya or Gannesha Kriya. After this he mentioned the following Shodhanakriyas. 1. Basti 2. Nauli 3. Vastra-dhauti 4. Gajakarani 5. Neti 6. Kapalabhati and 7. Trataka. (These are called Satkarmas, Gajakarani being included in Dhauti).
According to this author one should perform Asanas at first to attain competence in performing Satkarmas.
It is also interesting to note that in the beginning of the text the author described the Yama-Niyamas which are generally not been discussed in a Hathayogic text. The author has discussed about Matika-laksana also.
It is also notable here that the techniques of different Shodhana-Kriyas (as described here) are not completely similar to the techniques as described in Hathapradipika and Gheranda Samhita. Then the author gave a description of Astakumbhakas which, according to him, are needed for the accomplishment of Mudras. All these are described in Hathapradipika also almost in the same way with an exception that in the place of the name, 'Kevala' Hathapradipika stated the name 'Plavini'.
While enumarting ten Mudras the author gave an elaborate description of Vajroli Mudra also which sheds lights on some new points.
The scribe of the manuscript started with the saying 'Sri Kapalakurantakaya Namati.' So he must be different from Kapalakurantaka. Now the question is this - who is this Kapalakurantaka? It seems to us that he was a renowned Hathayogi of perhaps 18th century A. D. From internal evidences (in the text) it can be guessed that he was a native of Maharashtra. Much information about the author (Kapalakurantaka) is not available.
The Manuscript is in Devanagari script. The original copy of it is available in Bharat Itihas Sanshodhan Mandal, Pune. It was not published before in a printed form. So far as we know there was no English translation of it available also. Hence it was naturally thought desirable to present this original text to the literary world with an English translation and explanatory notes where-ever necessary, this text (with translation and notes) is going to be published for the first time in a printed form from Kaivalyadhama S.M.Y.M. Samiti, Lonavla 410 403.
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