I am extremely pleased to write a Foreword to
this book "Yogic Elements in Pancamahakaovas" by
Dr. S. Muthulakshmi. It has been accepted earlier for the
award of Ph. D. degree of the University of Madras,
through the K. S. R. Institute.
"Yogic Elements in Pancamahakavyas" had been a
pet topic of Dr. S. S. Janaki, former Director of the
K. S. R. Institute. Her worthy disciple Dr. K. S.
Balasubramanian, Deputy Director of the Institute,
himself a specialist in Yoga, especially Rajayoga, found
Dr. S. Muthulakshmi an appropriate person to work on
this specific topic.
Dr. S. Muthulakshmi is a sincere and dedicated
scholar in the field of Sanskrit research. She has justified
our expectations by formulating this work to such a
perfection that it has needed only slight alterations to
see the present book form.
Dr. S. Muthulakshmi is associated with the
activities of the K. S. R. Institute and the Samskrta
Academy, Madras, as an active member and takes part
in their various activities like conducting seminars,
lectures and publishing books.
The Pancamahakauvas contain doctrines belonging
to various systems of Indian philosophy. The principles
and practice of Astanga Yoga are found in many places
in all the Mahakavyas. All of them talk about the
different state of mind in detail.
The Ragnuuamsa and the Kumarasambhava show
that Kalidasa was conversant with Yogic practices.
While Raghuvamea highlights that detachment in life
leads to liberation, Kumarasambhava extols the greatness
of tapas. Kalidasa's description of Samadhi state is
noteworthy. In Kiratarjuniya, Bharavi has dealt with all
the astanga of Yoga and has also highlighted different
aspects of tapas. In Kiratarjuniya, non-Patanjala Yogic
practices and concepts like sakapata and sahaja samadhi
are recorded. Sisupalavadha shows less details of Yoga,
but in one single sloka (V. 55), the essence of Yogadarsana
is provided by Magha, showing deep understanding of
saguna and nirguna aspect of God and the principle of
sabija and nirbija samadhi. The Naisadha, in addition to
the Astanga Yoga, discusses powers acquired through
After bringing out all these matters to light,
Dr. S. Muthulakshmi shows that no two mahakavyas are
similar in their presentation of Yogic concepts. In the
first two chapters she also provides a brief introduction
to Yoga and the Pancamahakavyas.
Written lucidly and interestingly by
Dr. S. Muthulakshmi, the book makes a smooth and
easy reading. The index at the end of the book enhances
the value of the book. I am sure this book will be
studied eagerly by research scholars of Sanskrit studies.
The ancient civilization of India was a concrete
unity of multifaceted developments in art, architecture,
literature, religion, philosophy and science. Nevertheless,
the most important achievement of Indian thought was
the philosophy of liberation. It is the ultimate goal of all
the highest practical and theoretical activities and it
indicates the unity amidst all apparent diversities.
The evolution of the philosophy of liberation has
its roots in Vedas, the scriptures revealed to the rsis.
There were two varieties of rsis namely, the protagonists
of pravrtti marga and nivrtti marga. The pravrtti marga
aims at happiness in this and higher worlds. The nivrtti
marga aims at freedom from rebirth, sorrow and
suffering. Many saints like Janaka, Yajnavalkya and
Kapila followed the latter path.
Attainment of real knowledge of the ultimate
Truth is the real liberation. There are several means of
obtaining this liberation as prescribed by different
schools of thought. Among them, the six orthodox
systems are very famous. Sankhya and Yoga systems
are considered to be the most ancient schools, which
advocate the path to achieve complete freedom from the
miseries of being born in this world. These two are
allied systems of philosophy and Yoga is considered to
be practical aspect of Sankhya school.
All other schools of Indian philosophy have
accepted the doctrines of these two systems to a great
extent. Mahakavyas also speak about these doctrines. But,
no one has tried to glean these doctrines from these
kavyas. This dissertation endeavours to extract these
Since the topic of this dissertation pertains to
- Yoga and Sankhya viz. 'Yogic elements in ponca-
mahakavyas', a brief survey of the doctrines of these two
schools is given here:
FUNDAMENTAL DOCTRINES OF SANKHYA -
I. Fixity of one's mind on the ultimate Reality
through renunciation is the means of realizing
Truth, according to Yogic system of philosophy.
II. The Sankhya philosophy holds the view that the
ultimate discriminative knowledge that the Self is
distinct from prakra or the primordial cause of the
Universe is the goal.
III. Cessation of the three-fold misery is moksa or
IV. On attainment of liberation, one realizes one's own
immutable attribute less consciousness.
v. In salvation, the caiaortti ceases to function.
vi. The way to bring about such cessation is
renunciation (vairagya) and discrimination (viveka)
and one acquires the supreme knowledge through
VII. The means of attaining samadhi is observance of
prescribed rules of conduct and the practice of the
defined methods of contemplation and meditation.
viii. Liberation brings about cessation of the cycle of
birth, death and rebirth caused by latent
impressions of karma performed in several births,
known as samskaras or vasanas.
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