Invocation to Patañjali

A mūrti of Sage Patañjali at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, Pune

The illustrious King Bhoja of the Paramara dynasty of western and central India (c. 11th century) who wrote multiple treatises, literary works, poetry collections, and commentaries in Sanskrit, being a magnificent patron of the arts and a polymath himself. He revived the tradition of Sanskrit culture and generously patronised artists and scholars. He established a huge Sanskrit university in Dhārā, called the Bhojaśāla, where students from across the country would live and study literature, astrology, science, and more. About 84 original works on the arts, literature, grammar, medicine, yoga, astrology, architecture, religion and philosophy, law and jurisprudence, etc are attributed to King Bhoja. He also wrote a commentary to the Pātañjalayogaśāstra called the Bhojavritti or Rājamārtaņdavritti. In this, the invocatory verse pays homage to the great sage Pantañjali, the incarnation of Ādiśēṣa.

yogena cittasya padena vācāṁ
malaṁ śarīrasya ca vaidyakena
yo’pākarottaṁ pravaraṁ munīnāṁ
patañjaliṁ prāñjalirānato’smi

My obeisances to the most exalted of sages, Pantañjali, who bestowed upon us yoga, that brings tranquility of the mind, grammar that enables effective and pure speech, and medicine, that rids the body of ailments.

ābahu puruṣākāraṁ
śaṅkha cakrāsi dhāriṇaṁ
sahasra śīrasaṁ śvetaṁ
pranamāmi patañjalim

I prostate before Pantañjali, the incarnation of Ādiśēṣa, a spirit rendered into the form of a puruṣa, who bears the śankha and cakra, and is crowned by the serpent with a thousand heads.

The sage Patanjali, recognizable by his snake’s tail, kneels before a linga in the shade of a tree. c.1850, Tamil Nadu. British Museum


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hindu aesthetic

curating Hindu art and knowledge - a testament to the glorious culture and heritage of a resilient civilisation.