Newly discovered book may be copy of Yoga Korunta (April Fool’s)

A book discovered in a Calcutta bookstore earlier this year may be a copy of the Yoga Korunta, according to a report in the Yoga Journal of India.

A friend sent us a series of photos of the story, as apparently the publication doesn’t have a website. They are pretty blurry, but here are some highlights:

  • An Australian named Paul McFibb was in Calcutta and happened upon an old bookstore. He says: “I just felt this pull to go in. The place was just a mess of books, papers, rugs, this and that. I asked the shop keeper if he had any books on yoga, and he just pointed me to one side.”
  • On a series of shelves, McFibb discovered books ranging from Iyengar’s Light on Yoga to different versions of the Yoga Sutras and, he said, even some Western books. “Figured it was a bit far to come for a book by Ram Dass,” he said.
  • As he was going through the stacks, which he described as “a total mess, moldly, filthy, really,” he carefully set the books that looked the oldest and most worn to the side.
  • As he was going through those books, one caught his attention, but he wasn’t at first sure why. The title, Yoga Grantha seemed familiar, he said.
  • As he went through the book, he was surprised to find it to be in Sanskrit — which he has studied a bit. From what he could understand, he figured the series of yoga poses described were “about 85% similar to today’s Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga.”
  • He brought the book back out to the bookseller and asked about it. “The old fella told me: “Yes. Vamana. Very old. Very good book.'”

McFibb paid 150 rupies for about a dozen books, including the Yoga Grantha. He got it back to the hotel where he was staying with a few other friends. “We kept going through it. My one mate, Darrell, is the one who really knows Ashtanga, and he was the first one who said, ‘You know, this might be the missing Yoga Korunta.'”

McFibb took the book to a Sanskrit scholar at University of Calcutta in late February. Initial reports of what he may have found started circulating, including in the Yoga Journal of India, last week, our friend said in an email accompanying the photos of the story.

According to Yoga Journal story, scholars were set to meet today, Monday, April 1, to study the document further and perhaps formally announce their findings.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

9 thoughts on “Newly discovered book may be copy of Yoga Korunta (April Fool’s)”

  1. I’m pretty curious/fascinated by the origins of the ashtanga sequence. The way I understand it now (which I’m sure is not super accurate) is:

    – Krishnamacharya begins studying with Brahmachari in the early 1900. Studies for seven years. Learns a ton of asanas.
    – In the 30’s and 40’s Krishnamacharya is teaching in Mysore under the patronage of the Maharaja of Mysore palace. He begins to mix yoga with gymnastics and wrestling. This becomes the foundation for ashtanga vinyasa yoga. He then standardizes the pose sequence.
    – Pattabhi Jois began studying with Krishnamacharya in the late 20’s and remained his student for like 35 years. It seems that Krishnamacharya passed along the developing ashtanga sequence to PJ and PJ continued to teach it with only minor refinements.

    Pattabhi Jois is quoted as saying he never read the Yoga Korunta. “Only Krishnamacharya”.

    Is the Yoga Korunta something that Bhahmachari introduced Krishnamacharya to? How much of the ashtanga vinyasa system that become codified in the 30’s and 40’s was pulled from it?

    1. This is from the KPJAYI (Mysore) site:

      “The method of Yoga taught at KPJAYI is that which has been told by the ancient Sage Vamana in his text called “Yoga Korunta.” Although many books on Yoga have been written, Vamana is the only one who has delineated a complete practical method. In the 1920’s, the Yogi and Sanskrit Scholar, T. Krishnamacharya traveled to Calcutta where he transcribed and recorded the Yoga Korunta, which was written on palm leaves and was in a bad state of decay, having been partially eaten by ants. Later, Krishnamacharya passed on these teachings to the late Pattabhi Jois, whose school continues to teach this method today.

      “Vamana Rishi taught “Vina Vinyasa Yogena asanadih na karayet” – do not do yoga without Vinyasa. Vamana is telling one by one, and vinyasa, no problem.”

  2. Oh noo… this is quite a nasty April Fools joke… I was excited, but then I realized the date. You are mean ConfluenceCountdown!

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