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Journal of Indian Philosophy

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 421–452 | Cite as

The Manas and the Manovahā Channel in the Vārṣṇeyādhyātma of the Mahābhārata: A Critical Reading of Mahābhārata 12.207.16–29

  • Kenji TakahashiEmail author
Article

Abstract

The Vārṣṇeyādhyātma, which is comprised of chapters 203–210 of the 12th Book of the Mahābhārata, is an early exposition of the practice of Yoga centered on the manas (mind) and the bodily channel called manovahā (mind-conveying). The importance of the Vārṣṇeyādhyātma’s doctrine for the history of Yoga has not been appropriately acknowledged in previous research and its systematic description of the practice of Yoga has never been studied in its entirety. A careful reading of the text suggests that the Vārṣṇeyādhyātma touches upon the physiological as well as psychological aspects of a human being in the context of the practice of Yoga. This paper attempts to reconstruct the Vārṣṇeyādhyātma’s understanding of the manas and the manovahā channel on the basis of a critical reading of Mahābhārata 12.207.16–29.

Keywords

Manas Manovahā Vārṣṇeyādhyātma Mahābhārata Yoga Adhyātma 

Abbreviations

BhBhS

Bhṛgubharadvājasaṃvāda (MBh 12.175–185)

ChU

Chāndogyopaniṣad

CS

Carakasaṃhitā

JU

Jāpakopākhyāna (MBh 12.189–193)

KU

Kaṭhopaniṣad

MBh

Mahābhārata

MDhP

Mokṣadharmaparvan

PCE

The Poona Critical Edition of the MBh

SK

Sāṃkhyakārikā

SS

Suśrutasaṃhitā

TK

Tattvakaumudī

VA

Vārṣṇeyādhyātma (MBh 12.203–210)

YD

Yuktidīpikā

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Notes

Acknowledgement

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to James L. Fitzgerald (Brown University), Jason Birch (SOAS, University of London) and Yūto Kawamura (University of Oxford) for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of the present paper. This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 15J07295, Mishima Kaiun Memorial Foundation, and Subsidy Program for Overseas Research Activities for Kyoto University Students.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Indological Studies, Graduate School of LettersKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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