the letter I in Devanagari, arranged in the form of a swastika

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Original artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1996-2006. Translations are © Mike Magee 1996-2006.

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The Jnana Karika

All Indian methods of measurement of time were based on one unit, called a prana or breath. 360 of these pranas make up 24 minutes, and this is called a nadika. Within one day and night, there are 21600 pranas, half of which belong to the Sun and half of which to the Moon. Breath is time, and this circle is connected with the zodiac and with the letters (matrikas) of the alphabet. To become free from time is an inner goal of the kalachakra - Teachings of the Adinaths (anonymous)

The Jnana Karika, like the Akulavira and the Kulananda Tantra, is another text ascribed to Gorakhnath's guru Matsyendranath, published in the original version of Bagchi's Kaulajnananirnaya of the School of Matsyendranath. The verse numbering in the original Bagchi version was out of kilter and this has been corrected. The text is presented in iTrans format below.

Jnana means knowledge, while Karika means a set of verses explaining the philosophical doctrines.

Divided into three brief chapters dealing with liberation, dharma and adharma, and the way of acting or the path, it is of considerable interest to the whole Nath tradition. The third chapter gives the inner meaning of a host of terms associated with tantra -- some of which continue to mislead because the often bizarre and uncanny terms are taken at face value.

In chapter one, which has 18 verses and some lacunae, liberation, that is knowledge or jnana, is described in terms more of what it is not, than what it is. For example, it is devoid of the 25, it is all peaceful, free of all attachment, free of mantra and tantra or distinctions of other types, free of the dualities, without Kulas (Shaktis). People wander in samsara deluded by the stain of Maya, says Matsyendranath. But mental attachments, devas and devis, mental attachments and so forth are nothing to do with liberation. The state of liberation is devoid of divisions, attachments, tattvas, different spheres of activity and any other mental state.

Chapter two talks of this Jnana further, which, the text starts by saying, is free of the Sun and the Moon, and the five elements. It pervades all these, just as ghee is present in latent form in milk. It is also free of the three gunas, of manas and the other mental conditions, and is devoid of both thinking and non-thinking, the highest of the high, and is free from the elements, the sense impressions (indriyas), buddhi, ahamkara or manas. Compared to this motionless, timeless state, concepts such as dharana, dhyana, the sun, moon and fire, as well as the elements, Brahma and the other devas resemble false imaginings.

The tantrik is often enjoined to do his or her puja at a place where is a single Shiva lingam, a cremation ground, the junction of two rivers, a barren place, at the root of a tree, at a crossroads, next to a great ocean, or at the junction of three paths. She or he is to be naked, with dishevelled hair, intoxicated by liquor.

Chapter three Jnana Karika gives an internal explanation of these symbols. The lingam, according to this text, is an internal one, and not one made from stone, silver or gold. (See our translation of the Kaulajnananirnaya for more on this inner lingam).

Siddha Matsyendranath is further made to say that the cremation ground is the union of inspiration and expiration. The prana or vital breath moves through the body, and is the basis of the bioenergetic web. The movement of prana above is the Ganges, while that below is the Yamuna. The junction of the two rivers is the union of inspiration and expiration.

The text, referring to desolate places for sadhana, says that the true essence of prana is voidness. The tree is the human body, the root of the tree is therefore the central point of the upper and lower streams, each of which branches out into other nadis or conduits of bioenergy. The crossroads means the central point of orientation, beyond the four elements, represented by the Shaktis Jaya, Vijaya, Ajita and Aparajita. These four elements are within the body.

When a sadhaka is told to go to the edge of a great ocean, this text says the meaning of this is the bindu, or point into which all the lesser nadis flow. This ocean has a coast or boundary which separates Sun from Moon.

The three paths are the three gunas of Sattvas, Rajas and Tamas. The sadhaka is to be naked, this being the sumbolism of a simple and free soul. Dishevelled hair shows freedom from dharma and adharma. Intoxication with wine means being full of the bliss of the nectar of yoga.

A translation of this text is near completion, and will be added to this page when done.

prathamaH paTalaH
OM namaH shivAya . siddhebhyo puruShebhyo namaH . shriisha~Nkarapaadebhyo namaH . apratihatatattvebhyo namaH.
athaataH sa.mpravaxyAmi GYAnasarvva.m subhaaShitam.h .
kaarikaa shriiGYAnAkhyAta.m visarjja GYAnakArikAm.h .. 1..
kArikAnAma ViGYAna.m shruuyante cha##...##vala .
sAmprata.m kathayiShyAmi yoginA.m yuktakAraNam.h .. 2..
muktimArgii cha sarvvato sarvvendriyavivarjitAH .
pa~nchapa~nchavinirmukto##... ...## varjjitam.h .. 3..
ete surAsta,n GYAna.m mukti##...## vAn.h yathaasthitaH .
sarvvyadhivinirmukta.m yachcha indriyagocharam.h .. 4..
dvaadashAnta.m tathA##... ... ...## shAnta.m tathaiva cha .
dvAdashAnta.m kalAshata.m varNAxaravivarjjitam.h .. 5..
sarvvaGYa~ncha sadA shAnta.m sarvvAshravivarjjitam.h .
brahmA viShNustathA rudra IshvaraH shiva eva cha .. 6..
muurttirUpa.m sthita.m heturanuttara.m yathAsthitaH .
rUpakAyaH sadAtIta.m mantratantrAvavarjjitam.h .. 7..
AtmAparavinirmukta.m paxAtIta.m shrayam.h .
## * * * * ## laXaNA .. 8..
sarvvadvabdvavinirmukta.m nishchitantu nirAkulam.h .
sAkulatva.m yadA chitta.m viShayAsaktachetasAm.h .. 9..
tadA bhramanti sa.msAra.m mAyAmalavimohitAH .
etad.hdvandvasamAkhyAta.m sa.msArasya tu nirNayam.h .. 10..
sAmprata.m kathayiShyAmi muktistadastu durllabham.h .
yena viGYAnamAtreNa muktirbhavati yoginAm.h .. 11..
sarvasa.msArarahita muktishchaiva nirAkulam.h .
nishchita.m nishchala.m sAmya.m nirdvandva.m cha nirAkulam.h ..
12.. bhaven.h moxo narANA~ncha dvandvabhAvavivarjjitam.h .
nischitta.m chittarahita.m kArikAGYAnamuttamam.h .. 13..
etadbheda.m mayAkhyAta.m moxasyaiva tu nirNayam.h .
sarvvAshriyavinirmukta.m chittAschaiva nirAshrayam.h .. 14..
chittAshraya.m bhaveddharmma.m nirAshraya.m moxada.m smR^itam.h .
devo devI tathAnya~ncha dharmmAdharmmAvivarjjitam.h .. 15..
dharmmAdharmmAshraya.m prokta.m sa.msArasya tu bandhanam.h .
Ashraya.m bandhamityukta.m muktishchaiva nirAshrayam.h .. 16..
nirAshraya.m bhavettattvamachintyamuktilaxaNam.h .
viShayAvastha.m yadA chitta.m dvandvamuktivivarjjitam.h .. 17..
tadA bhramati sa.msAra.m yatta.m nishchayatAlayaH .
mano.avasthAvinirmmukta.m yAvatta.m cha~nchalIbhavet.h .
kathanta.m nishchaka.m devi GYAtavya.m GYAnakArike .. 18..
iti GYAnakArikAyA.m moxAdhikAraH prathamaH paTalaH .

dvitIyaH paTalaH
ataH para.m pravaxyAmi GYAna.m trailokyadurlabham.h .
kArikAtattvasadbhAva.m siddhanAthakulodbhavam.h .. 1..
chandrasUryyavinirmukta.m dvAraNAxavivarjjitam.h .
pR^ithivyApasta.m tathA yogI vAyurAkAshameva cha .. 2..
pa~nchabhirAheto deho shrUyate tatvvanAyake .
sarvveShA.m vyApakaH shAnta vyAptI tasya na vidyate .. 3..
vyApakatve sthitaH sAxAdyathA xIreShu sarpiShaH .
kathita.m tattvabhirvastu GYAnaratna.m sudurlabham.h .. 4..
AtmAparavinirmukta.m chitta.m chaiva nirAshrayam.h .
chittAshraya.m bhaved.hdvandva.m nirAshraya~nchamauShadam.h ##?## .. 5..
manastu vidha.m prokta.m rAjasantAmasantathA .
sAttvikantu tR^itIya~ncha tribhirdharmmeNa laxaNam.h .. 6..
tAmasa.m cha~nchala.m xudra.m rAjasa~NgatirAgatiH .
sAttvika.m tR^itIya.m GYeya.m dharmmayukta.m sadA sthitam.h .. 7..
chaturthantu manashcaiva kathayAmi visheShataH .
guNatrayavinirmmukta.m sadA nirvvANalaxaNam.h .. 8..
uttmottamachaturthantu yena sa.mshuddhachetasA .
sarvvAgnivinayAtItamindriyAtItamavyayam.h .. 9..
anAbhyAsa.m sadA tattva.m sarvvachintAvivarjjitam.h .
chittAbhAvavinirmukta.m nimitta.m tattvalaukikam.h .. 10..
abhAva.m bhAvanAtIta.m chittAchittavivarjjitam.h .
chittAdyachintita.m GYAnamavAchyaGYAnanirNayam.h .. 11..
yathaiva sadAyuktAH tAvachchitta.m sucha~nchalam.h .
cha~nchala.m bhAvamityuktamachala.m muktilaxaNam.h .. 12..
chittAyukta.m yadA chitta.m tadAsauh cha~nchala.m smR^itam.h .
chittAtIta.m yadA chitta.m nishchitamachala.m bhavet.h .. 13..
sarvvachintAvinirmuktamabhAve nishchala.m bhavet.h .
na yogAdhyAtachittastu na cha laxaNasAdhakam.h .. 14..
na nirodho bhavet.h tatra na kAyashuunyameva cha .
na bahirantamantastha.m chAnta AdimadhyagaH .. 15..
na tejo vAyurAkAsha.m pR^ithivyA ApabhAvanA .
na bhuddhirna chAha.mkAro na mana indriyo na cha .. 16..
na chittAchittakastattva.m chitAtIta.m sthita.m sadA .
na chintA yastu viGYeyA GYAtavya kAlashAsanaH .. 17..
yo so nischintasarvvaGYaH samAdhiparameshvaraH .
GYAtavya.m moxasadbhAva.m guptabhedaprakAshitam.h .. 18..
sa.msArArNavanirmmukta.m kalpanAtItagocharam.h .
nirvikalpa.m sadA GYAna.m kathita.m GYAnakArikam.h .. 19..
chetanAchetanA chaiva kalpanA bhAvanAstathA .
dhAraNAdharavinyAsachandrasUryyAgnimaNDale .. 20..
vAyurAkAshastathA sR^ityAH brahmA rudrAdidevatAH .
sarvve te kalpanA prokta.m nirvikalpastathAnyathA .. 21..
kalpanAGYAnayuktAstu bhramanti ghaTayantravat.h .
paripUrNa.m katha.m teShA.m siddhakramavivarjjitam.h .. 22..
patanti xipra.m sa.msAre chittaGYAnena ra~njitaH .
na yAnti cheha sa.msAre ye sthitA uttama.m padam.h .. 23..
narake gamanantasya na svarge gamanantathA .
pAshadvayavinirUpastu dharmmAdharmmanibandhane .. 24..
GYAnakhaDgena ChitvA pAshadvayanibandhanam.h .
andhapAsha.m yadA chitta.m kuto gachChanti yoginaH .. 25..
dharmmAdharmmadvayaH pAsho patantyut.h patanti cha .
tena pAshena baddhastu bhu~njate karmmasa~nchayam.h .. 26..
dharmmeNa bhu~njate svargamadharmma.m narakAdiShu .
dharmmAdharmma.m tu dvau yo.asau trailokyasya nibandhanam.h .. 27..
dharmmAdharmma.m yadA tyakta.m xipra.m mu~nchanti mAnavAH .
dharmmA chaiva adharmmA dvau dvividha.m parikIrttitam.h .. 28..
savAhyabhyantarchetaH dharmmAdharmmapratiShThitam.h .
adhyAtmajAtasadbhAva.m yoginAmeva sa.msthitaH .. 29..
laukikAsthalakarmma~nchAdhyAtmakasyeda.m sUxmam.h .
AdhyAtmike chaiva dharmmAdharmmasthitiH sadA .. 30..
UrddhvachAro bhaveddharmmo.advayasyo.adharmmalaxaNam.h .
dharmmAdharmmaxaye xINe muchyate sarvvairdhanaiH ##?## .. 31..
dharmmAdharmmadvaya.m GYAtvA punarGYAnamavApnuyAt.h .
dharmmAdharmmavichAro.aya.m kathita.m GYAnakArikaiH .. 32..
iti GYAnaKArikAyA.m dharmmAdharmmavichAro nAma dvitIyaH paTalaH ..

tR^itIyaH paTalaH
atha caryyAn.h pravaxyAmi yoginAmupajAyate .
sa chetAGYAna na sarvvaH chaitanya.m GYAnavarjjitam.h .. 1..
chetAchetasamAyukta.m GYAnatva.m samprakIrttitam.h
bhuktitattva.m yadA cheta.m sa chettammuktilaxaNam.h .. 2..
chetAchetasamAyukta.m chaitanya.m shAshvata.m padam.h .
yoginA.m yogachintitamAryyasa.mGYAnavarjjitam.h .. 3..
yo mArgavinirmukta.m yoginA.m muktilaxaNam.h .
ekali~Nge shmashAne vA nadInA.m sa~NgameShu cha .. 4..
shUnyAgAre guhAvAse vR^ixamUle tu chatvare .
mahodadhitaTe chaiva tripathe vApi sAdhakaH .. 5..
nagnAste muktakeshAstu madirAnandachetasaH .
mAlAnirmmAlitA yogI ekAkI bhramate sadA .. 6..
li~Ngantu kathayiShyAmi yalli~Nga.m kaulika.m smR^itam.h .
lauapUjAShTaka.m yatta.m li~Ngantu sa charAcharam.h .. 7..
laya vai yAni sarvveShA.m tena li~Nga.m mudA kR^itam.h .
etat.h kaulika.m yalli~Nga.m na shailahemaraupyajam.h .. 8..
kathita.m dehaja.m li~Nga.m ekantu na dvitIyakam.h .
ekali~Nga.m samAkhyAta.m shmashAna.m kathayAmi te .. 9..
shobhate cha yadA dehaH sarvveShA.m ekadehinAm.h .
nisvAsasvAsasa.myukta.m shmashAna.m parikIrttitam.h .. 10..
adhorddha.m prANasa~nchAraH vahate chaiva nityashaH .
urddhvachAre bhaved.h ga~NgA yastA ##?## chAdho vyavasthitaH .. 11..
dvAbhyA.m melApaka.m yatra sa na metat.h ##?## prakIrttitA .
asharIra.m yadA tattva.m svadehe sA sthitA yadi .. 12..
shUnya.m nira~njana.m GYAtvA muchyate nAtra sa.mshayaH .
guhya.m tu kathayiShyAmi guhye sacharAcharam.h .. 13..
guhya.m sharIramityukta.m vAsita.m GYAnarAshinA .
guhyAvAsa.m sthito yogI charyyA tasya na uchyate .. 14..
vaasastu kathita.m divya.m vR^ixamUla.m shR^iNu tathA .
vR^ixaH sharIramityukta.m pAdAdikarashAkhayoH .. 15..
urddhvamUla.m bhavedvaktra.m mUlave ##?## vR^ixadhArakam.h .
vR^ixamUla.m tato GYAtvA bAhyavR^ixasya varjjitam.h .. 16..
vR^ixamUla.m samAkhyAta.m chatvAraH shR^iNu sAmpratam.h
jayA cha vijayA chaiva ajitA chAparAjitA .. 17..
chatuHshaktisamopeta.m chatvAra.m mAtrakodbhavam.h .
chatvAra.m kathita.m divya.m mahodadhitaTaH shR^iNu .. 18..
bindusta~ncha parAshaktiH taTastha chArurUpiNI .
binduchArusthitA nitya.m taTastha.m bindumaNDalam.h .. 19..
taTastha~ncha sthitA yogI taTa.m chaiva prakIrtitam.h .
chandra.m tyaktvA yadA yAti AdhAra.m sUryyamaNDalam.h .. 20..
sUryya.m tyaktvA yadA yAti vyomA.astu chandramaNDale .
gaganamAsthito ##?## nitya.m velA iva mahodadheH .. 21..
etadvelA samAkhyAtam.h adhyAtmaiva pratiShThitam.h .
nAsthira.m bhavati shvAsa.m bahistha.m manara~njitam.h .. 22..
athira.m srvayoginA.m pravAha.m vahate sadA .
pravAha.m gamana~nchaiva gamanAgamana.m punaH .. 23..
gamanAgamanasa.myukto velA.asmin.h yathA sthitam.h .
gamAgama yathA velA nAsti ra~njita kashchit.h ##?## .. 24..
gaganopama.m sthita.m jagat.h bhAvannishchalatA.m vrajet.h ##?## .
mahodadhitaTe sthitvA udadhi kathita.m tataH .. 25..
nishchala.m paripUrNatva.m mahodadhi smR^itam.h ##...## .
yoginA.m charyyasadbhAva.m kathita.m tattva.m visheShataH .. 26..
mahodadhi samAkhyAta.m tripa~nchaka.m kathayAmyaham.h .
sattvarajastamashcaiva ekatve tu yathA sthitam.h .. 27..
tripatha.m tu vinirmukta.m shAstrato GYAnakArikA .
tripatha.m tu samAkhyAta.m nagnantu kathayAmi te .. 28..
avidyA ##...## patyat.hkAla ##?## nagnaka.m cha sAdhakeshvaram.h .
nagnastu kathitAn.h devAn.h muktakeshantataH shR^iNu .. 29..
keshastu pAshamityukta.m muktimArgaprabandhakam.h .
dharmastu naikena pAshashchaiva visheShataH .. 30..
ShaDbhirmukto yadA yogI muktakeshaH sa uchyate .
muktakeshaH samAkhyaata Ananda.m shR^iNu sAmpratam.h .. 31..
yogapAragato yogI mahApAravivarjjitaH .
pAnayogAmR^ita.m divya.m yoginA.m samprakIrttitam.h .. 32..
ebhiryukto mahAyogI madirAmatta uchyate .
madirAnandamAkhyAta.m nairmAlyamAlino ##?## shR^iNu .. 33..
varNa.m chaivAsti mAlAgna.m sa.msthito shaktisUtrake .
mAlA chaivasmAkhyAtA yoginA.m chAnyakAraNam.h ..
nairmAlyamAlino yogI yogacharyA.m karoti saH .. 34..
ekAkImatithiryastu bhramate pravadet.h sadA .
asa.mhAyo bhramate dhIraH sa ekAkInamuchyate .. 35..
ekAkI tu samAkhyAtA shAstra.m milakArikA ##?## .
etachcharyA samAkhyAtA visha cha GYAnadhAraka ##?## .. 36..
iti GYAnakArimahAmaChindranAthapAdAvatAritenokta.m charyAdhikArastu tR^itIyaH paTalaH ..

Artwork is © Jan Bailey, 1996-2006. Translations are © Mike Magee 1996-2006. Questions or comments to

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