Yoga Makaranda | The Nectar of Yoga

Yoga Makaranda was T Krishnamacharya's first book on the topic of Yoga. Published originally in Kannada language in 1934, this book was one of the few available at the time. It is also one of the first publications ever to present the practice of Āsana-s in a sequential manner or Vinyāsa-krama, a method unknown at the time to the general public. 

It is highly possible that the renowned master named his book, probably because of inspiration from a verse in the Hathayogapradipika (HYP).

मकरन्दं पिबन् भृंगो गन्दं नापेक्षते यथा | नादासक्ता तथा चित्तं विषयान् नहि कांक्षते ||

makarandam piban bhrngo gandham napeksate yatha | nadasakta tatha cittam visayan nahi kanksate ||

Just like the bee tasting honey, is not interested in the fragrance [of the flower], so too the mind thats is absorbed in Nāda, does not crave for objects [to please the senses].

HYP  IV.90

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The word Makaranda means Nectar of the flower, which is honey. The Yogis believed that the honey was the most refined part of the plant, and contained its best essence. This is exactly the metaphor with which the HYP is uses the term. According to its teaching, the practice of Nadanusandhanam is considered the most refined tool of Hathayoga. This is why the author says that while a Yogi's mind is intoxicated with the nectar of the Nada, he is oblivious to other distractions such as sensual objects.

Krishnamacharya probably uses the term in the same manner, as he presents the essential teachings of Yoga philosophy through this publication. Yoga Makaranda, literally translated could mean 'The best essence of Yoga' or 'The Nectar of Yoga'.  

The book was first published in Kannada language, in the year 1938, at the behest by the then Mysore Maharaja, His Holiness Sri Krishnarajendra Wadiyar IV Bahadur. The book received great interest and there are documents to show that it was recommended to all school libraries at the time. Owing to its popularity it was later translated into Tamil four years later in 1938. However, it was not until many decades had passed that an English translation was published in 2011, translated by his own son and primary pupil TKV Desikachar. Further, in the year 2012, it was also translated into French language.

Both English and French versions of the publication are currently available and can be purchased through the publishers directly. You can contact them by emailing info@mediagaruda.com or visiting this link.  

First official Invoice of the publication Yoga Makaranda. Circa 1935

There are a great many documents associated with the Yoga Makaranda, that are carefully stored and archived by the family. Here we share an interesting document, which is the first official quote that the palace received for printing 500 copies. It seems that though the book was printed in 1934, the invoice was raised only in the year 1935, but pencil marks and also the invoice reference number 393-34 indicate that it belongs to the accounting of the year 1934. You can click on the image to expand it into a larger size.

It is easy to deduce that average cost of each copy was about Rs. 2.00. The book was sold at this same price to the general public. A pretty pricey book, considering the salaries of people at the time. Documentation exists to prove that Krishnamacharya's own salary at this time was only Rs. 60.00 per month. Which is a mere 30 times the cost of his book. 

This website is named in honor of Krishnamacharya's first book.