[INDOLOGY] śrama : abhyāsa

patrick mccartney psdmccartney at gmail.com
Wed Sep 2 04:06:36 UTC 2020

Dear Friends,

Beyond the ideas of dramaturgy, grammar, poetry, Ayurveda, military
practice, etc. pertaining to the meanings of śrama and abhyāsa, I'm looking
for some insight into how they might be similar or different within the
specific context of the Mallapurāṇa's list of 16 śramas, which includes the
term abhyāsa. Typically, it seems to replace śrama.

For instance, here are 2 examples of "śramas" from the list:
sthāpita-śrama and śvāsapreraṇikā-abhyāsa.

Are śrama and abhyāsa interchangeable?

Here is the list:

Sandhesara 1948: 37

raṁga śrama
staṁbha śrama
abhramaṇikā śrama
 śvāsapreraṇikā abhyāsa
sthāpita śrama
 ūhāpoha śrama
 pramadā śrama
āmardakī śrama
 kuṁḍakarṣaṇakā abhyāsa
 anyakṛtkarā śrama
 jala śrama

The following verse sort of helps explain that it is from practice
(abhyāsataḥ) of the 16 śramas of mallavidyā how one can become victorious
in multiple worlds.

*śramoyaṃ* mallavidyāyāḥ kathitaḥ ṣoḍaśātmakaḥ
yasya *cābhyāsato* loke trailokyavijayī bhavet || 10.1 ||

But, I'm still left scratching my chin, wondering if I'm overcooking it.
Looking at the list of *śramas*, particularly at their groupings-- at a
*śloka* and theme/exercise level-- one wonders why various *śrama*-s are
grouped accordingly. Is it for the meter, thematically, arbitrarily, or
something else? It is not the ordinal sequence because they are each ranked
according to be śreṣṭha, etc and also intensity, alpa, ardha, pūrṇa, ati.

Or, is there possibly a high order of śrama that groups the lower order
together? There is a pattern, or so it seems, to the verses outlining the
16 exercises. I'm wondering if I'm reading too much into this. Here is a
sort of logical formula I propose to help understand how I see these groups.
[NOTE: Ex. = exercise / Pr. = practice]

Ex.1-*śrama*   +     Ex. 2-*śrama*   ->    Pr. 1-*abhyāsa*  =  *Śrama*

*raṅgaśramas stambhaśram*astathā *bhramaṇikāśramaḥ*
śvāsapreraṇikābhyāsas tathāhaṃ (yaṃ) sthāpitaśramaḥ

[image: Screen Shot 2020-09-02 at 12.00.57.png]
Therefore, the Sthāpita Śrama group includes: grappling, pole climbing, and
walking and focuses on cardio/endurance.

I'm really not sure about this but got to thinking about it and need some

All the best,

パトリック マッカートニー
Patrick McCartney, PhD
Research Affiliate - Organization for Identity and Cultural Development
(OICD), Kyoto
Research Associate - Nanzan University Anthropological Institute, Nagoya,
Visiting Fellow - South and South-east Asian Studies Department, Australian
National University
Member - South Asia Research Institute (SARI), Australian National

Skype / Zoom - psdmccartney
Phone + Whatsapp + Line:  +61410644259
Twitter - @psdmccartney @yogascapesinjap
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*bodhapūrvam calema* ;-)


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