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 Group.

raṅgaśramas stambhaśramastathā bhramaṇikāśramaḥ
śvāsapreraṇikābhyāsas tathāhaṃ (yaṃ) sthāpitaśramaḥ

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 feedback.

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, Japan
Visiting Fellow - South and South-east Asian Studies Department, Australian National University
Member - South Asia Research Institute (SARI), Australian National University

Skype / Zoom - psdmccartney
Phone + Whatsapp + Line:  +61410644259
Twitter - @psdmccartney @yogascapesinjap

bodhapūrvam calema ;-)