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The 16000 verses of Gārgyāyana´s Praṇavavāda were unknown until they -- or some text under this title -- were dictated to Bhagavan Das by a young Paṇdit called Dhanarāja, which resulted in Bhagavan Das’ three volume work “The Science of the Sacred Word”. Later the same text, most probably on the basis of Bhagavan Das' notes, was published in the “Suddha Dharma Mandala” series. In his time, Paṇdit Dhanarāja has given some indications on the whereabouts of a number of unknown manuscripts, among which are several copies of the Praṇavavāda. In the following notes these indications have been traced to modern-day locations, all in the North of India. Anyone who is able give more information on the names and locations mentioned is cordially invited to respond, see the contact page.

Bibliographical Entries

  • Das, Bhagavan, “The science of the sacred word: being a summarised translation of the Pranava-vada of Gargyayana”, Vols. I-III, Theosophical Publishing Society, London and Benares, 1910-1911
  • Nivasachiar, K.T. Sree, and Josyer, G. Ramanuja , “Gārgyāyana, Pranava Vada and Pranava Vadartha Deepika of Yogānanda”, Suddha Dharma Mandala, Madras, 1915 (Vol. 1) and 1919 (Vol. 2)

External Links

Notes from "The science of the sacred word", Bhagavan Das, Vol. I, preface

[Paraphrased, except for text between quotes. Original spelling is used in paraphrases and quotations.]

p. vii

Extracts from Das’ letters to his brother were published by him in the Prashnottara of March, April and May 1897. (This magazine was later called Indian Theosophist.) Portion of these were published in Lucifer of May 1897. They contain his impressions of Paṇdit Dhanarāja.

p. xviii

Old and valuable Mss exist in the country beyond the “Sharayū”, forming the districts of Gorakhpur and Bastī.

p. xxiv

Dhanarāja on how he came to find the Nāradīya-Bhāṣhya: “Our family are residents of the village of Belhar Kalāñ in Tahsīl Khalīlābād of the Bastī District (in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, India). My grandfather was a very learned Paṇdit. [...] He kept up a private pāthashālā (school). [...]”

p. xxxi

Bhagavan Das has taken down 16000 couplets. [Pranavavada seems to consist of 16000 verses (see above), so he should have recorded the whole text.]

p. xl

In the list of inextant Saṃskṛt works, the names and addresses of possessors of the Mss are mentioned:

Ms 46. A Pranava-vāda Ms was owned by Paṇdit Jagadīsha of the village of Nautanvā Bazār in Nepal, or District Gorakhpur, twelve or fifteen miles from the boundary of Tahsīl Bānsi, District Bastī. (this was the Ms dictated to Bhagavān Dās)

p. xlvi

Ms 60. Another Pranava-vāda Ms was owned by Paṇdit Mannu Deva, son of Paṇdit Parameshvara Datta, of the village of Hardoi, Nepal, on the boundary between Nepal and Tahsil Mahārājganj of District Gorakhpur.

p. xlvii

Ms 68. A third Pranava-vāda Ms was owned by Paṇdit Girija Datta of the village Barauli, Tahsil Barhal, District Gorakhpur.

[Between 1902 and 1947, there was an administrative province called "United Provinces of Agra and Oudh", corresponding approximately to present-day Uttar Pradesh and Uttarkhand. It consisted of 9 "divisions" with a total of 48 districts. The districts mentioned here are Bastī and Gorakhpur. The district Gorakhpur then included the present-day Deoria and Maharajganj districts. In rural areas, the districts consisted of blocks or tehsils (here spelled tahsil), which in turn consisted of villages, the gram panchayats.]

p. xliv

Another work of one Gārgyāyana of 4000 śloka measures is mentioned, entitled Yoga-darpaṇa.

Ms 48. It was owned by Paṇdit Rāma-Pratāpa from the village of Sonaurā, P.O. Mendāwal, Tahsil Khalilābād, District Bastī.

Table of Locations Indicated


The Locations Anno 2015



Red balloons: locations most probably intended in the preface
Light red balloons: locations mentioned in the preface, inconclusive
Green disks: cities added for orientation purposes
Other symbols: Google Maps symbols

List of the same


Notes from Pranavavada ed. Sreenivasarchariar, intro to Vol. I.

[Paraphrased, except for text between quotes. Original spelling is used in paraphrases and quotations.]

p. 23

A certain "Ven. Swami Yogananda" had taught some 30 years ago Pranavavada to certain of his pupils.

He refers to Gārgyāyana’s three other works

  • Lokadarpana
  • Pranavabodha
  • Pranavasāra

He (Yogananda) has prepared a karika (included in this publication as Pranava Vadartha Deepika) on difficult parts of Pranavavada.

p. 49

Gargyayana: “Pranavavada comprises 16000 verses [...] What I was capable of getting up from Pranavārnava, and what else I could acquire by actual experience as to the principles of philosophy, I have tried to embody here.”

p. 60

Swami Yogananda: “Our own acquaintance with the work began thirty years ago.”

[This intro has been published in 1915. Swami Yogananda is apparently speaking of the year 1885, or some time around that year. The first volume of Bhagavan Das’ English version was published in 1910.]