Following up from a previous post, I got this:
(Click to load the fancier Twitter display for the above tweets—makes a request to Twitter—if you want it for some reason.)
I should really not make a habit of going on random chases like this, but it was fun. Documenting steps taken.
Zooming in didn’t give anything readable, so next step is to find more from where the image came from.
I’ve observed that most people seem not to provide attribution for everything they cite / images they include. Here at least “ANI” was included, so I searched Google Images for something like [ANI yogi], then filtered to recent results.
Among results was a video on this page.
It loads fine on phone, and there appear to be parts of the video in which the book title may be more in focus, but obviously a bigger screen would be nice to attempt getting something useful.
Getting the video to load on non-mobile screen was surprisingly hard: it appears that the video is loaded with Flash and my Chrome browser blocks Adobe Flash player (there’s probably an option somewhere to enable it); in Firefox there’s no hint at all that the page has a video, and Safari says “Missing Plugin” and gives a link to install Flash player, but after installing it doesn’t work anyway.
Then I realized that the video was loading fine on phone (and in hindsight, phone browsers probably don’t have Flash player plugin anyway), so opened Developer Tools and asked for the mobile view and reloaded the page. This time it loaded and there was even an easy way to download the video.
After downloading the video and watching it, pausing it at just the right moment was nontrivial (or at least, unclear whether there may be something better), so looked up how to extract frames:
ffmpeg -i yogi.mp4 'frame-%04d.bmp'
This produced some 9.7 GiB of frames out of the 59 MiB video.
After squinting at some likely frames (e.g. frame 1271 of 1657), could make out a few letters. Here’s one such frame:
After searching for a couple options (श्रीशिवधर्ममहाभाष्यम्?) in both Devanagari and likely transliterations, searching for the correct श्रीशिवधर्ममहाशास्त्रम् gave the likely book immediately, thanks to the magic of Google’s OCR and whatever it’s indexing:
The image is from this page, and here’s the image:
Not only the book title but the cover image seems to match what’s on the table, so we can be fairly sure.
The book is titled:
Sloppy/loose ad-hoc transliteration:
Per the page, it appears that the book is published by the Mukti-Gupteshwar Mandir in Minto (a suburb of Sydney) in New South Wales, Australia.
The temple’s website seems offline at the moment, but says it has the “13th jyotirlinga” (there are 12 in India), and its page about this book is on the Internet Archive’s Wayback machine:
This Mahashashtra is compiled from a very ancient manuscript written in Bhojpatra. The entire Maha Shashtra contains 7996 Shlokas (hymns). The Holy Book is contains seven sections.
The page goes into quite a bit of details of the book’s contents. I do not know enough to put it in context, but it is conceivable that the person in the picture, Yogi Adityanath, would be interested in looking at the book. He incidentally happens to be the current chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, which is why there is a news item about him, but primarily he is a member and (current head) of the गोरखनाथ मठ, a nātha yogi / from the nātha sampradāya.
Current versions of some relevant Wikipedia articles:
Hopefully someone who knows more about Shaivism can put things in context better.
Update: Thanks to āṅgīrasaśreṣṭha/@GhorAngirasa on Twitter, some more information/context:
The śivadharma is one of the earliest śaiva dharma-śāstra works, “one of the earliest efforts of a predominantly ascetic-centered śaivam to adapt to the needs of a gṛhastha laity by emphasizing good conduct, charity, etc.”
This śivadharma exists in many recensions. It is mainly associated with the saiddhāntika school(?).
The Pāśupata is another(?) śaiva tradition (sampradāya). “The nāthas are a direct derivative of the pāśupata sampradāya.”
According to the book’s publisher (the Mukti Gupteshwar Mandir in Minto), the book is based on “a very ancient manuscript written in Bhojpatra” that “was handed over to the Mandir by the Nepal’s Rajguru, Yogi Narharinath.”
This Mahashashtra is compiled from a very ancient manuscript written in Bhojpatra. The entire Maha Shashtra contains 7996 Shlokas (hymns).
This Yogi Naraharinath, residing near Nepal’s famous Pashupatinath Temple, was a great Nepalese scholar associated with the Pāśupata tradition, and more specifically the Nātha sampradāya, and even more specifically the Gorakhnath tradition.
The book’s title also says paśupatimatānusāra-muktigupteśvara-śrīśivadharmamahāśāstram, so it’s the Śrīśivadharma according to the Paśupati tradition.
It is not clear how important this manuscript was to Yogi Naraharinath, but it must have been very important to the Mukti Gupteshwar temple in Minto, Australia. A page on the temple’s website says:
The 13th Jyothirlinga was a gift to the Australian people in 1999 by the late Majesty Maharajadhiraja Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, King of Nepal. Accompanying the icon were 7996 hyms arranged in 8 volumes. These hyms were composed specifically for this icon by the Chief Priest of the King of Nepal.
… which presumably refers to the same work, given the same count, but is probably mistaken, though. (Though it’s not inconceivable that someone like Yogi Naraharinath could have composed it himself, the mention of ancient manuscript on birch bark suggests otherwise.) Anyway, the temple commissioned publication of this work (seems to have been published in 2008 and 2012; Yogi Naraharinath passed away in 2003):
It then took over six years to translate it in Hindi by learned Sanskrit scholars from Sampoornanand University, Varanasi and Lucknow University. The contents of the Mahashashtra lead us to the higher path of our lives and that is why Mandir took the decision to publish it for the betterment of human life. This book describes dharma, charity, righteousness, fasting, pilgrimage, reading of holy books etc. It describes in detail how a person can achieve peace, contentment and salvation in this material world.
So overall, given the book’s connection to the Pāśupata/Nātha/Gorakhnath tradition, it is not surprising that the book would be found on the table of the head of the Gorakhnath Math.