Bahr-ul-Hayat is a Persian rendering of the Amrtakunda, a Sanskrit text on yoga. After the establishment of Muslim rule in Bengal, Bhojar Brahman, a yogi (ascetic) of kamarupa came to lakhnauti, the capital of sultani Bengal, to get acquainted with the city and the Muslim learned people residing there. Ruknuddin Samarqandi was then the qazi of Lakhnauti under Sultan ali mardan khalji. Bhojar Brahman held discussions with the qazi and wanted to know about the Prophet (sm) of Islam and his teachings. Being influenced by the qazi, the yogi embraced Islam and studied Islamic sciences to such an extent that he was authorised to pronounce legal decisions. The yogi then presented the Amrtakunda to the qazi who admired it and practised the science of yoga so much so that he reached the stage of perfection.
The qazi rendered the Sanskrit book Amrtakunda first into Persian, and then from Persian into Arabic. The Persian version was named Bahr-ul-Hayat, and the Arabic version was entitled Hauz-ul-Hayat. Both the versions are now available in print. It is a small book containing 10 chapters and 50 verses. It deals with the yogic philosophy with its practical application to human beings. Ways and means of yoga have been suggested and yogic asanas '(posture) are described in this book. Bahr-ul-Hayat is a glaring example of Hindu-Muslim cultural interaction. [Abdul Karim]