HATHA PRADIPIKA , A REAL TEXT OF HATHA YOGA
16 Jan 2021 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy
HATHA PRADIPIKA , A REAL TEXT OF HATHA YOGA
The Hatha Pradipika is a medieval scripture written in 1350 around. The Nath Yogi Swatmarama is the author. The meaning of the title is interesting to consider if one wishes to begin to understand the book’s content. Pradeepika means “light” or “to illuminate”, ‘Ha’ means “sun” or Pingala, ‘tha’ means “moon” or Ida and yoga or yug means to “join” or to Yoke. So the title suggests: light on how to join the sun and the moon, or another way we could say this would be: Generally we say Hatha Pradipika or Hatha Yoga Pradipika, both is correct but literally it is called Hatha Pradipika which is the main text of Hatha Yoga.
The Hatha Pradipika of Svatmarama is a classic Sanskrit manual on Hatha Yoga. Its author, Svami Svatmarama, was a disciple of Svami Gorakhnath. It is said to be the oldest surviving text on hatha yoga, and is one of the three classic texts of hatha yoga. The other major three texts are the Gherand(a) Samhita and the Shiva Samhita & Gorakshaa Samhita. The text was written in the thirteenth to sixteen century AD, and is derived from older Sanskrit texts and Svatamarama’s own experiences. The book consists of five chapters about postures (asanas), breathing methods (pranayama), subtle centres (chakras), a hidden spinal energy (kundalini), bandhas, kriyas, shakti, vessels (nadis) and mudras among other topics and finally talking about the Yoga therapy as well.
When viewed from this perspective, hatha yoga is a tantric practice as it attempts to bring about a harmony between the two energies of life: the pranic and the mental. This pair can also be described as the shakti, or female, cool current which travels through the ida nadi, and the mind, or male, hot current which travels through the pingala nadi. When their union takes place in the central channel (sushumna nadi) it is the union of body and mind, and this is the awakening of higher consciousness.
Hatha Yoga is anything but easy. It is certainly not for the faint of heart or those lacking will power. Hatha Yoga is the yoga that is attained through forceful means with difficult physical kriyas and cleansing, purifying actions as a beginning practice. In past eras it has been defined as the yoga system, which ties the practitioner to a stake until he/she is well cooked. Its practice demands complete mastery of the physical and mental body, rendering the body and mind capable of withstanding prolonged ecstatic states of union with the infinite. Samadhi, or the enlightened state, is not just a mental experience; it is a psychokinetic or whole-body/mind event, involving every fiber, cell and tissue.
Most editions contain four or five chapters only, though it was known that the original The Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika—or more precisely the Hatha-Pradîpikâ contained ten chapters.
The ten chapters of the The Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika—or more precisely the Hatha-Pradeepika cover the following topics:
Chapter 1 (59 stanzas): the elemental body ( bhoota-atmaka-shareera), six-limbed Yoga, moderate eating, the moral disciplines ( yama), and the practices of self-restraint ( niyama).
Chapter 2 (39 stanzas): fifteen postures
Chapter 3 (25 stanzas): the six purificatory acts (shat-karma)
Chapter 4 (70 stanzas): the eight types of breath control ( kumbhaka)
Chapter 5 (188 stanzas): the locks ( bandha) and seals ( mudraa)-ten in all
Chapter 6 (42 stanzas): sensory inhibition, concentration, and meditation
Chapter 7 (67 stanzas): Raja-Yoga, khechari-mudraa, and the ecstatic process ( samaadhi-krama)
Chapter 8 (51 stanzas): cultivation of the inner sound ( naada-anusandhaana)
Chapter 9 (42 stanzas): omens (arishta) of imminent death
Chapter 10 (43 stanzas): the sacred syllable om, conscious dying
5 Chapters Compose
The text is composed of five chapters. The first chapter deals with Asana; Chapter Two with Shatkarma and Pranayama; Chapter Three: mudra and bandha; Chapter Four: Dhyana & Samadhi and Chapter 5: Yoga Chikitsa.
Chapter 1: Asana
There are guidelines for sadhana as well as how to perform various asanas and suggestions for food restrictions that may aid in the practice of meditation. Overeating, exertion, talkativeness, adhering to rules, being in the company of common people, and unsteadiness of mind are the six causes that destroy yoga. Enthusiasm, perseverance, discrimination, unshakable faith, courage, avoiding the company of common people is the six causes that bring success in yoga. Paschimottanasana is the best among asanas. By this asana, the pranic currents rise through the central energy channel. The digestive fire increases, the abdomen becomes flat, and the practitioner becomes free from diseases.
Chapter 2: Shatkarma and Pranayama
This chapter deals mainly with techniques (the shat (six) karmas) for cleansing the physical body, breathing exercises which purify the pranic body through breath retention (kumbak), and various practices to balance the doshas and release blocked energy.
When the nadis are purified there are external symptoms—success is visible when the body becomes thin and glows. Closing the mouth, inhale with control and concentration through the ida and pingala nadis, so that the breath is felt from the throat to the heart and produces a sonorous sound. When the breath is unsteady, the mind is unsteady. When the breath is steady, the mind is steady, and the yogi becomes steadfast. As long as the breath is retained in the body, as long as the mind is calm, and as long as the sight is in the middle of the brows, where is the fear of death? The perfection of hatha yoga is achieved when there is leanness of the body, tranquil countenance, manifestation of the inner sound, clear eyes, disease-lessness, control of bindu (semen/ova), active digestive fire, and purification of the nadis.
Chapter 3: Mudra and Bandha
This chapter concentrates on the use of mudras (gestures) and bandhas (locks), contrivances for awakening kundalini and directing energy toward enlightenment. Therefore the knower of yoga conquers death by preserving the bindu. Release of the semen/ova means death; conservation of bindu is life. She is verily a yogini who conserves her rajas by contracting and raising it. She knows past, present, and future and becomes fixed in khechari mudra. The bindu and that rajas in one’s own body unite through the union by the practice of vajroli mudra, thus bestowing all perfections or siddhis.The yogi who moves the shakti regularly enjoys perfection or siddhi. She easily conquers time and death. What more is there to say?
Chapter 4: Dhyana & Samadhi
This chapter describes and gives further techniques for the attainment of perfection in the form of hearing. According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Dhyana & Samadhi come when there is development of a sound body and a sound mind; the yogi’s attainment of perfection is in the form of the unstruck sound-the nadam. Practically speaking, yoga is attained when one is able to hear God; the absolute as the pranava, the nadam.
Chapter Five: Yogic Therapy
This chapter deals the Yogic Therapy, the zone of tridosha, methods of treatment, and the appreciation of Ayurveda. It mentions about the experiences of Hatha Yoga practice, therapeutic effects of the means of Hatha Yoga, balance of Tridosha, importance of Ayurveda, etc.
In Hatha Yoga Pradipika importance is given to balance the opposite flowing energies by forceful physical postures and kriys. Hatha Yoga teaches us to unite the solar and lunar energy; Pingala and Ida and Shiva and Shakti. Hatha Yoga Makes the strong foundation in body and connects to energy and mind. Four chapters sort of Hatha Yoga, and the rest fifth chapter deals how to use the means of hatha yoga in treatment and how to balnce the three doshas kapha, pitta and vata.