Mystery and Excellence on The Human Body - Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika 

(A few extracts)

The two main and very practical tools used in the discipline of Hatha  Yoga are the Asana and the Pranayama techniques.

The word asana comes from the verb as, "to sit" and can mean "sit ting position", but, more than that, 'refers to any specific body position  described by the founders of Hatha Yoga. In the technique of Asanas,  the body is taught to remain immobile in certain special postures. Why  immobile? Because the usual restlessness of our body is just a sign that  it is unable to hold even a limited amount of energy that enters into it. It  immediately wants to dissipate it. By remaining absolutely still in the  most difficult of prescribed postures, the body is taught to retain the life energy and to regulate it. The first and most apparent consequence of an  increased circulation of force in the body is that it becomes remarkably  healthy, vigorous and youthful, capable of feats of endurance of which  the normal powers of man would be incapable. Patanjali describes the  body of a perfected Yogin as "beautiful, lustrous, strong and having its  parts as firm as the thunderbolt." Its natural tendencies towards decay,  age and death are checked.

In , although he describes only a few asanas,  Yogi Swatmarama speaks of eighty-four postures. So there are a great  number of asanas and some of them are extremely complicated. This  variety calls for a great flexibility of the body but it is also meant to  alter the relation of the physical energy in the body to the earth energy.  Consequently, the body tends to get something of the qualities of the  subtle body. It is freed from its usual inertia and acquires a marvellous  lightness.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Here is how Yogi Swatmarama describes certain asanas and their  effects:


हटस्य पथमांगत्वादासनपूर्वमुच्यते ।।
कुर्यात्तदासनं स्थैर्यमारोग्यं चांगलाघवम् ।।

Being the first accessory of Hatha Yoga, asana is described  first. It should be practised for gaining steady posture,  health and lightness of body.

वसिष्ठाद्यैः च मुनिभिर्मत्स्येंदाद्यैश्च योगिभिः ।
अंगीकृतान्यासनानि कथ्यन्ते कानिचिन्मया ।।

I am going to describe certain asanas which have been  adopted by Munis like Vasistha, etc., and Yogis like  Matsyendra, etc.


जानूर्वोरन्तरे सम्यक्त्वा पादतले उभे ।
ऋजुकायः समासीनः स्वस्तिकं तत्प्रचक्षते ।।

Having kept both the hands under both the thighs, with the  body straight, when one sits calmly in this posture, it is  called Swastika.


सव्ये दक्षिणगुल्फं तु पृष्ठपार्श्वे नियोजयेत् ।
दक्षिणेऽपि तथा सव्यं गोमुखं गोमुखाकृतिः ।।

Placing the right ankle on the left side and the left ankle on the right  side, makes Gomukha-asana, having the appearance of a cow.

Dhanura asana

पादांगुष्ठौ तु पाणिभ्यां गृहीत्वा श्रवणावधि ।
धनुराकर्षणं कुर्याद्धनुरासनमुच्यते ।।

Having caught the toes of the feet with both the hands and

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Urdhva dhanura asana


Practice of Hatha Yoga in Auroville

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

carried them to the ears by drawing the body like a bow, it  becomes Dhanura asana.

Paschima Tana

पसार्य पादी भुवि दंडरूपी दोर्ध्या पदागद्रितयं गृहीत्वा ।
जानूपरि न्यस्तललाटदेशो वसेदिदं पश्चिमतानमाहुः ।।

Having stretched the feet on the ground, like a stick, and  having grasped the toes of both the feet with both the  hands, when one sits with his forehead resting on the  thighs, it is called Paschima Tana.

इति पश्चिमतानमासनाग्यं पवनं पश्चिमवाहिनं करोति ।
उदयं जठरानलस्य कुर्यादुदरे कार्थ्यमरोगतां च पुंसाम्

This Paschima Tana carries the air from the front to the  back part of the body (i.e. to the susumna). It kindles gastric fire, reduces obesity and cures all diseases of men.


धरामवष्टभ्य करद्र्येन तत्कूर्परस्थापितनाभिपार्श्वः ।
उच्चासनो दंडवदुत्थितः स्यान्मयूरमेतत्प्रवदन्ति पीठम् ।।

Place the palms of both the hands on the ground, and  place the navel on both the elbows and balancing thus, the  body should be stretched backward like a stick. This is  called Mayura-asana.

हरति सकलरोगानाशु गुल्मोदरादीनभिभवति च दोपानासनं श्रीमयूरम् ।
बहु कदशनभुक्तं भस्म कुर्यादशेषं जनयति जठराग्निं जारयेत्कालकूटम् ।।

This asana soon destroys all diseases, and removes abdominal disorders, and also those arising from irregularities of  phlegm, bile and wind, digests unwholesome food taken in  excess, increases appetite and destroys the most deadly  poison.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika


Lying down on the ground, like a corpse, is called Sava-asana. It removes fatigue and gives rest to the mind.


Place the right foot on the left thigh and the left foot on  the right thigh, and grasp the toes with the hands crossed  over the back. Press the chin against the chest and gaze on  the tip of the nose. This is called the Padmasana, the  destroyer of the diseases of the Yamis.

Place the feet on the thighs, with the soles upwards, and  place the hands on the thighs, with the palms upwards.

Gaze on the tip of the nose, keeping the tongue pressed  against the root of the teeth of the upper jaw, and the chin  against the chest, and raise the air up slowly, i.e., pull the  apana-vayu gently upwards.

This is called the Padmasana, the destroyer of all disease.  It is difficult of attainment but can be learnt by the wise.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

The second method used by Hatha Yoga is the Pranayama. 

Pranayama is known to eliminate disorders and malfunctioning in  the physical body, but is not entirely effective at the beginning if some  imbalance is present. Especially if there is a defect in the proportion of  the three humours of the body as defined by Ayurveda (kapha or mucus,  pitta or bile, vata or wind), this should be corrected first. So Hatha  Yoga uses supplementary physical methods specially designed for this  purpose. They are called the "six actions " or shatkarma.

मेदश्लेप्माधिकः पूर्व पट् कर्माणि समाचरेत् ।
अन्यस्तु नाचरेत्तानि दोपाणं समभावतः ।।

If there be excess of fat or phlegm in the body, the six  kinds of kriyas (duties) should be performed first. But others, not suffering from the excess of these, should not per form them,

धौतिर्वस्तिस्तथा नेतिस्त्राटकं नौलिकं तथा ।
कपालभातिश्चैतानि पट् कर्माणि प्रचक्षते ।।

The six kinds of duties are: Dhauti, Basti, Neti, Trataka,  Nauti and Kapala Bhati. These are called the six actions.

कर्मपट्कमिदं गोप्यं घटशोधनकारकम्
विचित्रगुणसंधायि पूज्यते योगिपुंगवैः ।।

These six kinds of actions which cleanse the body should  be kept secret. They produce extraordinary attributes and  are performed with earnestness by the best of Yogis.

Yoga Pradipika explains here one of these cleansing techniques, the  one called "dhauti":

The Dhauti

चतुरंगुलविस्तारं हस्तपंचदशायतम् ।
गुरूपदिष्टमार्गेण सिक्तं वस्त्रं शनैर्गसेत् ।
पुनः प्रत्याहरेच्चैतदुरितं धौति कर्म तत् । ।

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

A strip of cloth, about three inches wide and fifteen cubits  long, is pushed in (swallowed), when moist with warm  water, through the passage shown by the guru, and is  taken out again. This is called Dhauti Karma.*

कासश्वासप्लीहकृष्टं कफरोगाश्च विंशतिः ।
धौतिकर्मप्रभावेन पयांत्येव न संशयः ।।

There is no doubt, that cough, asthma, enlargement of the  spleen, leprosy, and twenty kinds of diseases born of  phlegm, disappear by the practice of Dhauti Karma.

Once the different systems of his body have been cleansed by Shat karma, the apprentice may start practising Pranayama:

The exercises called Pranayamas have to be combined with asanas  and should be performed keeping the body immobile, firmly established  in one of the prescribed postures.

While Asana deals with the most material part of the physical being,  Pranayama deals with the life-energy, Prana. Or rather it deals with  the most apparent manifestation of it in us which is breathing, and  thereby seeks to obtain mastery over all the powers of Prana: It is a  technique through which the quantity of Prana in the body is activated  to a higher frequency, controlled and directed at will.

It consists of breathing exercises of various kinds. The Yogin must  first equalise the duration of his inhalations (puraka) and exhalations  (rechaka). Progressively he should increase the time during which he  retains his breath in-between (kumbhaka). The most important thing  here is the retention of breath. At the beginning, of course, it is extremely difficult to execute for more than just a few seconds, but through regular and arduous practice, it can be conquered. Thereafter a stage is  even reached when breathing ceases. This is Kevala Kumbhaka or  "retention alone".


* The strip should be moistened with a little warm water, and the end should  be held with the teeth. It is swallowed, little by little; thus, first day 1 cubit,  2nd day 2 cubits, 3rd day 3 cubits, and so on. After swallowing it the stomach  should be given a good, round motion from left to right, and then it should be  taken out slowly and gently

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

So the body of the Hatha Yogin experiences something which normally occurs only at the time of death: cessation of breath.

It is maybe why Swatmarama states that a Yogin practising Pranayama gets rid of the fear of death.

If properly performed, Pranayama is said to be very effective in  removing certain diseases. The body is described as lean and glowing.

The first aim of Pranayama is to purify the nervous system in such a  way that the mind, no longer subject to its usual disorder and agitation, is completely stilled. In the system of Hatha Yoga, Prana and  mind are intricately linked. The mind is totally dependent on body and  Prana. If one controls Prana, his mind is automatically controlled.

Yogi Swatmarama describes here some exercises of Pranayama:

अथासने दृढे योगी वशी हितमिताशनः ।
गुरूपदिष्टमार्गेण प्राणायामान्समभ्यसेत् ।

An Indian miniature showing Pranayama

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Posture becoming established, a Yogi, master of himself,  eating salutary and moderate food, should practise pranayama, as instructed by his guru.

चले वाते चलं चित्तं निश्चले निश्चलं भवेत् ।
योगी स्थाणुल्यमाप्नोति ततो वायु निरोधयेत् ।।

Respiration being disturbed, the mind becomes disturbed.  By restraining respiration, the Yogi gets steadiness of  mind.

यावद्रायुः स्थितो देहे तावज्जीवनमुच्यते ।
मरणं तस्य निष्क्रांतिस्ततो वायुं निरोधयेत् ।।

So long as the (breathing) air stays in the body, it is called  life. Death consists in the passing out of the (breathing)  air. It is, therefore, necessary to restrain the breath.

Method of performing Pranayama

वद्धपदमासनो योगी पाणं चंद्रेण पूरयेत् ।

धारयित्वा यथाशक्ति भूयः सूर्येण रेचयेत् ।।

प्राणं सूर्येण चाकृप्य पूरयेदुदरं शनैः ।

विधिवत्कुंभकं कृत्वा पुनश्चंद्रेण रेचयेत् ।।



Sitting in the Padmasana posture the Yogi  should fill in the air through the left nostril (closing the  right one); and, keeping it confined according to one's  ability, it should be expelled slowly through the surya  (right nostril). Then, drawing in the air through the surya  (right nostril) slowly, the belly should be filled, and after  performing Kumbhaka as before, it should be expelled  slowly through the chandra (left nostril).

येन त्यजेत्तेन पीत्वा धारयेदतिरोधतः ।
रेचयेच्च ततोऽन्येन शनैरेव न वेगतः । ।

Inhaling thus through the one through which it was

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

expelled, and having restrained it there, till possible, it  should be exhaled through the other, slowly and not  forcibly.

पाणं चेदिडया पिवेन्नियमितं भूयोऽन्यया रेचयेत्
पीत्वा पिंगलया समीरणमथो वदध्वा त्यजेद्रामया ।
सूर्याचंदमसोरनेन विधिनाभ्यास सदा तन्वतां
शुद्धा नाडिगणा भवन्ति यमिनां मासत्रयादूर्ध्वतः ।

If the air be inhaled through the left nostril, it should be  expelled again through the other, and filling it through  the right nostril, confining it there, it should be expelled  through the left nostril. By practising in this way, through  the right and the left nostrils alternately, the whole of the  collection of the nadis of the yamis (practisers) becomes  clean, i.e., free from impurities, after three months and  over.

प्रातमध्यंदिने सायमर्धरात्रे च कुंभकान् ।
शनैरशीतिपर्यन्तं चतुर्वारं समभ्यसेत् ।।

Kumbhakas should be performed gradually four times during day and night, i.e., (morning, noon, evening and mid night), till the number of Kumbhakas for one time is eighty  and for day and night together it is three hundred twenty.

कनीयसि भवेत्स्वेद कंपो भवति मध्यमे ।
उत्तमे स्थानमाप्नोति ततो वायुं निबंधयेत् ।।

In the beginning there is perspiration, in the middle stage  there is quivering, and in the last or the third stage one  obtains steadiness; and then the breath should be made  steady or motionless.

यथा सिंहो गजो व्याघ्रो भवेद्रश्यः शनैः शनैः ।
तथैव सेवितो वायुरन्यथा हन्ति साधकम् ।।

Just as lions, elephants and tigers are controlled by and by,

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

so the breath is controlled by slow degrees, otherwise (i.e.,  by being hasty or using too much force) it kills the practiser himself.

प्राणायामादियुक्तेन सर्वरोगक्षयो भवेत् ।
अयुक्ताभ्यासयोगेन सर्वरोगसमुद्भवः ।।

When Pranayama, etc., are performed properly, they eradicate all diseases: but an improper practice generates disease.

हिक्का श्वासश्च कासश्च शिरः कर्णाक्षिवेदनाः ।
भवन्ति विविधा रोगाः पवनस्य प्रकोपतः ।।

Hiccough, asthma cough, pain in the head, the ears, and  the eyes; these and other various kinds of diseases are  generated by the disturbance of the breath.

प्राणायामस्त्रिधा प्रोक्तो रेचपूरककुंभकैः ।
सहितः केवलश्चेति कुंभको द्विविधो मतः ।।

Considering Puraka (filling), Rechaka (expelling) and  Kumbhaka (confining), Pranayama is of three kinds, but  considering it accompanied by Puraka and Rechaka, and  without these, it is of two kinds only, i.e., Sahita (with) and  Kevala (alone).

यावत्केवलसिद्धिः स्यात्सहितं तावदभ्यसेत् ।
रेचकं पूरकं मुक्त्वा सुखं यद्रायुधारणम् ।।

Exercise in Sahita should be continued till success in  Kevala is gained. This latter is simply confining the air  with ease, without Rechaka and Puraka.

प्राणायामोऽयमित्युक्तः स वै केवलकुंभकः ।
कुंभके केवले सिद्धे रेचपूरकवर्जिते ।।

In the practice of Kevala Pranayama when it can be per formed successfully without Rechaka and Puraka, then it

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

is called Kevala Kumbhaka.

न तस्य दुर्लभं किंचित्रिषु लोकेषु विद्यते ।
शक्तः केवलकुंभेन यथेष्ट वायुधारणात् ।।

There is nothing in the three worlds which may be difficult to obtain for him who is able to keep the air confined  according to pleasure, by means of Kevala Kumbhaka.

After performing Pranayama and other related exercises like mudras,  or bandhas ("stops" or "locks") which remove blockages, "capture"  and channelize the energy, the Hatha Yogin becomes able to direct the  Prana anywhere. And this is of momentous importance. According to  an ancient Indian science, the life-force circulates in the subtle body  through a series of channels (nadis gathered up in six centres called  lotuses or chakras (circles) which rise in an ascending line to a summit,  the "thousand petalled lotus " from where all vital and mental energy  flows. This pattern is reproduced in the physical body: these centres  are situated along a main channel (the sushumna nadi), in the centre of  the spinal cord, that rises from the bottom of the vertebral column upto  the brain.

Usually, due to obstructions in the different nadis of the nervous sys tem, very little energy/lows into them, so the chakras are closed or only  partly open. It is said that the supreme energy is there, but asleep, coiled  like a snake (kundalini) in the lowest of the chakras. But when the body  is immobile and capable of holding the Prana, when the back is strictly  erect and in a straight line, when the mind is stilled, the Sushumna nadi  entirely clear of obstructions, then the Kundalini Shakti awakens, rises,  pierces the chakras and opens each of the ascending planes to the  divine light and energy. When the Kundalini Shakti pierces through the  highest chakra (brahmarandhra), it merges with the supreme Soul. The  Hatha Yogin attains the stage of Samadhi or Yogic Trance, the supreme  step of the ladder of the Hatha Yogic practice.

सशैलवनधात्रीणां यथाधारोऽहिनायकः ।
सर्वेषां योगतंत्राणां तथाधारो हि कुंडली ।।

As the chief of the snakes is the support of the earth with 

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika










A 18th century miniature depicting kundalini, coiled like a serpent at the base of the trunk.

all the mountains and forests on it, so all the Tantras  (Yoga practices) rest on the  Kundalini (the vertebral column).

गुप्ता गुरुप्रसादेन यदा जागर्ति कुंडली |
तदा सर्वाणि पदमानि मिद्यते गथयो, पिच ।।

When the sleeping Kundalini awakens by favour of a  guru, then all the lotuses (in  the six chakras or centres)  and all the knots are pierced  through.

पाणस्य शून्यपदवी तथा गजपथायते ।
तदा चित्तं निरालंवं तदा कालस्य वंचनम् ।।

Susumna (Sunya Padayi)  becomes a main road for the passage of Prana, and the  mind then becomes free from all connections (with its  objects of enjoyments) and Death is then evaded.

The Mahamudra

पादमूलेन वामेन योनिं संपीड्य दक्षिणम् ।
प्रसारितं पदं कृत्वा कराभ्यां धारये दृढम् ।।

Pressing the Yoni (perineum) with the heel of the left foot,  and stretching forth the right foot, its toe should be grasped  by the thumb and first finger.

कंटे बंधं समारोप्य धारयेद्वायुमूर्ध्वतः ।
यथा दंडहतः सर्पो दंडाकारः प्रजायते ।।
ऋज्वीभूता तथा शक्तिः कुंडली सहसा भवेत् ।
तदा सा मरणावस्था जायते द्विपुटाश्रया ।।

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

By stopping the throat (by Jalandhara Bandha) the air is  drawn in from the outside and carried down. Just as a  snake struck with a stick becomes straight like a stick, in  the same way, sakti (susumna) becomes straight at once.  Then the Kundalini, becoming as it were dead, and, leaving both the Ida and the Pingala, enters the susumna (the  middle passage).

ततः शनैः शनैरेव रेचयेन्नैव वेगतः ।
महामुद्रां च तेनैव वदन्ति विवुधोत्तमाः ।
इयं खलु महामुद्रा सहासिद्धेः प्रदर्शिता ।।
महाक्लेशादयो दोपाः क्षीयंते मरणादयः ।
महामुद्रां च तेनैव वदन्ति विवुधेत्तमाः ।।

It should be expelled then, slowly only and not violently.  For this very reason, the best of the wise men call it  the Maha Mudra. This Maha Mudra has been propounded  by great masters. Great evils and pains, like death, are  destroyed by it, and for this reason wise men call it the  Maha Mudra.

The Saktichalana.

कुटिलांगी कुंडलिनी भुजंगी शक्तिरीश्वरी ।
कुंडल्यरुंधती चैते शब्दाः पर्यायवाचकाः । ।

Kutilangi (crooked-bodied), Kundalini, Bhujangi (a she serpent) Sakti, Ishwari, Kundali, Arundhati, — all these  words are synonymous.

उदघाटयेत्कपाटं तु यथा कुंचिकया हठात् ।
कुंडलिन्या तथा योगी मोक्षद्वारं विभेदयेत् ।।

As a door is opened with a key, so the Yogi opens the door  of mukti by opening Kundalini by means of Hatha Yoga.

येन मार्गेण गंतव्यं ब्रह्मस्थानं निरामयम् ।
मुखेनाच्छाद्य तद्वारं प्रसुप्ता परमेश्वरी ।।

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

The Parameswari (Kundalini) sleeps, covering the hole of  the passage by which one can go to the seat of Brahma  which is free from pains.

कंदोर्ध्वे कुंडली शक्तिः सुप्ता मोक्षाय योगिनाम् ।
बंधनाय च मूढानां यस्ता वेत्ति स योगवित् ।।

Kundali Sakti sleeps on the bulb, for the purpose of giving  moksa to Yogis and bondage to the ignorant. He who  knows it, knows Yoga.

कुंडली कुटिलाकारा सर्पवत्परिकीर्तिता ।
साँ शक्तिश्चालिता येन स मुक्तो नात्र संचयः ।।

Kundali is of a bent shape, and has been described to be  like a serpent. He who has moved that Sakti is no doubt  Mukta (released from bondage).

सलिले सैन्धवं यद्वत्साम्यं भजति योगतः ।
तथात्ममनसोरैक्यं समाधिरभिधीयते ।।

As salt being dissolved in water becomes one with it, so  when Atma and mind become one, it is called Samadhi.

यदा संक्षीयते प्राणो मानसं च प्रलीयते ।
तदा समरसत्वं च समाधिरभिधीयते ।।

When the Prana becomes lean (vigourless) and the mind  becomes absorbed, then their becoming equal is called  Samadhi.

दुर्लभो विषयत्यागो दुर्लभं तत्त्वदर्शनम् ।
दुर्लभा सहजावस्था सदगुरोः करुणां विना ।।

Indifference to worldly enjoyments is very difficult to obtain,  and equally difficult is the knowledge of the Realities to  obtain. It is very difficult to get the condition of Samadhi,  without the favour of a true guru.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

विविधगमनेः कमेविचित्रः कम्णेरपि ।
पवुदायां महाशक्ती पाणः शून्ये पलीयते ।।

By means of various postures and different Kumbhakas,  when the great power (Kundali) awakens, then the Prana  becomes absorbed in Sunya (Samadhi).

उत्पन्नशक्तिबोधस्य त्यक्तनिःशेपकर्मणः ।
योगिनः सहजावस्था स्वयमेव पजायते ।।

The Yogi whose sakti has awakened, and who has renounced all actions, attains to the condition of Samadhi, without  any effort.

सुपुम्नावाहिनि प्राणे शून्ये विशति मानसे ।
तदा सर्वाणि कर्माणि निर्मूलयति योगवित् ।।

When the Prana flows in the Susumna, and the mind has  entered sunya, then the Yogi is free from the effects of Karmas.

अमराय नमस्तुभ्यं सोऽपिकालस्त्वया जितः।
पतितं वदने यस्य जगदेतच्चराचरम् ।।

O Immortal one (that is, the yogi who has attained to the  condition of Samadhi), I salute thee! Even death itself,  into whose mouth the whole of this movable and immovable world has fallen, has been conquered by thee.

द्वासप्ततिसहस्राणि नाडीद्वाराणि पंजरे ।
सुषुम्ना शांभवी शक्तिः शेषास्त्वेव निरर्थकाः ।।

In this body there are seventy-two thousand openings of  Nadis; of these, the susumna, which has the Sambhavi  Sakti in it, is the only important one, the rest are useless.

वायुः परिचितो यस्मादग्निना सह कुन्डलीम् ।
बोधयित्वा सुषुम्नायां प्रविशेदनिरोधतः ।।

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

The Vayu should be made to enter the Susumna without  restraint by him who has practised the control of breathing  and has awakened the Kundali by the (gastric) fire.

सुषुम्ना वाहिनि पाणे गिद्धयत्येव मनोन्मनी |
अन्यथा वितगण्यासा: पयासायैव येगिनाम ।।

The Prana, flowing through the susumna, brings about the  condition of manonmani; other practices are simply futile  for the Yogi.

पवनो बध्यते येन मनस्तेनैव वध्यते ।
मनश्च वध्यते येन पवनस्तेन बध्यते ।।

By whom the breathing has been controlled, by him the  activities of the mind also have been controlled; and, conversely, by whom the activities of the mind have been  controlled, by him the breathing also has been controlled.

हेतुद्वयं तु चित्तस्य वासना च समीरणः ।
तयोर्विनष्ट एकस्मिन् ती द्वावपि विनश्यतः ।।

There are two causes of the activities of the mind: (1)  Vasana (desires) and (2) the respiration (the Prana). Of  these, the destruction of the one is the destruction of both.

मनो यत्र विलीयेत पवनस्तत्र लीयते ।
पवने लीयते यत्र मनस्तत्र विलीयते ।।

Breathing is lessened when the mind becomes absorbed,  and the mind becomes absorbed when the Prana is restrained.

दुग्धांबुवत्संमिलितावुभौ तौ तुल्यक्रियौ मानसमारुतौ हि ।
यतो मरुत्तत्र मनः प्रवृत्तिर्यतो मनस्तत्र मरुत्प्रवृत्तिः ।।

Both the mind and the breath are united together, like milk  and water; and both of them are equal in their activities.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Mind begins its activities where there is the breath, and  the Prana begins its activities where there is the mind.

तौकनाशादपुयनाथ एकप्रवृत्तेरपरपवृत्तिः ।
अध्वस्तयोश्चेन्दियवर्गवृत्तिः पचस्तयोगक्षपदस्य सिद्धिः ।।

By the suspension of the one, therefore, comes the suspension of the other, and by the operations of the one are  brought about the operations of the other. When they are  present, the Indriyas (the senses) remain engaged in their  proper functions, and when they become latent then there is  moksa.

निरालम्वं मनः कृत्वा न किंचिदपि चिंतयेत् ।
सवाह्याभ्यंतरे व्योम्नि घटवत्तिष्ठति धुवम् ।

Freeing the mind from all thoughts and thinking of nothing, one should sit firmly like a pot in the space (surround ed and filled with the ether).

वाह्यवायुर्यथा लीनस्तथा मध्ये न संशयः ।
स्वस्थाने स्थिरतामेति पवनो मनसा सह ।।

As the air, in and out of the body, remains unmoved, so  the breath with mind becomes steady in its place (i.e., in  Brahmarandhra).

एवमभ्यसमानस्य वायुमार्गे दिवानिशम् ।
अभ्यासाज्जीर्यते वायुर्मनस्तत्रैव लीयते ।।

By thus practising, night and day, the breathing is brought  under control, and, as the practice increases, the mind  becomes calm and steady.

अन्तः शून्यो वहिः शून्यः शून्य: कुंभ इवांवरे ।
अन्तः पूर्णो बहि: पूर्णः पूर्ण: कुंभ इवार्णवे ।।

One should become void in and void out, and void like a

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

pot in the space. Full in and full outside, like a jar in the  ocean.

वाह्यचिंता न कर्तव्या तथैवांतरचिंतनम् |
सर्वचिंता परित्यज्य न किंचिदपि चिंतयेत् ।।

He should be neither of inside nor of outside world; and,  leaving all thoughts, he should think of nothing.

संकल्पमात्रकलनेव जगत्ममग
संकल्पमात्रकलनैव मनोविलासः |
संकल्पमात्रमतिमुत्सृज निर्विकल्प
माश्रित्य निश्चयमवाप्नुहि गम शांतिम् ।।

The whole of this world and all the schemes of the mind  are but the creations of thought. Discarding these thoughts  and taking leave of all conjectures, O Rama! obtain peace.

कर्पूग्मनले यदुत्सैन्धवं मलिले यथा ।
तथा संधीयमानं च मनस्तत्त्वे विलीयते ॥

As camphor disappears in fire, and rock salt in water, so  the mind united with the atma loses its identity.

कर्पूग्मनले यदुत्सैन्धवं मलिले यथा ।
तथा संधीयमानं च मनस्तत्त्वे विलीयते ॥

When the knowable, and the knowledge, are both destroyed equally, then there is no second way (i.e., Duality is  destroyed).

मनोदृश्यमिदं सर्व यत्किंचित् चराचरम् ।
मनसो ह्युन्मनीभावाद द्रुतं नवोपलभ्यते ।।

All this movable and immovable world is mind. When the  mind has attained to the unmani avastha, there is no dwaita (from the absence of the working of the mind.)

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

ज्ञेयवस्तुपरित्यागादिलयं याति मानसम् ।
मनसो विलये जाते कैवल्यमवशिष्यते ।।

Mind disappears by removing the knowable, and, on its  disappearance, atma only remains behind.

Arambha Avastha

वमगंथेर्भवेदभेदो ह्यानंद: शून्यसंभवः ।
विचित्रः क्वणको देहेऽनाहतः श्रूयते ध्वनिः । ।

When the Brahma granthi (in the heart) is pierced through  by Pranayama, then a sort of happiness is experienced in  the vacuum of the heart, and the anahat sounds, like various tinkling sounds of ornaments, are heard in the body.

दिव्यदेहश्च तेजस्वी दिव्यगंधस्त्वरोगवान् ।
संपूर्णहृदयः शून्य आरम्भे योगवान्भवेतऽ ।।

In the arambha, a Yogi's body becomes divine, glowing,  healthy, and emits a divine smell. The whole of his heart  becomes void.

न गन्धं न रसं रूपं न च स्पर्श न निःस्वनम् ।
नात्मानं न परं वेत्ति योगी युक्तः समाधिना । ।

The Yogi, engaged in Samadhi, feels neither smell, taste,  colour, touch, sound, nor is conscious of his own self.

चित्तं न सुप्तं नोजाग्रत्स्मृतिविस्मृतिवर्जितम् ।
न चास्तमेति नोदेति यस्यासौ मुक्त एव सः ।।

He whose mind is neither sleeping, waking, remembering,  destitute of memory, disappearing nor appearing, is liberated.  

न विजानाति शीतोष्णं न दुःखं न सुखं तथा ।
न मानं नापमानं च योगी युक्तः समाधिना । ।

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

He feels neither heat, cold, pain, pleasure, respect nor disrespect. Such a Yogi is absorbed in Samadhi.

स्वस्थो जागदवरथायां गुप्तवयोऽ वतिष्ठते ।
निःश्वासोच्छ्वासहीनश्च निश्चितं मुक्त एव सः ।।

He who, though awake, appears like one sleeping, and is  without inspiration and expiration, is certainly free.

अवध्यः सर्वशस्त्राणामशक्यः सर्वदेहिनाम् ।
अगाह्यो मंत्रयंत्राणां योगी युक्तः समाधिना । ।

The Yogi, engaged in Samadhi, cannot be killed by any  instrument, and is beyond the controlling power of beings.  He is beyond the reach of incantations and charms.

यावन्नैव प्रविशति चरन्मारुतो मध्यमार्गे
यावद विंदुर्न भवति दृढः पाणवातप्रवंधात् ।
यावद्धयाने सहजसदर्श जायते नैव तत्त्वं
तावज्ज्ञानं वदति तदिदं दम्भमिथ्यापलापः ।।

As long as the Prana does not enter and flow in the middle  channel and the bindu does not become firm by the control of the movements of the Prana; as long as the mind  does not assume the form of Brahma without any effort in  contemplation, so long all the talk of knowledge and wisdom is merely the nonsensical babbling of a mad man.

Reading Yoga Pradipika, one marvels at the depth of the great psycho-physical science on which rests the system of Hatha Yoga. One is  amazed by the precise knowledge of the body possessed by the ancient  sages of India who elaborated the techniques described by Swatmarama: here the body is not seen as a kind of machine move or less dependent on  the mind, more or less cumbersome and recalcitrant, whose functions  carry no meaning except that of immediate necessity. It is known and  experienced as a living symbol, a powerful and sacred yantra which can  connect us with our subtle body, with the universal energy, with the  Divine.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Of course, Hatha Yoga is a difficult and onerous system. When seriously pursued, it requires so much time and effort that it hardly leaves  room for any other activity or research. It demands not only a complete  dedication but also a total surrender to the guru. The Hatha Yoga  Pradipika insists on the fact that no success can be achieved without  the presence and the guidance of the guru. So it is unlikely that many  people can or will want to undertake to practise Hatha Yoga in the traditional way.

Yet it is a fact that in the last fifty years or so Hatha Yoga has been  accepted as an alternate therapeutic science all over the world and  that a lot of people, even without exactly knowing what Hatha Yoga  stands for, have derived many benefits from even a very limited practice. Is this attraction for Hatha Yoga not a sign that, although its real  goal is generally forgotten, there is in mankind a sort of aspiration to  look at the body in a new way? Is it not a sign that men, more or less  consciously, sense that there is a secret, hidden deep into the body, and  that it may be the key to the future evolution of humanity? Perhaps it is  what Hatha Yoga can teach the modem world. Perhaps men can dispense with its methods but, taking advantage of the science on which it  is founded, they can use it as a help to go forward in search of higher  truths.

Hatha Yoga gives us a key to discover the subtle body behind the  gross body. It also gives us the knowledge and experience of the centres of the subtle body, each one of which connects a certain level of  consciousness and energy with its corresponding universal plane of  consciousness and energy.

By constant practice of Hatha Yoga one can attain remarkable  capacities of the body. One can stop the heart beats and yet continue  to live; one can remain without food for long periods of time and yet  can sustain the life-force and strength of the body; some Hatha Yogins  are reported to live without any intake of food; the Hatha Yogin can  demonstrate remarkable feats of physical powers and capacities: one  can become as light as a feather, one can be as heavy as to be entirely  immobile and immovable; one can become even atomic and can pass  through physical obstructions. The Hatha Yogin can maintain health  and vigour with ease and effortlessly. The Hatha Yogin can endure heat  or cold, upto extraordinary degrees. The Hatha Yogin's longevity also  can be very great and even indefinite. All these things are possible.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

According to the larger views of Yoga, however, there are possibilities  of attainment of great vistas of knowledge and great effectivities of  will-power, capable of effecting interventions in world-events and  world-actions. For these attainments, other Yogas and their methods  need to be developed. Raja Yoga, for example, gives the possibilities of  expansion of mental powers of extraordinary nature. Jnana Yoga can  give possibilities of specialized domains of existence, leading up to the  knowledge of the Supra Cosmic. Bhakti Yoga can provide experiences  of extraordinary intensities and emotions and purified relationships  with human beings and creatures of the world culminating in aesthetic  union with the Divine. And there are many other systems of Yoga, each  one capable of giving special powers and attainments. Hatha Yoga is  only one of the many systems of Yoga. A synthesis of Yoga would  include basic principle's not only of Hatha Yoga but also of other  Yogas; and such a synthesis of Yoga would also provide a judicious  combination of various systems of Yoga, leading upto a comprehensive  combination of consequences for the perfection of the spiritual, mental,  vital and physical perfection. A divine life in a divine body would be  the ideal of the integral Yoga. In the integral Yoga, perfections of the  physical body would be a part of the totality of attainments, although  the methods of Hatha Yoga may not prove to be indispensable. And  yet, methods of Hatha Yoga can optionally be employed in the total  processes of the integral Yoga.

One thing however stands out very clearly. Hatha Yoga is a systematic process; it is scientifically rigorous and meticulous; its results can  be verified; they can be demonstrated; they can be repeated in increasing number of individuals, provided its methods are rigorously pursued  and practised.


Extracts from The Hatha Yoga Pradipika,
translated into English by Panchan Singh,
Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers PV Limited, New Delhi.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

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