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.
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.
पादांगुष्ठौ तु पाणिभ्यां गृहीत्वा श्रवणावधि ।
धनुराकर्षणं कुर्याद्धनुरासनमुच्यते ।।
Having caught the toes of the feet with both the hands and
Urdhva dhanura asana
Practice of Hatha Yoga in Auroville
carried them to the ears by drawing the body like a bow, it becomes Dhanura asana.
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.
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.
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":
चतुरंगुलविस्तारं हस्तपंचदशायतम् ।
गुरूपदिष्टमार्गेण सिक्तं वस्त्रं शनैर्गसेत् ।
पुनः प्रत्याहरेच्चैतदुरितं धौति कर्म तत् । ।
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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 ।।
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.
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 ।।
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.
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 ।।
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.
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
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.
संकल्पमात्रकलनैव मनोविलासः |
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.)
ज्ञेयवस्तुपरित्यागादिलयं याति मानसम् ।
मनसो विलये जाते कैवल्यमवशिष्यते ।।
Mind disappears by removing the knowable, and, on its disappearance, atma only remains behind.
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 । ।
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.
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.
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.