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 Haṭhayogapradīpikā (Hatha Yoga Pradipika) (English)

The scripture shedding light on the Haṭhayoga science


 Introduction

The Haṭhayoga --wrongly-written Hatha Yoga-- science has been known long since. You find references to it in the Upaniṣad-s (esoteric scriptures in Vedānta school), in Bhagavatpurāṇa (ancient tales about Kṛṣṇa), in the Pātañjalayogasūtra-s (Aphorisms dealing with Yoga which were written by the sage Patañjali), etc. All these scriptures are really old (several millenniums), but Haṭhayoga is not systematically taught in them. In other words, there are only quotes about this science but no strong structure supporting an organic organization of the respective knowledges. Systematization in Haṭhayoga was born about the 6th century A.D. mainly via the works of Gorakṣanātha and Matsyendranātha. They extracted the science of Haṭhayoga from Tantricism, which had spread and developed itself with the help of Buddhism. In the 6th century A.D., Buddhism declined in India, and then those sages (Matsyendra and Gorakṣa) separated the Haṭhayoga science from the Tantric rituals. The things were more complicated indeed, but this is a good description of what happened at that time. Of course, "that" which they separated from Tantricism was not Haṭhayoga as you know it right now, but something rather basic. Although it was mainly the work of Gorakṣa and Matsyendra to give form to this basic aggregate of teachings, there were other sages contributing. Please, do not think that everything was made in the 6th century A.D. by the two aforesaid yogī-s. No, the development was long, taking up to an entire millennium (since 6th to 15th centuries A.D. approximately).

In this millennium of development, four important scriptures on Haṭhayoga were written:

(1) Haṭhayogapradīpikā (by Svātmārāma); (2) Gheraṇḍasaṁhitā (by Gheraṇḍa); (3) Haṭharatnāvalī (by Śrīnivāsabhaṭṭa Mahāyogīndra, what a name!) and (4) Gorakṣasaṁhitā (by Gorakṣa).

On this site I will teach you the great wisdom displayed by Yogī Svātmārāma in his Haṭhayogapradīpikā. When you study the aphorisms contained in Haṭhayogapradīpikā (almost 400 in fact!) you will firstly note the following:

"Many postures commonly taught in the Haṭhayoga classes nowadays are not taught in the scripture".

The reason is simple, Haṭhayogapradīpikā was written in the Middle Ages. Many centuries have passed since then, and other masters have added new postures and enhanced the original ones. However, I have noted that at present, some so-called masters of Haṭhayoga are adding too many postures with names not even in Sanskrit. There is currently a dangerous tendency to teach Haṭhayoga science as a mere gymnastics and this is a colossal mistake. Haṭhayoga is not gymnastics even though it contains postures, locks, etc. Haṭhayoga is a complete system to prepare your psychophysical structure for the experience of Rājayoga, the Royal Yoga in which Kuṇḍalinī (the inner Śakti or Power) is led to the higher Cakra-s, and Enlightenment is at hand.

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 Further Information

Gabriel Pradīpaka

This document was conceived by Gabriel Pradīpaka, one of the two founders of this site, and spiritual guru conversant with Sanskrit language and Trika philosophy.

For further information about Sanskrit, Yoga and Indian Philosophy; or if you simply want to comment, ask a question or correct a mistake, feel free to contact us: This is our e-mail address.



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