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[1] The traditional meaning of the word Hatha is: (1) violence, force; (2) oppression, rapine; it is used adverbially in the sense of forcibly, violently, suddenly, against ones will; hence this form of Yoga is sometimes called forced Yoga.

[2] See the works of Sir John Woodroffe, who also wrote under the pseudonym Arthur Avalon: The Serpent Power, Shakti and Shakta, Garland of Letters, The Great Liberation, and Principles of Tantra (in two volumes). The chief classic texts are now available in English. Among the important earlier treatments of our subject should be mentioned Omans The Mystics, Ascetics, and Saints of India, and Schmidts Fakire und Fakirtum in alten und modernen Indien. Schmidts work is based largely on Omans but contains a German translation of the Gheranda Samhitã and a valuable series of illustrations collected in India by Garbe in 1886. The more recent works and editions are noted in the Bibliography. The two volumes by Kuva1ay~nanda contain illustrations of most of the postures.

[3] The generally accepted forms of Yoga are discussed in Siva Samhitã, v, 9: "The Yoga is of four kinds:- First Mantra-Yoga, second Hatha-Yoga, third Laya-Yoga, fourth Rãja-Yoga, which discards duality." Evans-Wentz, in Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines, p. 33, says: "The various aspects or parts of Yoga and their general relationship to one another may now be set forth concisely by the following table:

I. Hatha Yoga breath physical body and vitality
II. Laya Yoga will powers of mind
(1) Bhakti Yoga love powers of divine love
(2) Shakti Yoga energy energizing forces of Nature
(3) Mantra Yoga sound powers of sound vibration
(4) Yantra Yoga form powers of geometrical form
III. Dhyãna Yoga thought powers of thought-processes
IV. Rãja Yoga method powers of discrimination
(1) Jñana Yoga knowledge powers of intellect
(2) Karma Yoga activity powers of action
(3) Kundalinî Yoga Kundalinî powers of psychic nerve force
(4) Samãdhi Yoga self powers of ecstasy

[4] Siva Samhitã, i, 1-19, opens with the following discussion, "The Jnãna [Gnosis] alone is eternal; it is without beginning or end; there exists no other real substance. Diversities which we see in the world are results of senseconditions; when the latter cease, then this Jnãna alone, and nothing else, remains. I, Ivara, the lover of my devotees, and Giver of spiritual emancipation to all creatures, thus declare the science of Yogãnuãsana (the exposition of Yoga). In it are discarded all those doctrines of disputants, which lead to false knowledge. It is for the spiritual disenthralment of persons whose minds are undistracted and fully turned towards me.

"Some praise truth, others purification and asceticism; some praise forgiveness, others equality and sincerity. Some praise alms-giving, others laud sacrifices made in honour of ones ancestors; some praise action (Karma), others think dispassion (Vairãgya) to be the best. Some wise persons praise the performance of the duties of the householder; other authorities hold up fire-sacrifice, &c., as the highest. Some praise Mantra Yoga, others the frequenting of places of pilgrimage. Thus diverse are the ways which people declare for emancipation. Being thus diversely engaged in this world, even those who still know what actions are good and what evil, though free from sin, become subject to bewilderment. Persons who follow these doctrines, having committed good and bad actions, constantly wander in the worlds, in the cycle of births and deaths, bound by dire necessity. Others, wiser among the many, and eagerly devoted to the investigation of the occult, declare that the souls are many and eternal, and omnipresent. Others say, Only those things can be said to exist which are perceived through the senses and nothing besides them; where is heaven or hell? Such is their firm belief. Others believe the world to be a current of consciousness and no material entity; some call the void as the greatest. Others believe in two essences:Matter (Prakriti) and Spirit (Purusa). Thus believing in widely different doctrines, with faces turned away from the supreme goal, think, according to their understanding and education, that this universe is without God; others believe there is God, basing their assertions on various irrefutable arguments, founded on texts, declaring difference between soul and God, and anxious to establish the existence of God. These and many other sages with various different denominations, have been declared in the Sãstras as leaders of the human mind into delusions. It is not possible to describe fully the doctrines of these persons so fond of quarrel and contention; people thus wander in this universe, being driven away from the path of emancipation.

"Having studied all the Sãstras and having pondered over them well, again and again, this Yoga Sãstras has been found to be the only true and firm doctrine. Since by Yoga all this verily is known as a certainty, all exertion should be made to acquire it. What is the necessity then of any other doctrines? This Yoga Sãstras, now being declared by us, is a very secret doctrine, only to be revealed to a high souled pious devotee throughout the three worlds."

[5] Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, i, 13. Compare Gheranda Samhitã, opening verse, "I salute that Adîvara who taught first the science of Hatha Yogaa science that stands out as a ladder that leads to the higher heights of Raja Yoga."

[6] For the life and teachings see Briggs, Gorakhnãth and the Kãnphata Yogis. See also Mitra, Yoga Vãsishtha Mahãrãmãyana of Vãlmîki, and Evans-Wentz, Tibets Great Yogi Milarepa.

[7] For biographical accounts of two other renowned Yogis see Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, i, 4-10 Compare the opening discussion in Gheranda Samhitã, i, 1-11: "Once Canda-Kãpãli went to the hermitage of Gheranda, saluted him with great reverence and devotion, and inquired of him, 0 Master of Yoga! 0 best of the Yogins! 0 Lord! I wish now to hear the physiological Yoga, which leads to the knowledge of truth (or Tattva-Jñana). Well asked, indeed, 0 mighty armed! I shall tell thee, 0 child! what thou askest me. Attend to it with diligence. There are no fetters like those of Illusion (Mãyã), no strength like that which comes from discipline (Yoga), there is no friend higher than knowledge (Jñana), and no greater enemy than Egoism (Ahamkãra). As by learning the alphabets one can, through practice, master all the sciences, so by thoroughly practising first the (physical) training, one acquires the Knowledge of the True. On account of good and bad deeds, the bodies of all animated beings are produced, and the bodies give rise to work (Karma which leads to rebirth) and thus the circle is continued like that of a rotating mill. As the rotating mill in drawing water from a well goes up and down, moved by the bullocks (filling and exhausting the buckets again and again), so the soul passes through life and death moved by its Deeds. Like unto an unbaked earthen pot thrown in water, the body is soon decayed (in this world). Bake it hard in the fire of Yoga in order to strengthen and purify the body.

"The seven exercises which appertain to this Yoga of the body are the following :- Purification, strengthening, steadying, calming, and those leading to lightness, perception, and isolationist The purification is acquired by the regular performance of six practices (purification processes); and. Asana or posture Drdhatã or strength; 3rd Mudrã gives Sthiratã or steadiness; 4th Pratyãhãra gives Dhîratã or calmness; 5th Prãnãyãma gives lightness or Laghiman; 6th Dhyãna gives perception (Pratyaksatva) of Self; and 7th Samãdhi gives isolation (Nirliptatã), which is verily the Freedom. "

[8] Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, i, 11.

[9] Ibid., 17-18. Requirements for different, forms of Yoga are discussed in Siva Samhitã, v, 10-14:

"Know that aspirants are of four orders:-mild, moderate, ardent and the most ardentthe best who can cross the ocean of the world.

"(Mild) entitled to Mantra-Yoga. Men of small enterprise, oblivious, sickly and finding faults with their teachers; avaricious sinful gourmands, and attached helplessly to their wives; fickle, timid, diseased, not independent, and cruel; those whose characters are bad and who are weakknow all the above to be mild sãdhaks. With great efforts such men succeed in twelve years; them the teacher should know fit for the Mantra-Yoga.

"(Moderate) entitled to Laya-Yoga. Liberalminded, merciful, desirous of virtue, sweet in their speech; who never go to extremes in any undertakingthese are the middling. These are to be initiated by the teacher in Laya-Yoga.

"(Ardent) entitled to Hatha Yoga. Steady-minded, knowing the Laya-Yoga, independent, full of energy, magnanimous, full of sympathy, forgiving, truthful, courageous, full of faith, worshippers of the lotus-feet of their Gurus, engaged always in the practice of Yogaknow such men to be adhimãtra. They obtain success in the practice of Yoga within six years, and ought to be initiated in Hatha-Yoga and its branches.

"(The most ardent) entitled to all Yogas. Those who have the largest amount of energy, are enterprising, engaging, heroic, who know the Sãstras, and are persevering, free from the effects of blind emotions, and, not easily confused, who are in the prime of their youth, moderate in their diet, rulers of their senses, fearless, clean, skilful, charitable, a help to all; competent, firm, talented, contented, forgiving, goodnatured, religious, who keep their endeavours secret, of sweet speech, peaceful, who have faith in scriptures and are worshippers of God and Guru, who are averse to fritter away their time in society, and are free from any grievous malady, who are acquainted with the duties of the adhimãtra, and are the practitioners of every kind of Yogaundoubtedly, they obtain success in three years; they are entitled to be initiated in all kinds of Yoga, without any hesitation. "

[10] Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, i, 15-16. Compare the discussion of obstacles given in Siva Samhitã, v, 1-8: "Pãrvatî said, 0 Lord, 0 beloved Sankara! tell me, for the sake of those whose minds search after the supreme end, the obstacles and the hindrances to Yoga. Siva said, Hear, 0 Goddess! I shall tell thee all the obstacles that stand in the path of Yoga. For the attainment of emancipation enjoyments (Bhoga) are the greatest of all impediments.

"BHOGA (enjoyment). Women, beds, seats, dresses, and riches are obstacles to Yoga. Betels, dainty dishes, carriages, kingdoms, lordliness and powers; gold, silver, as well as copper, gems, aloe wood, and kine; learning the Vedas and the Sãstras; dancing, singing and ornaments; harp, flute and drum; riding on elephants and horses; wives and children, worldly enjoyments; all these are so many impediments. These are the obstacles which arise from bhoga (enjoyment). Hear now the impediments which arise from ritualistic religion.

"DHARMA (Ritualism of Religion). The following are the obstacles which dharma interposes: ablutions, worship of deities, observing the sacred days of the moon, fire, sacrifice, hankering after Moksa, vows and penances, fasts, religious observances, silence, the ascetic practices, contemplation and the object of contemplation, Mantras, and alms-giving, worldwide fame, excavating and endowing of tanks, wells, ponds, convents and groves; sacrifices, vows of starvation, Chãndrãyana, and pilgrimages.

"JNANA (Knowledge-obstacles). Now I shall describe, 0 Pãrvati, the obstacles which arise from knowledge. Sitting in the Gomukha posture and practising Dhauti (washing the intestines by Hatha Yoga). Knowledge of the distribution of the nãdis (the vessels of the human body), learning of pratyãhãra (subjugation of senses), trying to awaken the Kundalinî force, by moving quickly the belly (a process of Hatha Yoga), entering into the path of the Indriyas, and knowledge of the action of the Nãdis; these are the obstacles. Now listen to the mistaken notions of diet, 0! Pãrvati.

"That Samãdhi (trance) can be at once induced by drinking certain new chemical essences and by eating certain kinds of food, is a mistake. Now hear about the mistaken notion of the influence of company.

"Keeping the company of the virtuous, and avoiding that of the vicious (is a mistaken notion). Measuring of the heaviness and lightness of the inspired and expired air (is an erroneous idea).

"Brahman is in the body or He is the maker of form, or He has a form, or He has no form, or He is everythingall these consoling doctrines are obstacles. Such notions are impediments in the shape of Jñana (Knowledge). "

[11] The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, i, 2. Patañjali is considered to be the Father of Yoga, for it is believed that he first recorded systematically the practices.

[12] The posture does not necessarily have to be a sitting one, for some are standing upright, lying down, bending or standing on the head. See also Gheranda Samhitã, ii, 36, "Stand straight on one leg (the left), bending the right leg, and placing the right foot on the root of the left thigh; standing thus like a tree on the ground, is called the [Vrksãsana] tree posture"; see illustration. Ibid., 19: "Lying flat on the ground (on ones back) like a corpse is called the Mrtãsana (Corpse-posture). This posture destroys fatigue, and quiets the agitation of the mind." This posture is sometimes called savãsana. Compare Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, i, 34: "Lying down on the ground like a corpse, is called Savãsana. It removes fatigue and gives rest to the mind." In padhahasthãsana the Yogi stands and touches his feet with his hands (see illustration). In vãmadaksinapadãsana the legs are brought up to right angles with the body, a kind of goose step. Other postures will be described further on.

[13] The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, ii, 46. Vãchaspati is a famous commentator on the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali.

[14] Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, i, 19.

[15] Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, i, 21-57. The text points out that they are not all necessary. See 35-6: "iva taught eighty-four ãsanas. Of these the first four being essential ones, I am going to explain them here. These four are: Siddha, Padma, Simha, and Bhadra. Even of these, the Siddhãsana being very comfortable, one should always practise it." Siddhãsana and padmãsana will be discussed more fully elsewhere. Simhãsana is described in the text, i, 52-4: "Press the heels on both sides of the seam of the scrotum in such a way that the left heel touches the right side and the right heel touches the left side of it. Place the hands on the knees, with stretched fingers, and keeping the mouth open and the mind collected, gaze on the tip of the nose. This is Simhãsana, held secret by the best of Yogis. This excellent ãsana effects the completion of the three Bandhas. (Mûlabandha, Kantha or Jãlandhara Bandha and Uddiyãna Bandha)."

Compare Gheranda Samhitã, ii, 14-15: "The two heels to be placed under the scrotum contrariwise (i.e., left heel on the right side and the right heel on the left side of it) and turned upwards, the knees to be placed on the ground, and the hands placed on the knees, mouth to be kept open; practising the Jãlandhara mudrã one should fix his gaze on the tip of the nose. This is the Simhãsana (Lion posture), the destroyer of all diseases."

For Bhadrãsana see Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, i, 55-7: "Place the heels on either side of the seam of the scrotum, keeping the left heel on the left side and the right one on the right side, hold the feet firmly joined to one another with both the hands. This Bhadrãsana is the destroyer of all the diseases. The expert Yogis calls this Gorakãsana. By sitting with this ãsana, the Yogi gets rid of fatigue."

Compare Gheranda Samhitã, ii, 9-10: "Place the heels crosswise under the testes attentively; cross the hands behind the back and take hold of the toes of the feet. Fix the gaze on the tip of the nose, having previous adopted the Mudrã called jãlandhara. This is the Bhadrãsana (or happy posture) which destroys all sorts of disease." A different posture is described for Goraksãsana in Gheranda Samhitã, ii, 24-5: "Between the knees and the thighs, the two feet turned upward and placed in a hidden way, the heels being carefully covered by the two hands outstretched; the throat being contracted, let one fix the gaze on the tip of the nose. This is called Gorakãsana. It gives success to the Yogins."

[16] Gheranda Samhitã, ii, 1-6. Compare Siva Samhitã, iii, 84: "There are eighty-four postures of various modes. Out of them, four ought to be adopted, which I mention below:- i. Siddhãsana; a. Padmãsana; 3. Ugrãsana [Pascimottãnãsana]; 4. Svastikãsana." All but the last of these postures will be given later. Svastikãsana is described, iii, 95-7: "Place the soles of the feet completely under the thighs, keep the body straight and sit at ease. This is called the Svastikãsana. In this way the wise Yogi should practise the regulation of the air. No disease can attack his body, and he obtains Vãyu Siddhi. This is also called the Sukhãsana (the easy posture). This health-giving, good Svastikãsana should be kept secret by the Yogi."

Compare Gheranda Samhitã, ii, 13: "Drawing the legs and thighs together and placing the feet between them, keeping the body in its easy condition and sitting straight, constitute the posture called the Svastikãsana."

Compare Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, i, 21, "Having kept both the feet between the knees and the thighs, with body straight, when one sits calmly, it is called Svastikãsana."