Hatha Yoga Pradipika

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The Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā (Sanskrit: haṭhayōgapradīpikā, हठयोगप्रदीपिका) is a classic Sanskrit manual on hatha yoga, written by Svāmi Svātmārāma, a disciple of Swami Gorakhnath. It is among the most influential surviving texts on the hatha yoga, and is one of the three classic texts of hatha yoga, the other two being the Gheranda Samhita and the Shiva Samhita. A fourth major text, written at a later date by Srinivasabhatta Mahayogaindra, is the Hatharatnavali.[1]

Different manuscripts of this work offer various versions of its title. The database of the A. C. Woolner manuscript project at the Library of the University of Vienna gives the following variant titles, gleaned from different manuscript colophons: Haṭhayogapradīpikā, Haṭhapradīpikā, Haṭhapradī, Hath-Pradipika.[2]

The text was written in 15th century CE. The author, Svātmārāma, incorporated older Sanskrit concepts into his popular synthesis.

The Haṭhayogapradīpikā It has been translated into English more than once (see bibliography below).

The Haṭhayogapradīpikā consists four chapters which include information about asanas, pranayama, cakras, kundalini, bandhas, kriyās, śakti, nāḍīs and mudrās among other topics. It runs in the line of Hindu yoga (to distinguish from Buddhist and Jain yoga) and is dedicated to Śrī (Lord) ādi nāthā (Adinatha), a name for Lord Shiva (the Hindu god of destruction and renewal), who is believed to have imparted the secret of haṭha yoga to his divine consort Pārvatī.

Recent research[edit]

New research on the history of yoga in medieval India is throwing much new light on the origins and meaning of Haṭha Yoga.[3]

Mallinson, for example, examining the philosophical sources of Svātmārāma's work, has noted that,

In its classical formulation as found in Svātmārāma’s Haṭhapradīpikā, haṭhayoga is a Śaiva appropriation of an older extra-Vedic soteriological method. But this appropriation was not accompanied by an imposition of Śaiva philosophy. In general, the texts of haṭhayoga reveal, if not a disdain for, at least an insouciance towards metaphysics. Yoga is a soteriology that works regardless of the yogin’s philosophy. But the various texts that were used to compile the Haṭhapradīpikā [...] were not composed in metaphysical vacua. Analysis of their allusions to doctrine shows that the texts from which Svātmārāma borrowed most were products of a Vedantic milieu—bearing testament to Vedānta’s newfound interest in yoga as a complement to jñāna—but that many others were Śaiva non-dual works. Because of the lack of importance given to the niceties of philosophy in haṭhayogic works, these two non-dualities were able to combine happily and thus the Śaiva tenets incorporated within haṭhayoga survived the demise of Śaivism as part of what was to become in the medieval period the dominant soteriological method in scholarly religious discourse in India.[4]

Birch has investigated the evolution of the meaning of the Sanskrit word haṭha, and in particular the key role of the Haṭhayogapradīpikā in popularizing a particular interpretation of this term. Birch noted,

In compiling the Hathapradīpikā it is clear that Svātmārāma drew material from many different sources on various systems of Yoga such as Yajñavalkya's and Vasistha's Aṣṭāngayoga, the Amanaskayoga's Rājayoga, the Vivekamārtaṇḍa's Ṣaḍdaṅgayoga, Ādināth's Khecarīvidyā, the Virūpākṣanātha's Amṛtasiddhi, and so on. He assembled it under the name of Haṭhayoga and, judging from the vast number of manuscripts of the Haṭhapradīpikā, its numerous commentaries, and the many references to it in late medieval Yoga texts, his Haṭhayoga grew in prominence and eclipsed many of the former Yogas. As a label for the diverse Yoga of the Haṭhapradīpikā, Haṭhayoga became a generic term. However, a more specific meaning of the term is seen in the tenth- to eleventh-century Buddhist tantric commentaries, and this meaning is confirmed by an examination of the adverbial uses of the word haṭha in the medieval Yoga texts predating the Haṭhapradīpikā. Rather than the metaphysical explanation of uniting the sun (ha) and moon (ṭha), it is more likely that the name Haṭhayoga was inspired by the meaning 'force'. The descriptions of force fully moving kundalinī, apāna, or bindu upwards through the central channel suggest that the "force" of Haṭhayoga qualifies the effects of its techniques, rather than the effort required to perform them.[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Swami Muktibodhananda Saraswati and Swami Satyananda Saraswati. Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Yoga Publications Trust, 2000, ISBN 978-81-85787-38-1, p. 1.
  2. ^ University of Vienna. "Svātmārāma - Collected Information". A Study of the Manuscripts of the Woolner Collection, Lahore. University of Vienna. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  3. ^ See, e.g., the work of the members of the Modern Yoga Research cooperative
  4. ^ Mallinson, James (2014). "Haṭhayoga’s Philosophy: A Fortuitous Union of Non-Dualities". Journal of Indian Philosophy 42 (1): 225–247. doi:10.1007/s10781-013-9217-0. 
  5. ^ Birch, Jason (2011). "The Meaning of haṭha in Early Haṭhayoga". Journal of the American Oriental Society 131: 527–554. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 

External links[edit]

Works related to Hatha Yoga Pradipika at Wikisource