Goraksha Śataka

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The Goraksha Śataka (Sanskrit: गोरक्षशतक, "Goraksha's Hundred") is an early hatha yoga text, written in around the 10th century in the tantra tradition.[1]

Sixfold system[edit]

The Goraksha Śataka, unlike Ashtanga, the eightfold yoga of Patanjali, describes a system of six limbs: asana (posture), breath-restraint (which it calls pranasamrodha), pratyahara (withdrawal), dharana (concentration), meditation, and samadhi; omitting the first two limbs of Ashtanga, namely the Yamas and Niyamas. It recommends gradually increasing breath retention as the best way to samadhi.[2]

The text does not mention mantras;[3] nor does it speak of preserving the vital fluids of bindu or amrita, central to hatha yoga.[4]

Mudras[edit]

The Goraksha Śataka is one of the first hatha yoga texts in the tantra tradition. It teaches four of what became known as mudras. Three of these, Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha, and Jalandhara Bandha are used to force breath up into the central nadi or channel. The other, Shakti Chalana, "stimulating the goddess", is used to awaken Kundalini energy by pulling the tongue.[5]

Pranayama[edit]

The text states that pranayama, breath control, can bestow liberation by controlling the mind. It describes four techniques of sahita kumbhaka, "accompanied breath-retention", namely solar, victorious (ujjayi), cool, and bellows (bhastri).[6]

Chakras[edit]

The Goraksha Śataka mentions three "knots" (granthis), a kind of chakra, which have to be pierced to allow the Kundalini to pass through. The three are the knots of Brahma at the base of the Sushumna channel, of Vishnu at the heart, and of Rudra, between the eyebrows.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kuvalayananda 2006.
  2. ^ Mallinson & Singleton 2017, p. 326.
  3. ^ Mallinson & Singleton 2017, p. 262.
  4. ^ Mallinson 2016, pp. 109–140.
  5. ^ Mallinson & Singleton 2017, pp. 230–231, 243–244.
  6. ^ Mallinson & Singleton 2017, pp. 127, 131–133, 157–159.
  7. ^ Mallinson & Singleton 2017, pp. 175, 214–215.

Sources[edit]

  • Kuvalayananda, Swami (translator) (2006) [1954]. Goraksa-Satakam. Kaivalyadhama. ISBN 818948544X.
  • Mallinson, James (2016). "Śāktism and Haṭhayoga". In Wernicke-Olesen, Bjarne (ed.). Goddess Traditions in Tantric Hinduism: History, Practice and Doctrine (PDF). Routledge. pp. 109–140. ISBN 978-1317585213.
  • Mallinson, James; Singleton, Mark (2017). Roots of Yoga. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-241-25304-5. OCLC 928480104.

External links[edit]