Hatha Yoga Pradipika 5 – vs 1:12-13

These two verses give guidelines for what you will need for the practice of hatha yoga (sun-moon union), which represents the majority of time spent doing yoga sadhana. You will have to figure out the purpose of these conditions, as written by this long-ago master from another civilization in another climate with a different social structure.

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12   A Suitable Region and Sanctuary

In an uninhabited place in some well-ruled, generous of alms, disturbance-free, and ethical region; where to the measure of a bow’s length, to four cubits distance, there are no rocks, fire, or water, the sun-moon yogi, having constructed a hermit’s hut, should dwell.  .

Kripalu says . . .
This seeker of liberation is an aspirant.  Liberation is his highest and last aim.  He has abandoned the world and he now intends to do yogic worship to the end of his life.  But now there is nowhere for him to go.  The worship of sun-moon yoga is a worship of a special type, so a suitable small hut is necessary for him.  His needs are very ordinary, therefore any ethical person can easily attend to them.  Entering a settlement, the aspirant asks for alms. This provides his sustenance. In the verse, three characteristics of the region are specified: it should be disturbance-free, ethical, and uninhabited.  If there is a settlement there of unethical or hostile people without a code of ethics, disturbance (trouble) is very likely; one should not build a sanctuary in such a place, because only in a disturbance-free place is the systematic practice of sun-moon yoga possible.  If it is an ethical region and there is a settlement of people without a code of ethics there, but no disturbance of any kind is likely, it is alright to build a small hut there.  In addition, in that solitary place, there should be no possibility of injury from violent living beings or anything else.  Under these favorable conditions, the worship of sun-moon yoga is possible.

Durga Ma says . . .
We are being told that certain conditions are necessary for the practice of this hatha sadhana.  The text is a product of the Indian continent, where climates are favorable, and were the culture is understanding of yoga sadhana and the prospect of aspirants seeking alms. This is is not looked down upon, but is understood to be an opportunity for the donor to add to his or her spiritual merit by making the offering. Though this practice may be taken advantage of by the occasional pretender falsely presenting himself as an aspirant, the tolerance of the Indian people has been instrumental in maintaining this ancient custom, and India thus remains the spiritual center of our world, having sustained itself, along with its spiritual nucleus of adepts, beyond any other nation. We westerners, however, live in an entirely different situation. So how can we understand this verse in a way that achieves its purpose?

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13   What Kind of Yogic Sanctuary Should There Be?

Adepts in the practice of sun-moon yoga have given this description of a yogic sanctuary: It should have a small door, have no chink (crack, peephole) or gap, have no pit, be level, be plastered with cow dung, be devoid of living creatures (insects, rodents, etc.), and on the outside, have a pavilion (sheltered platform), be graced by a sacrificial fire pit and a well, and be protected by a wall.

Kripalu says . . .
Why is this kind of sanctuary needed?  The answer cannot be obtained by using logic.  The answer will come as the aspirant continues to progress in his yogic systematic practice.  Of course, this description is from ancient times.  In the modern age, the sanctuary may be different, but it should incorporate all the good arrangements mentioned above. An uninhabited place, natural scenery, the desire for liberation, devotion to (passion for) yogic worship [practice], the study of scripture, the grace of the teacher, and a true feeling of detachment; these are the yogic aspirant’s provisions for the journey.

Durga Ma says . . .
Think it through. Think how you can translate all this into NOW ? (Incidentally, I hear that cow dung is an excellent building material, and helps keep out nasty critters like mosquitoes.)

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Durga Ma
durgama.com

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3 thoughts on “Hatha Yoga Pradipika 5 – vs 1:12-13

  1. Pingback: Hatha Yoga Pradipika – Ordered List of Entries With Links | Mystical Tidbits

  2. I often think about my dual roles as householder and spiritual
    aspirant. Am I too attached to the world because I don’t want to give
    up my husband and son and retire to a hermit’s hut? I try to
    appreciate and love them as a gift, here with me for now, but who
    knows about tomorrow? I do have a meditation hut in my back yard,
    replete with heat, air conditioner, electric blanket, expensive
    candles, etc.. And of course I have to go to work every day to pay
    all the bills for this. I think this scripture is saying we have to
    separate ourselves from worldly disturbances, simplify our wants, keep
    ourselves and our sanctuary clean and pure, and ultimately trust that
    God will provide for us as we do our Sadhana. This may be a duplicate, trying to figure out how to post. I can’t see my posts.
    Love, Prakriti

    Like

  3. prakriti

    I often think about my dual roles as householder and spiritual
    aspirant. Am I too attached to the world because I don’t want to give
    up my husband and son and retire to a hermit’s hut? I try to
    appreciate and love them as a gift, here with me for now, but who
    knows about tomorrow? I do have a meditation hut in my back yard,
    replete with heat, air conditioner, electric blanket, expensive
    candles, etc.. And of course I have to go to work every day to pay
    all the bills for this. I think this scripture is saying we have to
    separate ourselves from worldly disturbances, simplify our wants, keep
    ourselves and our sanctuary clean and pure, and ultimately trust that
    God will provide for us as we do our Sadhana.
    Love, Prakriti

    Like

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