Hatha Yoga Pradipika 6 – vs 1:12-14 – Sanctuary

Continuing from the previous three entries on the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (see Archives):

12  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.

[Four cubits is about about 6 feet, or 1.82 meters. A cubit is roughly the measure of the forearm from the end of the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, about a foot and a half, or about 45.6 cm.]

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. 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 . . .

What is Kripalu attempting to convey with the use of the English word “worship”?  Well, what else is there in the English language to be used here?  He might have said “practice” but you would possibly take this to mean some kind of willful action that you do deliberately, and miss any sense of surrender. By using the word worship, this is being avoided while still giving us a sense of sun-moon worship as an action that gets repeated.

♦ ♦ ♦

13  What Kind of Yogic Sanctuary Should There Be? 

Accomplished great persons 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 [animals, insects, etcetera], and on the outside, have a pavilion (sheltered platform) [porch], 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, 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.

♦ ♦ ♦

14  Instruction

Residing permanently in the hut mentioned above, being free from all concerns, the aspirant should unceasingly perform only correct practice of yoga in accordance with the path indicated by the revered truth teacher.

Kripalu says . . .

For the yogic worshipper there is only one journey to make:  The journey of yoga. An individual deviating here and there cannot do yogic worship. The yogic worshipper is not attracted to [accomplishing] ethical action, worldly success, and pleasure, so he has no concern in his mind. Then can he be said to be free from concern?

When there is progress in yogic worship, the yogic worshipper has various experiences; accordingly, he becomes very happy. Among them [the experiences] there are also a few of a type that he fails to understand, being unable to tell if they are [valid yogic] experiences or a disturbance (an uprising, a revolt, a relapse). At that point he becomes distressed by grief. This is his concern. At this place the supremely kind beloved teacher gives this instruction:  “Abandon all concerns. There is no reason to be afraid because you are graced; you are protected by Master-of-Yoga Lord First Master and the revered truth-teacher god. Be fearless, and being free from concern, remain absorbed in yogic worship.”

In the devotional yogi there is unchanging faith, in the knowledge yogi there is firm resolve, and in the action yogi there is incomparable prowess. In adverse situations the devotional yogi proceeds with the support of faith, the knowledge yogi with that of resolve, and the action yogi with that of prowess.

The liberation-seeking aspirant, residing in solitude, practices only yoga. He is not attracted to worldly activities, so he is free from outer disturbances. Only internal distractions occur, resulting now and then from the technique of yoga.  Additional distractions occur for the aspirant who is attracted to worldly activities in addition to his yogic worship, and he cannot do yogic systematic practice at his ease [in the natural flow]. The instruction of the beloved teacher is: “Only do the continued practice of yoga!” What this means is the prohibition of worldly mental tendencies. Just as the householder stage of life is a hindrance in the student stage of life, the householder stage of life is a hindrance in the renunciate stage of life. Liberation worship is a special kind of systematic practice; in it mental stability is indispensable. In it there should not be even one outer attraction. If there is, distractions will also continue in worship.  Truly, soul-surrender (soul-entrusting, soul-handing-over) is renunciation! This is the root of liberation systematic practice.

Durga Ma says . . .

You may wonder about the use of the word “technique” in this comment. The definition I have given you of is, “Doing something a certain way in order to achieve a certain result.”  This is exactly what he means, but as practitioners of Surrender Meditation you must remember WHO and WHAT is doing the doing.

♦ ♦ ♦

Durga Ma

3 thoughts on “Hatha Yoga Pradipika 6 – vs 1:12-14 – Sanctuary

  1. Pingback: Practice | Mystical Tidbits

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

  3. Pingback: Hatha Yoga Pradipika — Asana, Continued | Mystical Tidbits

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