This entry follows “Things to Avoid” from chapter one.
My input amidst verses is in [brackets] and in color when commenting. Kripalu commentary is in plain text.
The following is a rendering of verses 57 to 58 approximately (in bold black Italics)—verses are numbered differently in different editions:
The best of yogis who has no fatigue from practicing postures [asana] should perform the continued practices of the purification of the energy channels , the energy seals, the purifying action of the suspension of the life energy, etc.
Energy channels (nadis). There are 72,000 nadis in the body. The three main nadis are the ida (eeda), the cooling moon channel, the pingala (ping’-gala), the warming sun channel, and the sushumna, the central channel through which the united sun and moon, apana and prana, try to travel upward as a single evolutionary force, kundalini. Or you could say that the commotion caused by their union “awakens” Kundalini. This all begins with asana (called “postures” in this translation).
Energy seals (mudras). Mudras are for the purpose of sealing in energy when a nadi has been purified. Mudras occur of their own volition, at exactly the right time.
Suspension of the life energy (pranayama). Pranayama is most often taught as breathing techniques and exercises, but the translator has given us its real meaning: the suspension, or the stopping of the movement, of prana, the life energy. So pranayama is to be take literally here: prana (life energy) yama (restrained, not moving, suspended). When the prana is not moving, the mind is not moving, and vise versa.
Purifying actions (kriyas). Kriyas are actions produced by prana, the life energy, for the purpose of purification. All the various kriyas, pranayamas and mudras are associated with purification. Divine-sound uniting is the next step, and is included in Royal Yoga.
The continued practice of sun-moon yoga occurs in this order: posture, various kinds of holds, the method called energy seal, and divine-sound uniting.
1. Posture (asana)
2. Holds (bandha)
3. Energy Seal (mudra)
4. Divine-Sound Uniting (nada yoga)
Posture (asana). (Asana has been discussed previously.)
Holds (bandhas). Locks. Energy is locked (held) at a certain place in the body in order to concentrate the energy there and to retain what has been purified rather than letting it get away. Locks, or holds, are also used by the purifying actions of prana to prevent impurities from rising beyond a certain point (where the lock is), taking impurities with it and causing uncomfortable symptoms.
Divine-sound uniting (nada yoga). There are two kinds of divine sound: struck divine sound (divine sound produced by striking something) and unstruck divine sound (sound that occurs without any means). Struck divine sound is caused by desire, and unstruck divine sound occurs of its own accord. Only the yogi knows it.
There are many kinds of unstruck divine sounds which are either gross or subtle. In meditation, the mind exists, one hears subtle divine sounds, and one has divine visions. The mind, divine light and divine sounds ultimately cease to exist and divine-sound-uniting eventually becomes no-mind union—even though no mind or divine sounds remain in this state, it is not unconsciousness, it is union with the Absolute. Thus, nada yoga is the beginning of Royal Yoga.
The journey of sun-moon yoga is very difficult and quite long. After it is accomplished, the journey of royal yoga is easy, because at that time the yogi is endowed with omniscience and detachment. It does not matter at all whether that journey is completed in one year or in ten years, because in it he receives the support of knowledge and detachment. The difficulty is in the hard-to-complete journey of sun-moon yoga. In it, the firm steadfastness of a year seems like that of a millennium.
Omniscience and detachment. These two words give us an idea of how to know when Hatha Yoga is complete.
Omniscience — All-knowingness
Detachment — Neutrality, impartiality
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This concludes my entries on the Hatha Yoga Pradipika for the time being. I find the HYP to be especially qualified as a “mystical” writing, but I haven’t seen evidence of much interest in these entries. I can only discern interest when there are Replies—comments or questions or sharing of related experiences—and there have been only two of these.
So next week, it’s on to something new. Any suggestions?