By Svatmarama of the Natha Tradition (15th Century AD)
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is said to be directly linked to the Pashupata Sutras of Lakulisha, brought back from gradual decline by Matsyendra (950 AD). The author, Svatmarama, having commentaries on these Sutras from various Masters available to him in his time (only one remains today), selected verses from them, organized them, and added verses of his own.
There are four chapters in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika: Asana [posture, position and disposition], Pranayama [life force restraint], Mudra [energy seal], and Samadhi [equanimity], in that order.
Why am I starting all over again?
Those of you who know me have often heard me say that the most important piece of a yogic scripture is at the beginning—the punch line always comes first, as Yogeshwar would say.
Also, I thought you might like to have the verses we have already done all together in the one place along with a second translation for comparison. (See the Archives for previous entries.) And as a special treat, I have added two more verses.
The first paragraph of each verse is a translation from Swami Kripalvananda’s Revealing the Secret, which was later translated into English by Professor M. D. Pant of the Sanskrit Institute of Almora, India. The titles given to the verses are from this work.
The second paragraph of each verse is a translation from Pancham Sinh, Sri Satguru Publications, Shakti Nagar, Delhi, India, first published in 1914.
CHAPTER ONE — ASANA
Remembering Revered Kind Dissolver
For aspirants intending to mount to the most high royal yoga, the sun-moon teaching taught by Lord First Master makes a splendid ladder; respectful salutations (obeisance) to that Lord First Master.
Salutations to Shri Adinatha who expounded the knowledge of Hatha Yoga, which like a staircase leads the aspirant to the high pinnacled Raja Yoga.
[You’re on your own, now.]
Remembering the Revered Truth Teacher
I, Svatmarama Yogi, having bowed down to my Master Teacher, am giving instruction in the sun-moon teaching only for the attainment of royal yoga.
Yogin Swatmarama, after saluting first his Guru Srinatha explains Hatha Yoga for the attainment of Raja Yoga.
The Small Burning Lamp of Sun-Moon Yoga
For those who do not know royal yoga due to the false knowledge in the pitch darkness of countless doctrines (belief systems), Beloved Treasury of Compassion Yogi Svatmarama holds the burning lamp in the form of The Small Burning Sun-Moon Lamp.
Owing to the darkness arising from the multiplicity of opinions people are unable to know the Raja Yoga. Compassionate Swatmarama composes the Hatha Yoga Pradipika like a torch to dispel it.
Beloved King-Among-Yogis Matsyendra Master, Beloved Great Yogi Goraksha Master, and other Masters, know sun-moon teaching well, and through their grace, this Svatmarama Yogi also knows this teaching.
Matsyendra, Goraksha, etc., knew Hatha Vidya [vidya, knowledge], and by their favor Yogi Swatmarama also learnt it from them.
Revered First Master, Matsyendra Master, Shabara Master, Ananda, Bhairava Master, Chaurangi Master, Mina Master, Goraksha Master, Virupaksha Master, Vileshaya Master, Yogi Manthana Master, Bhairava Master, Siddha Master, Buddha Master, Kanthadi Master, Korantaka Master, Surananda Master, Siddhipada Master, Charpati Master, Kaneri Master, Pujyapada Master, Nitya Master, Nirañjana Master, Kapali Master, Bindu Master, Kakachandishvara Master, Allama Master, Prabhudeva Master, Ghoda Master, Choli Master, Tintini Master, Bhanuki Master, Naradeva Master, Khanda Master, Kapalika Master, and other Masters — these great accomplished ones of old, rising above death, roam the whole of creation.
5. The following Siddhas (masters) are said to have existed in former times: Shri Adhinatha, Matsyendra Master, Shabara Master, Ananda, Bhairava Master, Chaurangi Master, Mina Master, Goraksha Master, Virupaksha Master, Vileshaya Master,
6. Yogi Manthana Master, Bhairava Master, Siddha Master, Buddha Master, Kanthadi Master, Korantaka Master, Surananda Master, Siddhipada Master, Charpati Master,
7. Kaneri Master, Pujyapada Master, Nitya Master, Nirañjana Master, Kapali Master, Bindu Master, Kaka Chandishvara Master,
8. Allama Master, Prabhudeva Master, Ghoda Master, Choli Master, Tintini Master, Bhanuki Master, Naradeva Master, Khanda Master, Kapalika Master.
9. These Mahasiddhas (great masters), breaking the sceptre of death, are roaming in the universe.
The Two Aspects of Sun-Moon Yoga: Hut and Tortoise
For people being burned by the three types of burning afflictions – spiritual (of the soul), physical (of matter), and supernatural (of the ‘shining ones’: the gods, planets or stars) – sun-moon yoga is the best refuge, like a ‘place of rest’ (a sanctuary); and for aspirants practicing yoga of all kinds – knowledge yoga, devotional yoga, action yoga, etcetera – it is also the tortoise that forms the foundation.
Like a house protecting one from the heat of the sun, Hatha Yoga protects its practicer from the burning heat of the three Tapas; and, constantly devoted to the practice of Yoga.
The Command of Yogic Scripture: The Sun-Moon Teaching Should Be Kept Hidden
The yogi aspiring to accomplishment must keep this sun-moon teaching well hidden, for unmanifested teaching is potent and manifested teaching is impotent.
A Yogi desirous of success should keep the knowledge of Hatha Yoga secret; for it becomes potent by concealing, and impotent by exposing.
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. (Four cubits is about 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 45.6 cm.)
The Yogi should pracise Hatha Yoga in a small room, situated in a solitary place, being 4 cubits square, and free from stones, fire, water, disturbances of all kinds, and in a country where justice is properly administered, where good people live, and food can be obtained easily and plentifully.
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 [pests, i.e., insects, etc.], 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.
The room should have a small door, be free from holes, hollows, neither too high nore too low, well plastered with cow-dung and free from dirt, filth and insects. On its outside there should be bowers, raised platform (chabootra), a well, and a compound. these characteristics of a room for Hatha Yogis have been described by adepts in the practice of Hatha.
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.
Having seated is such a room and free from all anxieties, he should practise Yoga, as instructed by his guru.
The Six Enemies
Overeating, overexertion, chattering [talking all the time outside of meditation], stubborn persistence regarding disciplines (forcing), the company of people [socializing], and restlessness [resulting from socializing]: through these six defects, yoga is lost.
Yoga is destroyed by the following six causes: Over-eating, exertion, talkativeness, adhering to rules, i.e., cold bath in the morning, eating at night or eating fruits only, company of men, and unsteadiness.
[When one of these becomes powerful, the remaining five begin to arise.]
The Six True Friends
Yoga is accomplished through enthusiasm (generated by yogic experiences), courage (through faith in yogic scripture, God and guru), steadfastness [stability of practice; true detachment], knowledge of the essence (accurate knowledge of body, energy, mind, discrimination, ego, soul, and the Absolute, acquired from scripture, practice and guru), certainty (doubt-free knowledge), and abandonment of the company of people (it is best to live alone).
The following six bring speedy success: Courage, daring, perseverance, discriminative knowledge, faith, aloofness from company.
[When one of these becomes powerful, the remaining five begin to arise.]