Hatha Yoga Pradipika 7 – vs I:1-16 Synopsis

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.

Two Translations

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.

Like this:


Verse 1
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.]

Verse 2
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.

Verse 3
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.

Verse 4
The Lineage

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.

Verse 5-9
Former Teachers

Kripalu (5-9):
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.

Verse 10
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.

Verse 11
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.

Verse 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. (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.

Verse 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 [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.

Verse 14

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.

Verse 15
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.]

Verse 16
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.]

Durga Ma

Guru Gita – Part 3 of 4

Concerning the Importance of Guru, Discipleship, Practices and Actions

From another version.

Know for certain that the conscious Self and the Guru are truly one. For this reason, one who is wise will seek one’s Guru.

Because of the darkness of the mind, the secret knowledge of Truth is concealed, but by Her light and the Guru’s word, the Mother of all comes to be revealed.

O Parvati, because I love you I will make this known: Everyone’s misfortunes and errors can be washed away by serving the Guru’s feet with love. By this practice, one becomes one with God.

All sacred waters bestow no greater reward than this, so sprinkle the water of the Guru’s feet upon your head with your mind attached to the Guru’s feet.

The mire of impurities will be washed away and the knowledge of Truth will shine through. With the water of the Guru’s feet, one crosses the ocean of ignorance.

Ignorance and attachment can be overcome, the round of births and deaths ended, and wisdom gained, by drinking the water of the Guru’s feet.

Drink that water of holiness, eat the remains of the Guru’s plate, meditate on the Guru’s form, and repeat the Guru’s mantra.

Kashi [Varanasi] is where the Guru dwells, and Ganga [the Ganges river] flows at the Guru’s feet. The Guru is God, the Lord and protector of the universe.

All the holy rivers, holy trees, sacred and holy places, are all contained in the Guru’s feet. I bow down to that beautiful form of the Guru.

Meditate on the Guru’s form, always think of the Guru’s name, fulfill the Guru’s wishes and needs, and always think of Guru.

The Guru’s knowledge awakes in one on whom the Guru has bestowed grace, so keep the Guru in your heart.

Let go of thinking of your life as your own, along with thoughts of fame, status or money. Nothing should be in your mind but the thought of the Guru’s name.

For one who loves Guru with one-pointed devotion, Godhood comes with ease. This is the highest goal, so one should strive to feel worthy of the Guru’s love.

The Guru’s wisdom cannot be learned, even from gods of the higher lokas [worlds], but the Guru’s knowledge awakes in one who serves the Guru with pure love.

“Gu” is darkness, “Ru” is light. The Guru, whose light of knowledge dispels the dark, is God without a doubt.

“Gu” is unceasing change, all that appears to the eyes [all the senses][the Relative Realm]. “Ru” is God in which all is contained and yet remains ever the same [Parabrahman, the Absolute].

Even gods yearn to tarry at the Guru’s feet, their highest goal. Angels in heaven called gandharvas, worship the Guru’s feet with love.

The wise say that nothing compares to the Truth-Guru, so one should offer as gifts, everything the Guru could need or use.

Devotees should delight their Guru with their gifts, but more than this, one should offer one’s life.

Serve the Guru with all your heart, in speech and in action, and before the Guru stretch out upon the ground. Give all your love to the Truth-Guru.

One must release wife or husband and give all to the Truth-Guru—senses, body, and breath—with all your soul.

Bones and blood and flesh will turn to ashes one day, so without delay, surrender to the Truth-Guru.

The tree of samsara* sinks below, along with souls who cling to it, but all are saved by the Guru’s grace. To that Truth Guru, I surrender.

* Samsara – the cycles of birth, death and suffering.

The Guru is Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. About this there is no doubt. God and Guru in fact are one. I surrender to that Guru.

Guru is the cause of the universe, the bridge to cross over change, and the source from which all knowledge comes. To Shiva the Guru I bow.

Ignorance blinds the eyes, but the Guru makes us to see again. With the Guru’s wisdom we are set free. Salutations I offer the Guru:

Salutations [prananams] to Guru:

You are my mother and father, my brother and sister, my wealth in this world of change. You are my God, my very Self. Salutations I offer You.

Because You are all this world appears to be, just as sun is the cause of light, all our joy is because of You. Salutations I offer You.

The mind can perceive this world, but You, the mind can never perceive. You are the witness behind all minds. Salutations I offer You.

By Your wisdom the Truth is known: the world and the Self are no longer two. The form of Truth is itself the Truth. Salutations I offer You.

♦ ♦ ♦

And on it goes, but I had to quit somewhere.

Regarding number 29:

“One must release wife or husband and give all to the Truth-Guru…”

Please keep in mind that these ancient mystical teachings are written in “final form”. In other words, they represent an ultimate ideal. In this shloka, this ideal might be better expressed to the Western mind as having a spouse’s genuine support of one’s spiritual endeavors or, even better, being on the path together. If you need to ease your heart, remember the source of this text: a conversation between Shiva (Parvati’s husband) and Parvati (Shiva’s wife), and review number 9…

“Know for certain that the conscious Self and the Guru are truly one…”

There are deeper meanings to this shloka of course, but I think this will do for now. Just keep looking for deeper teachings in what I’m sending you, what they mean and how they might apply to you in your current phase of sadhana. And remember, progress means change, so your understanding will change (increase) with time and practice.

Durga Ma

Who Guides Durga Ma?

The Visible Presence of God

It is assumed that guidance comes through one’s linage, which is essentially correct. Students rightly wanting to know my sources have often asked me about my lineage, and I have answered this question literally. But I have not given a complete answer until now.

I am guided by the Divine Mother.

Those of you who know me, knowing that my teaching lineage is a line of male masters, may wonder at this declaration. I will try to explain by revealing to you, several signs that presented themselves to me over a period of time:

1.  In the early days of my sadhana, twice I had the darshan of the Divine Mother. The first time it was She who drew me to Her. Though I didn’t realize who She was at the time, She gave me my second encounter with the Divine Light.1

2.  The second time I met Her was through Swami Kripalu. He took me to another world to receive Her darshan. It was here that I recognized Her from the previous encounter, though a year went by before I realized who She was, and that where Kripalu had taken me was siddha loka, the world of the adepts.

3.  Someone asked Kripalu what he thought of Anandamayi Ma. With his hands palms together and humble voice, he said simply, “She is God.”

4.  Yogeshwar asked me to “bring back the worship of the Goddess” without telling me what he meant by this or how to do it, and gave me four books on female masters. That all the women masters in these books had a man behind them in one way or another—a husband, a devotee, a sponsor—I found confusing. (I was aware that in Indian temples gods often have a shakti behind and above them, but goddesses do not have a male deity behind them.)

5.  Swami Kripalu came to me in meditation and advised me on something that was an issue in my life at the time. I remembered his words verbatim, and do to this very day. That same morning, as Bhavani and I were driving to see a property for sale north of Santa Rosa, I told her about the visitation and what Kripalu had said to me. When we reached our destination, the woman who answered the door turned out to be someone I had met in passing at the post office a couple of times, and though we recognized each other, she did not seem surprised to see me at her house.

She asked me if I had a guru. I said yes. She asked if his name was Kripalu and said that she had a message for me from him. She went on to say that he had come to her in a dream, told her his name and that I was coming. He also told her what he had said to me that very morning so that I would know that the message was truly from him. I did as he asked.

6.  In a bookshop in Marin County, I saw a book on Anandamayi Ma displayed in the center of the room and made a bee-line for it. The moment I picked it up, she zapped me so strongly with her shakti that a loud sound burst out of my mouth. I was blissfully stunned. When I became aware that everyone in the store had witnessed this and was starring at me, I stumbled out the door and couldn’t speak for a while. Anandamayi Ma has since had a place on my altar and in other rooms of any house I have lived in.

7.  Last night, I encountered the Divine Mother again and learned from Her that it is She who has provided for me, protected and guided me.

As I write this, I am reminded of the first encounter with Her. One piece of this experience involved a child lying on a couch whom I watched grow from infancy to adulthood within seconds. At the time I thought I must be seeing myself from birth to the current time, but upon seeing the Mother standing nearby at a window, I looked away from the child-now-adult, my attention fully on the Mother and the Light and the speed at which we were traveling through it. I now realize that She had been conveying to me through the growing child, that it was She who had watched over me since birth from this place of Divine Light.

So the situation is this: My connection with my teaching lineage remains in tact through Kripalu. I am guided by my Divine Mother. She is my counsel, my ally and my heart.

As She loves me, I love You,
Durga Ma



1 The first was the White Swami. See Living the Mysteries.