Hatha Yoga Pradipika 14 — Virile Asana

Chapter One — Virasana

Continuing from The Cow’s Face Asana with one more verse.

The first translation and the Titles are from Swami Kripalu’s, Revealing the Secret, a commentary on the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

The second translation is from the Pancham Sinh edition.

Things in (parentheses) are from the edition concerned.
My own input amidst verses is in [brackets] and in color when commenting.

For persons using other editions, in this blog we are taking up at 21 in the Kripalu translation, which is 23 in the Sinh translation.

The Virile Posture

Firmly place the first foot on the second thigh, and the second foot on the first thigh; this is called the virile posture.

One foot is to be placed on the thigh of the opposite side, and so also the other foot on the opposite thigh. This is called Virasana.

Kripalu Commentary — Revealing the Secret

Someone will call out, “But that is the lotus posture! How can it be called the virile posture?”

This uncertainty is quite proper, but that lotus posture which has been called the virile posture is different from the lotus posture ordinarily found in meditation.

When a natural triple lock composed of the root lock, the flying-up lock, and the water-holder lock occurs in the lotus posture, and the palms are firmly placed on the soles of the feet, then, from the viewpoint of the sentiment (the emotional state, the mental state), the yogi appears to be a virile warrior, because at that time valor has spread throughout his body and mind.

This naturally occuring triple lock is composed of: 

1. The root lock—mulabandha, a lock at the first chakra, the muladhara, root-holder…

2. The flying-up lock—uddhiyanabandha, the flying up of prana and the contraction and locking of the diaphram at the third chakra…

3, The water-holder lock—jalandharabandha, the locking of the throat at the fifth chakra…

You can see all of this in the asana:

When this triple lock occurs in the lotus posture with the palms firmly placed on the soles of the feet, pressure is created, restricting the flow of blood.

From the yogi’s point of view, he feels virile—he experiences strength and energy—because at that time, he experiences this throughout his body and his mind.

Just as under the influence of defeat or misery, the mental tendencies slacken and the person becomes dejected and empty (down and out), so under the influence of victory or joy, the mental tendencies strengthen and the person becomes cheerful and virile.

When the yogi comes under the influence of despondency, misery, defeat, etc, there is a reduction of the level or strength of the energy of the body (consider the word, “depression” in a literal sense). We talked about this in the previous post.

“Dejected and empty” refers to a mode of purification. When the yogi feels successful and joyful, strength is regained and the mode of purification is tapas, heat.

The fire is called “the virile one”. When the fire of yoga is kindled in the body of the aspirant by means of continued practice, he receives the name “the virile one”.  Yoga is the best sacrifice of all. Indeed the fire of yoga is the sacrificial fire.

Now we find that “sacrifice” is not what we may previously have believed.  This is Good News. 

From the point of view of the followers of the Tantras (the scriptures that form the basis of the tantric system of yoga), the triple lock is the trident. Trident-bearing beloved Lord Kind Dissolver [Shiva] and trident-bearing Mother Black One [Kali] are incarnate in the body of the aspirant in which the triple lock occurs.

This is why it has been called the virile posture.

There is also another posture called the virile posture. In it, one foot is in the middle of the buttocks and, the knee being bent, the other foot is placed standing (with its sole on the ground). Lastly, the wrist of one hand is held firmly by the other hand.

Great singers of Indian scriptural music (the music that accords with the principles given in ancient Indian scripture) sit in this virile posture with their tanapura [or tambura] (four-stringed musical instrument made from a gourd).

I am reminded of one of Swami Kripalu’s writings in which he made an interesting opening statement that went something like this: For the last two years I have been studying yoga and music. This was written decades after he had begun yoga; he had been a musician during his lifetime, so there was special meaning to this statement. Some of my earlier entries address this pairing of music and yoga.

In illustrations, Great Virile Beloved Crusher (the monkey god) is portrayed in this posture.

In this picture, the monkey god, Hanuman, instead of holding his wrist, is displaying his ardent devotion to the divine couple, Rama (you) and Sita (your shakti) to whom he was deeply devoted. His “crusher” (lower left) represents the crushing of the mentally based desires that stood in the way of their union. This story is told in Valmiki’s Ramayana.

_________ ♦ ♦ ♦ _________

I think this is a good time to remind you that you are, and have been, reading about and looking at asanas in their final forms. For instance, the triple lock associated with virasana, consists of three locks that initially occur independently of each other.  It is only later in sadhana that they occur together. Their simultaneous occurrence is the final form of the triple lock (tribandha) as demonstrated in virasana.

Durga Ma


The Code of Pashupati 2 – Mystical Minibit

Here is a little bit of chapter two of the Pashupat Sutras for you to chew on. As usual, words and phrases inserted for clarification are in [brackets]:

Pashupat Sutras, Chapter 2, 1 – 11


of the player

of high standing

of Rudra*


from which all wishes/desires arise [and] are satisfied

and in this case, the inauspicious becomes auspicious

and what is to the Left moves to the Right.

Therefore, worship in both ways

like worshipping gods and ancestors,

but both kinds, gods and ancestors, are in Rudra.*
[So worship only Rudra for the cessation of all sorrows, since both are in Rudra anyway.]

* Rudra: “Roarer or Howler.”  The roaring, benevolent, purifying fire, bestowing strength and power and driving away all evil, said to have sprung from the forehead of Brahmaa (the Creative aspect of God).

Happy sleuthing.

Durga Ma

Fear of Death – Part 2 of 2

Can the fear of death be overcome?

Yes, it can. It is actually very simple. All that is needed is a little knowledge and a little experience. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be a little quiver of trepidation when the time comes, but that’s just the body having its say.

Stories and teachings about death and the afterlife are found in sacred writings of most spiritual and religious traditions, so finding a spiritual path and bothering yourself to try to understand the teachings of that path is a good source of knowledge. If an experienced teacher comes with the package, all the better.

Knowledge is a good thing, but personal experience is even more convincing. The practice that will give you the necessary experience to relieve the fear of death, is meditation. The sages tell us that even a little bit of meditation can accomplish this. Unfortunately, what many people think of as meditation isn’t really meditation at all. It is authentic meditation to which the sages refer.

Before you get in a swivet about having to ferret out this meditation business and then go the trouble of doing it, let me reassure you that it is no trouble at all. When I discovered that I didn’t have to twist the body into a pretzel or make it rigid with pain in order to meditate, I got excited. I could actually do this!

With everything one has to do to navigate life, it may seem like a challenge to find the time to meditate, but if I could only convey with words, all the gifts and wonders that it will bring you, you would be jumping up and down with delight, eager to begin.

Through meditation you can reap a huge harvest of benefits and wonders beyond your imagining. All you have to do is do it. It will be the smartest thing you’ve ever done in your life. I speak from experience. But let me be more specific:

♦ Through this practice, you will experience for yourself, that you do not need a body to see, hear, feel, smell or taste.

♦ You do not need a body to go places. In fact, you can go to more places more easily without one.

♦ You will even discover a multitude of undreamed of places that surpass imagination.

♦ With time, possibly only a year or two, you will experience what it is like on the other side of life without having to die for a few minutes and come back.

♦ With this practice, you will discover through your own experience, that your body is just a temporary residence and that YOU NEVER DIE.

Granted, you have to do this practice for a substantial amount of time on a daily basis. Some exceptions are inevitable, but you get my drift.

What Is a Substantial Amount of Time?

You need two hours a day. You can cut this time shorter, but I recommend that you don’t. Most people who cut the time shorter give up out of impatience. We are an instant gratification society. If you are patient and persistent, you might get away with it. If you are young, you may be tempted to put it off. Do not make this mistake. You have advantages now that will go away with age.

If you really want something and it costs more money than you have, you would probably find a way to come up with enough money over time. Well, if you can do that, you can do this practice. Give something else up if you have to. There is always something we do that we don’t really have to be doing. The only reason people don’t do this is because they don’t know what they are missing. Rather than repeating myself, I will send you to this web page to find out more. It opens in a new window.

I can assure you that if you are willing to take a chance that what I am telling you is true (it is) and put the time into it, you will never regret it.

Durga Ma