This attempts to reconcile the Raja-Yoga of Patanjali with Hatha-yoga. Hatha is considered to be made up of two syllables ha meaning the moon and tha meaning the sun. They correspond to the breath which flows through the left and the right nostrils. Hatha-yoga is the preliminary step and ends in Raja-yoga Consciously or unconsciously. The Saivagama urges students not to give up the practice of asana and pranayama for keeping the body in perfect health.
From the Back of the Book
The Adyar Library and Research Centre was founded in 1886 by Henry Steel, first President of the Theosophical Society for research in Eastern Civilization, Philosophy and Religion. Its aim is to promote understanding among the peoples of the world through knowledge of the higher aspects of their respective cultures.
The collections of the Library consist of about 18,000 manuscripts, containing about 45,000 works, both palm-leaf and paper, and more than 2,00,000 printed volumes. The manuscripts are mostly from India and in Sanskrit. The printed books include old and rare Indological works and also a fine collection of books on the different religions and languages, eastern and western; and volumes of important Indological journals.
Brahmavidya the Adyar Library Bulletin is being published since 1937, presenting studies on religion, philosophy and various aspects of Sanskrit and other oriental literature as well as editions of ancient texts and translations.
The Hathayogapradipika of Svatmarama was first published in 1893 with the commentary Jyotsna of Brahmananda and the English translation of Srinivasa Iyangar by Tookaram Tatya on behalf of the Bombay Theosophical Publishing Fund. This was one of the fruits of the many efforts made by members of the Theosophical Society in the last century to bring eastern literature and knowledge to the attention of the public in general and of the western world in particular.
A second edition was published in 1933 in the Oriental Series (No. 15) of the Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Madras, India. Although a number of corrections had been carried out in preparing the Sanskrit text and commentary for the second edition, there were still various lacunae in the presentation.
In preparing the present edition, the errors have been corrected as far as possible, by Prof. A. A. Ramanathan and Pandit S.V. Subrahmanya Sastri, after consulting the manuscripts in the Adyar Library and Research Centre, especially the manuscript of the Jyotsna commentary (No. PM 1431). They have also seen the text through the press.
The original English translation of Srinivasa Iyangar has been thoroughly revised by myself and Prof. A. A. Ramanathan, so as to conform more closely to the text and yet be readable.
The Hathayogapradipika is a well-known authoritative treatise on Yoga which has been taken for a guide by different classes of Yogin-s in India. Of all the existing works on occultism, the Hathayogapradipika is perhaps the one which stands unrivalled in its attempt to grapple with the task of reconciling the Raja-yoga and Hatha-yoga systems. Concealing a truth in every sentence, the treatise offers, in one respect, a wealth of occult lore to the earnest student of Yogavidya, and, in another, holds behind the apparent charms of a bright curtain a venomous serpent ready to pounce upon the first straggler from the right hand path who has not thoroughly shaken off earthly impurities before launching himself upon the forbidden path of Yoga. The pure and unselfish alone will have the keenness and power to extract the pure drop of immortality from the compound mixture in which the mystic author of the treatise has so beautifully combined the two systems of Yoga.
The word yoga means union between Jivatman and Paramatman. The science that teaches the way of acquiring this occult knowledge is called Yoga-sastra. As this knowledge leads directly to the fusion of the Jivatman and the Paramatman, it is considered very sacred and sublime, and, as such, is not indiscriminately imparted to all men by its custodians; only those who have passed through the most terrible ordeals being considered as fit to receive it. The strict rules of discipleship and the method of their observance are given in the Sivasamhita.
The sage Patanjali, the founder of the Yoga philosophy, has laid down in his Yoga aphorisms, I. 23, that an untiring devotion to Isvara (or Guru) is one of the most essential conditions required of a student of Yoga. Another no less essential condition as described in aphorism 20 of the same section, is faith, without which no knowledge is possible to the student; half or wavering faith in this science or the Guru is a positive disqualification.
According to the Sastra-s, no knowledge stands higher in importance than the Yoga-sastra, and the Veda-s call it the vidya. God Siva describes it in the Sivasamhita.
On studying all the Sastra-s and constantly meditating on them, I have come to the conclusion that no Sastra is so worthy of study as the Yoga-sastra.
Pythagoras, Plato and other ancient philosophers of Greece have extolled the study of this science, and the motto at the entrance of their lecture-hall was 'Know thyself'.
Among the leaders of modern thought, Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, Schopenhauer, Emerson and others have not been less enthusiastic in their praises of the nobility of this science, whose object they have declared to be the unraveling of the mystery of the being of man and surrounding nature.
The acquisition of a knowledge of this science is fraught with abnormal difficulties, and perfectly qualified teachers are rare, and not communicative except to well-tried students. Obscurities in the treatment of the subject in a written work call for verbal explanation by a Guru. No substantial gift will ever purchase the knowledge desired, or alter the iron rules prescribed in the Sastra-s. The grace of the Guru bestowed in exchange for the hard earned merit acquired by the disciple, even at the peril of his life, is alone the passport to the sanctuary of knowledge. In the Bhagavata and other Purana's, the student who has not been able to secure a Guru, is advised to pray and worship Isvara (as Visnu or Siva) and strive for perfect renunciation of every worldly desire, such renunciation being the only way of securing a Guru to direct the student in his further progress.
The systems of Yoga have different denominations according to their methods, and known as Astanga, Laya, Dhyana, Mantra, Bhakti, Taraka, Karma, etc. all these, however, can be classed into two broad divisions: Hatha-yoga and Raja-yoga. These are interdependent, either of them being impracticable without the other.
The venerable sage Patanjali, in his Yoga aphorisms defines Yoga as the suspension of the modification of the thinking principle, an object attainable through different methods, none of which is practicable without controlling the prana or breath, which is intimately connected with the mind. This connection is proved by our daily experience of life; when we are absorbed in deep thought, the process of breathing becomes slow. The suspension of the mental activity ceases altogether until respiration is revived, and complete disappearance of mental activity takes place with the death of the body. These considerations prove that mind and prana, another term for the vital breath, are interdependent, each unable to act independently of the other.
It has been said in the Sivagita that the vehicle of mind is prana, and therefore mind is present where prana is. In other words mind has been described as the rider and prana as the horse. In the Yogavasistha.
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