By Swami Harshananda
Haṭhayoga-pradipikā literally means ‘a light that reveals Haṭhayoga’.
The Hathayoga-pradipikā of Svātmārāma (A. D. 1350) and the Gheranda Samhitā of Gheraṇḍa are standard treatises dealing with the science of Haṭhayoga. It has a commentary Jyotsnā, by Brahmānanda. It is in four chapters called ‘Upadeśa’. It has total 389 verses. Though most of the verses are in the usual śloka meter, some are in longer meters like the Vasantatilakā and Sārdulavikrīḍitā.
This chapter is comprised of 67 verses. In the beginning it delineates a long list of the ancient teachers of this yoga. This is followed by some details regarding its practice like the place suitable for it, evils to be avoided, virtues to be cultivated, some āsanas and details of suitable and unsuitable diets.
The second chapter is of 78 verses. It deals with:
- Prāṇāyāma - control of the prāṇic energy through the control of breath
- Ṣaṭkarmas - the six acts of cleansing the internal parts of the body
- Increasing the body's capacity for the sādhanās of Haṭhayoga
It is the biggest chapter having 130 verses. It expounds in detail the ten mudrās exercised to rouse the Kuṇḍalinī power.
The fourth chapter has 114 verses. It delineates samādhi which comes as a result of the rousing of the Kuṇdalini. In samādhi, the mind will merge in the ātman just as salt dissolves in water. This section also gives a description of the yogi who has attained samādhi.
Experts warn the readers of such works not to attempt the various techniques of yoga given in it without the direct guidance of proper teachers.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore