Hatha Yoga Pradipika

The Hatha Yoga Pradīpikā (Sanskrit: haṭhayōgapradīpikā, हठयोगप्रदीपिका or Light on Hatha Yoga) is a classic Sanskrit manual on hatha yoga, written by Svāmi Svātmārāma, a disciple of Swami Gorakhnath. It is among the most influential surviving texts on the hatha yoga. It is also one of the three classic texts of hatha yoga, the other two being the Gheranda Samhita and the Shiva Samhita.[1]

Different manuscripts of this work offer various versions of its title. The database of the A.C. Woolner manuscript project at the Library of the University of Vienna gives the following variant titles, gleaned from different manuscript colophons: Haṭhayogapradīpikā, Haṭhapradīpikā, Haṭhapradī, Hath-Pradipika.[2]

The text was written in 15th century CE.[3] The author, Svātmārāma, incorporated older Sanskrit concepts into his popular synthesis. The Haṭhayogapradīpikā consists of four chapters which include information about asanas, pranayama, cakras, kundalini, bandhas, kriyās, śakti, nāḍīs and mudrās among other topics. It runs in the line of Hindu yoga (to distinguish from Buddhist and Jain yoga) and is dedicated to Śrī (Lord) ādi nāthā (Adinatha), a name for Lord Shiva (the Hindu god of destruction and renewal), who is believed to have imparted the secret of haṭha yoga to his divine consort Pārvatī.

Recent research

New research on the history of yoga in medieval India has added to information on the origins and meaning of Haṭha Yoga.[4]

Mallinson, for example, examining the philosophical sources of Svātmārāma's work, has noted that,

In its classical formulation as found in Svātmārāma’s Haṭhapradīpikā, haṭhayoga is a Śaiva appropriation of an older extra-Vedic soteriological method. But this appropriation was not accompanied by an imposition of Śaiva philosophy. In general, the texts of haṭhayoga reveal, if not a disdain for, at least an insouciance towards metaphysics. Yoga is a soteriology that works regardless of the yogin’s philosophy. But the various texts that were used to compile the Haṭhapradīpikā [...] were not composed in metaphysical vacua. Analysis of their allusions to doctrine shows that the texts from which Svātmārāma borrowed most were products of a Vedantic milieu—bearing testament to Vedānta’s newfound interest in yoga as a complement to jñāna—but that many others were Śaiva non-dual works. Because of the lack of importance given to the niceties of philosophy in haṭhayogic works, these two non-dualities were able to combine happily and thus the Śaiva tenets incorporated within haṭhayoga survived the demise of Śaivism as part of what was to become in the medieval period the dominant soteriological method in scholarly religious discourse in India.[5]

Birch has investigated the evolution of the meaning of the Sanskrit word haṭha, and in particular the key role of the Haṭhayogapradīpikā in popularizing a particular interpretation of this term. Birch noted,

In compiling the Hathapradīpikā it is clear that Svātmārāma drew material from many different sources on various systems of Yoga such as Yajñavalkya's and Vasistha's Aṣṭāngayoga, the Amanaskayoga's Rājayoga, the Vivekamārtaṇḍa's Ṣaḍdaṅgayoga, Ādināth's Khecarīvidyā, the Virūpākṣanātha's Amṛtasiddhi, and so on. He assembled it under the name of Haṭhayoga and, judging from the vast number of manuscripts of the Haṭhapradīpikā, its numerous commentaries, and the many references to it in late medieval Yoga texts, his Haṭhayoga grew in prominence and eclipsed many of the former Yogas. As a label for the diverse Yoga of the Haṭhapradīpikā, Haṭhayoga became a generic term. However, a more specific meaning of the term is seen in the tenth- to eleventh-century Buddhist tantric commentaries, and this meaning is confirmed by an examination of the adverbial uses of the word haṭha in the medieval Yoga texts predating the Haṭhapradīpikā. Rather than the metaphysical explanation of uniting the sun (ha) and moon (ṭha), it is more likely that the name Haṭhayoga was inspired by the meaning 'force'. The descriptions of force fully moving kundalinī, apāna, or bindu upwards through the central channel suggest that the "force" of Haṭhayoga qualifies the effects of its techniques, rather than the effort required to perform them.[6]


  1. Master Murugan, Chillayah (20 October 2012). "Veda Studies and Knowledge (Pengetahuan Asas Kitab Veda)". Silambam. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  2. University of Vienna. "Svātmārāma - Collected Information". A Study of the Manuscripts of the Woolner Collection, Lahore. University of Vienna. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  3. Moti Lal Pandit (1991). Towards Transcendence: A Historico-analytical Study of Yoga as a Method of Liberation. Intercultural. p. 205. ISBN 978-81-85574-01-1.
  4. See, e.g., the work of the members of the Modern Yoga Research cooperative
  5. Mallinson, James (2014). "Haṭhayoga's Philosophy: A Fortuitous Union of Non-Dualities". Journal of Indian Philosophy. 42 (1): 225–247. doi:10.1007/s10781-013-9217-0.
  6. Birch, Jason (2011). "The Meaning of haṭha in Early Haṭhayoga". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 131: 527–554. JSTOR 41440511.

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