Self-Realization through Yoga Meditation of the Yoga Sutras, the contemplative insight of Advaita Vedanta, and the intense devotion of Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra

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Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga

From the Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Svatmarama,
15th century CE,
translationed by various scholars
(believed to be in the public domain)

Traditional Hatha Yoga is intended to lead to Raja Yoga, the "Royal Yoga", the goal of which is the highest state of consciousness known as Samadhi.

Following are excerpts from the Hatha Yoga Pradipika which reveal the intimate relationship between Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga. Please read the whole of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika for a complete understanding of Raja Yoga and Kundalini in the context of Hatha Yoga. (complete translation of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika)

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is a classical text describing Hatha Yoga. It is said to be the oldest surviving text on Hatha Yoga. Swami Swatmarama, a disciple of Swami Goraknath, wrote the text in the 15th century CE, drawing upon previous texts and his own experiences.

Note that the goal of Hatha Yoga is not merely physical fitness. While the text describes asanas (postures), purifying practices (shatkarma), mudras (finger and hand positions), bandhas (locks), and pranayama (breath exercises), it also explains that the purpose of Hatha Yoga is the awakening of Kundalini (subtle energy), leading in through Sushumna (the central energy channel), and advancing through Raja Yoga to the deep meditative absorption called Samadhi.

Chapter 1: Asana

1.1-1.3. Salutation to adinatha (Siva) who expounded the knowledge of Hatha Yoga, which like a staircase leads the aspirant to the high pinnacled Raja Yoga. Yogin Swatmarama, after saluting his Guru Srinatha explains Hatha Yoga for the attainment of Raja Yoga. 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.

1.69. Asanas, various Kumbhakas, and other divine means, all should be practiced in the practice of Hatha Yoga, till the fruit of Raja Yoga is obtained.

Chapter 2: Shatkarma and Pranayama

2.4-2.6. The breath does not pass through the middle channel (Susumna), owing to the impurities of the nadis. How can then success be attained, and how can there be the unmani avastha. When the whole system of the nadis which is full of impurities, is cleaned, then the Yogi becomes able to control the Prana. Therefore, Pranayama should be performed daily with satwika buddhi (intellect free from raja and tama or activity and sloth), in order to drive out the impurities of the Susumna.

41. When the system of Nadis becomes clear of the impurities by properly controlling the prana, then the air, piercing the entrance of the Susumna, enters it easily.

2.74-2.77. There is nothing in the three worlds which may be difficult to obtain for him who is able to keep the air confined according to pleasure, by means of Kevala Kumbhaka. He obtains the position of Raja Yoga undoubtedly. Kundalini awakens by Kumbhaka, and by its awakening, Susumna becomes free from impurities. No success in Raja Yoga without Hatha Yoga, and no success in Hatha Yoga without Raja Yoga. One should, therefore, practice both of these well, till complete success is gained. On the completion of Kumbhaka, the mind should be given rest. By practicing in this way one is raised to the position of (succeeds in getting) Raja Yoga.

Chapter 3: Mudra and Bandha

3.1-3.5. As the chief of the snakes is the support of the earth with all the mountains and forests on it, so all the Tantras (Yoga practices) rest on the Kundalini. When the sleeping Kundalini awakens by favor of a guru, then all the lotuses (in the six chakras or centers) and all the knots are pierced through. Susumna (Sunya Padavi) becomes a main road for the passage of Prana, and the mind then becomes free from all connections (with its objects of enjoyments) and Death is then evaded. Susumna, Sunya, Padavi, Brahma Randhra, Maha Patha, Smasana, Sambhavi, Madhya Marga, are names of one and the same thing. In order, therefore, to awaken this goddess, who is sleeping at the entrance of Brahma Dwara (the great door), mudras should be practiced well.

3.97. Kutilanga (crooked-bodied), Kundalini, Bhujangi (a she-serpent) Sakti, Ishwari, Kuundali, Arunddhati, -- all these words are synonymous. 3.98. As a door is opened with a key, so the Yogi opens the door of mukti by opening Kundalini by means of Hatha Yoga.

3.99. The Parameswari (Kundalini) sleeps, covering the hole of the passage by which one can go to the seat of Brahma which is free from pains. 3.100. Kundalini Sakti sleeps on the bulb, for the purpose of giving moksa to Yogis and bondage to the ignorant. He who knows it, knows Yoga.

3.111. By this Kundalini leaves the entrance of the Susumna at once, and the Prana enters it of itself.

3.119. Without Raja Yoga, this earth, the night, and the Mudras, be they howsoever wonderful, do not appear beautiful.

Chapter 4: Samadhi

4.1-4.4. Salutation to the Guru, the dispenser of happiness to all, appearing as Nada, Vindu and Kali. One who is devoted to him, obtains the highest bliss. Now I will describe a regular method of attaining to Samadhi, which destroys death, is the means for obtaining happiness, and gives the Brahmananda. Raja Yoga, Samadhi, Unmani, Manonmani, Amaratwa, Laya, Tatwa, Sunya, Asunya, Parama Pada, Amanasska, Adwaitama, Niralamba, Niranjana, Jiwana Mukti, Sahaja, Turya, are all synonymous.

4.5-4.8. As salt being dissolved in water becomes one with it, so when Atma and mind become one, it is called Samadhi. When the Prana becomes lean (vigourless) and the mind becomes absorbed, then their becoming equal is called Samadhi. This equality and oneness of the self and the ultra self, when all Samkalpas cease to exist, is called Samadhi. Or, who can know the true greatness of the Raja Yoga. Knowledge, mukti, condition, and Siddhis can be learnt by instructions from a guru alone.

4.9-10. Indifference to worldly enjoyments is very difficult to obtain, and equally difficult is the knowledge of the Realities to obtain. It is very difficult to get the condition of Samadhi, without the favor of a true guru. By means of various postures and different Kumbhakas, when the great power (Kundalini) awakens, then the Prana becomes absorbed in Sunya (Samadhi).

4.11-4.12. The Yogi whose sakti has awakened, and who has renounced all actions, attains to the condition of Samadhi, without any effort. When the Prana flows in the Susumna, and the mind has entered sunya, then the Yogi is free from the effects of Karmas.

4.16-4.21. Always living in a good locality and having known the secret of the Susumna, which has a middle course, and making the Vayu move in it, (the Yogi) should restrain the Vayu in the Brahma randhra. Time, in the form of night and day, is made by the sun and the moon. That the Susumna devours this time (death) even, is a great secret. In this body there are 72,000 openings of Nadis; of these, the Susumna, which has the Sambhavi Sakti in it, is the only important one, the rest are useless. The Vayu should be made to enter the Susumna without restraint by him who has practices the control of breathing and has awakened the Kundalini by the (gastric) fire. The Prana, flowing through the Susumna, brings about the condition of manonmani; other practices are simply futile for the Yogi. By whom the breathing has been controlled, by him the activities of the mind also have been controlled; and, conversely, by whom the activities of the mind have been controlled, by him the breathing also has been controlled.






This site is devoted to presenting the ancient Self-Realization path of the Tradition of the Himalayan masters in simple, understandable and beneficial ways, while not compromising quality or depth. The goal of our sadhana or practices is the highest Joy that comes from the Realization in direct experience of the center of consciousness, the Self, the Atman or Purusha, which is one and the same with the Absolute Reality. This Self-Realization comes through Yoga meditation of the Yoga Sutras, the contemplative insight of Advaita Vedanta, and the intense devotion of Samaya Sri Vidya Tantra, the three of which complement one another like fingers on a hand. We employ the classical approaches of Raja, Jnana, Karma, and Bhakti Yoga, as well as Hatha, Kriya, Kundalini, Laya, Mantra, Nada, Siddha, and Tantra Yoga. Meditation, contemplation, mantra and prayer finally converge into a unified force directed towards the final stage, piercing the pearl of wisdom called bindu, leading to the Absolute.