Haţha-(Yoga)-pradîpikâ of svâtmârâma Yogendra has been a great influence on many students of Yoga. It has previously only ever been available in four or five chapters, though it was known that the original Hatha-Pradîpikâ contained ten chapters. Last year Dr.M.L. Gharote, the Director of the Lonavla Yoga Institute in India, and his team were able to locate a manuscript that contains all ten chapters, as well as a commentary entitled Yoga-Prakâshikâ by Bâlakrishna. Dr Gharote and Parimal Devanath have edited and translated the text, which, for the first time has been published containing the ten chapters complete with original sanskrit verse, transliteration, translation in English and finally critical notes and appendices where found necessary. This version contains a total of 643 stanzas as opposed to the 389 stanzas found in the edition published by the Adyar Library in Madras in 1972 and therefore, gives us a more substantial insight into the teachings of Svâtmârâma Yogendra. The extra chapters contain additional information on Pratyâhâra, Chakras, Dhâranâ, Dhyâņa, Samâdhi, Kâlajnâna, Videhamukti, Arişţa (omens of death), Şadangayoga and the sacred syllable ‘Om’.
This version of the Haţha-(Yoga)-pradîpikâ of svâtmârâma makes compelling reading – of course I turned to the obviously ‘new’ chapters first to find out what I had been missing! Seemingly out of place is the chapter on ‘Omens of imminent death’. This is a fascinating mixture of superstition, tradition, surreal and more straightforward omens which could be attributable to medical conditions or disease. The reason? So that you ‘can wish a yogic life again at the time of death’ (Ch9 v1).
All the chapters are summarised below:
- Chapter 1 (59 verses): Elemental body (bhûta-âtmaka-sharîra), six-limbed Yoga, diet, Yama, Niyama.
- Chapter 2 (39 verses): Postures
- Chapter 3 (25 verses): Shat-karma (six purificatory techniques)
- Chapter 4 (70 verses): Kumbhaka (eight types of breath control)
- Chapter 5 (188 verses): Bandha & mudrâ
- Chapter 6 (42 verses): Sensory inhibition, concentration, and meditation
- Chapter 7 (67 verses): Raja-Yoga, khecârî-mudrâ, and samâdhi-krama (ecstatic process)
- Chapter 8 (51 verses): Cultivation of nâda-anusandhâna (the inner sound)
- Chapter 9 (42 verses): Arista (omens of imminent death)
- Chapter 10 (43 verses): The sacred syllable om.
The chapters and verses are presented in a more logical order than previous editions and in addition to totally new sections, many concepts only briefly mentioned before are expanded upon which really improves your understaning of the text as a whole. I would definately recommend this book to teachers, student teachers or in fact any Yoga practitioner or anyone interested in the Ancient texts.
In addition to the text, translation and transliteration there is an introduction and history of the HYP, really useful notes where appropriate (explanations and useful comparisons, similarities and discrepancies with other great Hatha Yoga works), the original YogaprâkâśikâCommentary by Bâlakŗşņa, Appendix, Glossary, Anatomico-physiological words glossary (very helpful) and index.
I feel very fortunate to have found this book and grateful to the editors for making this important text available in its most complete form in English