A few things you may not know about Hatha Pradipika (a.k.a. Hatha Yoga Pradipika)
By Elonne Stockton
Arguably the best version of the Hatha Pradipika (a.k.a. Hatha Yoga Pradipika) is the version published by Sri O.P. Tiwariji and edited by Swami Digambaraji for Kaivalyadhama, S.M.Y.M. Samiti, one of the leading authorities on Hatha Yoga.
Hatha Pradipika is one of the five main Hatha Yoga texts. The other four are Gheranda Samhita, Siddha Siddhanta Paddati, Gorakshatak, and Siva Samhita. After the destruction of Takshila and Nalanda libraries in India, many of the manuscripts on Hatha Yoga were lost. Swami Kuvalayananda, founder of Kaivalyadhama, saw it as one of their main missions to research which of the five main Hatha texts were incomplete and to reconstruct them. Over the years, Kaivalyadhama, guided by Sri O.P. Tiwariji, has put together some of the most comprehensive versions of these Hatha texts.
For example, most versions of Hatha Pradipika are based on a single manuscript, but this gives a very limited perspective of the text. For Kaivalyadhama’s version, they consulted nine manuscripts and four printed editions. Invariably, this gives a more complete understanding of the text and uncovers some new information.
Swami Kuvalayananda and Kaivalyadhama point out that most printed editions of Hatha Pradipika call the text Hatha Yoga Pradipika. However, during their research, Kaivalyadhama did not find the word yoga in any of the manuscripts. Svatmarama himself did not call it this; he did not use the word yoga. In some texts the term Raja Yoga appears in the title as well. The fourth lesson in the text deals with Raja Yoga, and, in fact, Svatmarama does not consider the two disciplines to be separate from each other. Even though he himself did not use the term Raja Yoga in his title. While these additions to the title are not necessarily wrong, they are also not exact and are unfounded.
The text is also commonly printed with four chapters, but Swami Kuvalayananda noticed that the fourth chapter was missing the phrase, iti sampurnam, which means thus ends. He, therefore, knew the text was incomplete. After searching Kaivalyadhama found the missing fifth chapter, which ended with this iti sampurnam phrase.
It is easy to lost in titles – Asthanga Vinyasa, Flow, Power, Jivamukti, etc. In truth, what we are all practicing is Hatha Yoga, which in a larger sense stems from the same tradition. There are conflicting ways of doing some of these Hatha Yoga practices. But when in doubt, we have these five main Hatha Yoga texts – with their different text and manuscript versions — to consult.
Listen to Sri O.P. Tiwari talk about Kaivalyadhama’s contribution to reconstructing these Hatha Yoga texts.
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