The Intent of real Hatha Yoga
Sanskrit/Hindu word yoga means, yuj Atman Brahman ca (to yoke to one’s individual Soul and Soul Source). Sanskrit is by definition the religious language of Hinduism, “The ancient Aryan (noble) language of the Hindus.”
The various real Yogas are the means by which Hindus achieve this Soul/Spiritual-Realization: Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga, to name a few.
Therefore, this one Sanskrit/Hindu word conveys both the goal of Hinduism and the means to the goal.
One must remember that the following are all synonymous for the Hindu religion: Indu/Sindhu/Hindu/Sanatan Dharma/Yoga Dharma/Vedic Dharma/Brahmanism/Hinduism. The following are all synonymous for yoga: yagnasya/yagnya/yuj/yoge/yogah/yoga.
From the Rig Veda (9/5/3): Sa dha ni yoga, aa bhavatu. Sa rayo sa, puram dhyam.
Oh Indra! Share with us the true meaning of yoga that we have yet to achieve. Lead us to the city of contemplative absorption.
The Yoga that is so abused today is what should be called “Hatha Yoga” which are Hindu, devotional postures. “Ha” implies Siva and Vishnu (Hara/Hari); “tha” implies moon and sun which correspond to Siva/Vishnu, respectively.
For the very reason of what has become displayed and distorted in the name of Yoga today, Hatha Yoga was always meant to be kept very secret and only for the most devoted Hindus. In fact, unlike the phony yoga of today,all the Hindu Yogas are meant to take one IN and not OUT! Outer service and devotion is, of course, important but this Karma and Bhakti Yoga is not done for self-aggrandizement.
From the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali:
Sabda jnananupati vastusunyo vikalpah. (Pada I. Sutra 9)
When word knowledge is devoid of facts, there is delusion.
Bhava pratyayo videha prakrti layanam. (Pada I. Sutra 19)
Those who are immersed in the world should not focus on the physical.
Guru Patanjali ends this classic Hindu philosophy with the admonition that the nature of a real Yogi is to enter into the void, thus ending their eathly evolution and finding liberation: “… partiyogi parinamaparanta … purusarthasunyam … kaivalyam.”
The Saiva, Hindu Guru Patanjali was teaching indepth Hindu philosophy to male, celibate yogis in training. An honest read of the Yoga Sutras (and not merely the translation of someone with a hidden agenda) clearly shows that this Hindu philosophy is all about an intense renunciation of the material world.
So much for the modern phony yoga of picture, personality and price tag. The true Yogi is a nobody. Being seriously abused by the spurious yoga movement, one must keep in mind that the Yoga Sutras (one of the six orthodox systems of Hindu philosophy) are not a manuel on Hatha Yoga. For an understanding of Hatha Yoga, one must look, for example, at the following Hindu scriptures:
From the Siddha-Siddhanta-Paddhati by Yogi Gorakhnatha:
Nava-cakram kala-dharam tri-lakshyam vyoma-pancakam
Samyag etat na janati sa yogi nama-dharakah. (S.S.P.II.31)
If a yogi is not perfectly acquainted with the nine cakras, sixteen adharas, three lakshyas, and five vyomas, he is only a bearer of the name yogi but not a real yogi.
From the Hatha Yoga Pradapika by Yogi Svatmarama:
Hatha vidya bhaveda yavateguhya,
Nivedas tu prakasanam. (Sutra 11)
The knowledge of Hatha Yoga is powerful when kept secret and loses power when displayed.
In the Pradapika, Yogi Svatmarama details the intense and solitary daily routine of the real Yogi. Rising at 4 a.m., the day is spent in a total immersion in all the classic Hindu Yogas which culminate in a complete absorption into the nature of Brahman and the absolute no-thing-ness.
Not sparing criticism, he ends his work by chiding the sishya that if this state is not natural, then their “wisdom” and “knowledge” are fraudulent, false and idle chatter (“the babblings of a madman”).
“Yavaddhayane sahajasadrsam jayate naiva tattvam. Tavajjnanam vadati tadidam dambhamithyapralapah.”
From the Gheranda Samhita:
The Yogi is to avoid the public and especially women. (V. 23-25)
The goal of Samadhi is only attained by one who becomes indifferent to one’s own body, family, relations, wealth—everything. (VII. 21)
From the Siva Samhita:
Yogasastramidam gopyamasmabhih paribhasitam,
Subhaktaya pradatavyam trailokye ca mahatmane. (Sutra 19)
We (Siva/Parvati) softly declare this very secret knowledge of Yoga.
This gift (the knowledge of Yoga) is to be revealed only to pure devotees and great souls in all three worlds.
All devout Hindus (and students of Hindu Dharma) are encouraged to openly practice Karma and Bhakti Yoga while realizing the more solitary nature of Hatha and Raja Yoga. Jnana Yoga (as study) is always a pre-requisite.
With this ongoing practice of the sacred Hindu/Yogas, one gradually develops the enlightened state of Jnana/Kaivalya/ Moksha/Samadhi.
Throughout history whole nations, cultures and religions have been abused in varying degrees. The abuse of the Hindu/Yogic Dharma has been going on for centuries. Many Hindus are at fault for not protecting their Dharma.
Many “Hindus” actually capitulate to the phony yoga movement becoming members of the spurious yoga-alliance, for example, and falling prey to fame and fortune. Non-Hindus who have partaken in the ongoing abuse of the Hindu/Yogic Dharma need to cease these violations.However, there may be many non-Hindus who find the Hindu/Yogic religion to be their religion of choice. It is very simple to do the right thing.
The following article from the Yoga Alliance shows that some of those into today’s spurious yoga may be beginning to realize their grave mistake: In response to the article: “Is the Practice of Yoga in North America Cultural Appropriation?”
To begin with, you should have said “religious appropriation” or, specifically, “Hindu appropriation.” Of course, the words “religion” and “Hinduism” did not appear in the article.
How incredible is it that after decades of completely perverting the Hindu/Yogas that you now wonder if you all did the wrong thing?
This total dishonest offense makes absurd the notion of ‘P.C. run amuck’. Today’s mistaken notion of “Yoga” is that it is an exercise business or some so-called “universal spirituality” which actually, on reflection, smacks of fundamentalism.
Look at all the non-sense, at best, associated with this so-called “yoga:” Yoga pants; Yoga butt; this yoga brand; that yoga brand; yoga commercials; sexy yoga videos, ad nausea.
At least you recognized the “habit of appropriating and monetizing aspects of other cultures.” Since you will do nothing about these violations of Hinduism/Yoga, the statement is completely shallow.
Then, the inevitable “however” justification of “sharing and cross-cultural understanding.”
You obviously do not realize the difference between sharing and stealing. Those Indian men who brought “yoga” to the west were misled, at best, and many outright opportunists in both monetary and sexual affairs.
But, this all begs the question: What is being shared? What is this “gift for all humanity?” Indeed, “What is Yoga?” Even a child opening a dictionary; doing a simple search will uncover the fact that Yoga is all about the Hindu religion.
And, it is a fact that the Sanskrit/Hindu word “Yoga” has nothing to do with the physical body! Any who does their homework will uncover that fact of all the real Yogas (Karma, Bhakti, Raja and Jnana, for example, Hatha Yoga is supposed to be kept secret.
Take a wild guess why! You, then, reference Swami (a Hindu monk) Vivekananda and completely misunderstand his intentions. When he addressed the Parliament of Religions in 1893, he had no problem talking about religion and their differences.
He had no problem stating the fact that he was a Hindu:
“I thank you in the name of the millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.” “I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught both tolerance and universal acceptance.”
Tolerance does not mean allowing others to abuse and steal. Unfortunately, this has been and continues to be a hard lesson for many Hindus to learn. Swamiji recognized:
“I think Western people are more cruel and the Eastern people have more mercy towards all beings.”
Among numerous Sanskrit/Hindu terms and concepts, one, of course, sees this cruelty when it comes to the complete theft of Yoga from the Hindus.
You also confuse the difference between being a student and a teacher. Anyone is free (no charge) to study Hindu Dharma and its many Yoga teachings and practices, but the honest teacher must be a Hindu.
This logic would hold true for any religion. Whatever good may come from the benefit of Hatha Yoga asanas is negated by the simple fact of lying. It is a psychological offence, to say the least, to covertly lead anyone into a religion.
Of course, even the “yoga teacher” is deluded which makes the scenario even more bizarre. And many boast of being a 500 hr. Yoga Therapist! How pretentious. How unbelievable.
It is almost laughable that you allude to the Yoga Sutras (which really have next to nothing to do with Hatha Yoga) and seek to uphold ahimsa and satya. When it comes to today’s “yoga” nothing could be more harmful and further from the truth. An honest look at what it really takes to become a Yogi makes the 200 hr. certification preposterous.
There is, however, a light at the end of this dark and deceptive tunnel. If one is simply interested in stretching and relaxation, then be honest and call it that. Of course, one should give credence to the fact (if that is the source) that this comes from the Hatha Yoga of the Hindus.
But, for those who really love, respect and truly want to follow ahimsa and satya, then do the right thing: stop this insane practice; take a step back; learn Hinduism; become a Hindu and then, maybe, teach. Such an honest and dedicated approach would dramatically narrow the field and, of course, put all of you completely out of business.
Swami Ganapati Paramatma
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