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Hatha Yoga - Glory of The Nath Tradition

By Rishi Dharmachandra (Gandhar Mandlik) - Gandhar is a Electrical engineer, and currently he is the course coordinator at Yoga Vidya Gurukul, he is teaching and practicing yoga for the last 12 years. He was initiated in to Rishi Sannayasa by his Guru Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati.

Hatha Yoga - Glory of The Nath Tradition

There are many texts on Hatha Yoga, where we can find many references to its glorious tradition and the lineage of Gurus who taught this wonderful and complete set of techniques for the evolution of the followers. Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Swami Swatmaram, Goraksha Shatakam, Goraksha Samhita, Siddha Siddhanta Paddhati by Gorakhnath, Gherand Samhita by sage Gheranda, Yoga Taravali by Adi Shankaracharya, Hatha Ratnavali, Shiva Samhita and many other texts.

This tradition was founded by Sage Matsyendranath and his disciple Sage Gorakhnath. Matsyendranath founded "Nath" sect and laid the spiritual guidelines for the followers. They designed wonderful techniques from Tantras but leaving the ritualistic part. They systematically put this parts together to make a very logical but safe approach to achieving higher states of consciousness and attaining the perfections.

Hatha Yoga development took place between 6th and 15th century A.D. The practices mentioned, seems to have influence of Tantras, and other tantric traditions like shakta tradition, Buddhist Bajrayanis, Kapaliks and kauls. Gorakhnath emphasized the values of celibacy, ethics and morality, character, noble deeds in life. Hatha yoga gained popularity over a period of time and many sects merged in to this tradition and even the originators started calling Gorakhnath their Guru.

Before the rise of Hatha Yoga, there was lot of influence of Buddha's teachings on many sections of the society in the Indian subcontinent. They were trying to follow the ethics and morality as preached by Buddha and Mahavir, the founder of Jain religion. The systems of meditation were also in practice. But a disadvantage of this systems was that the preparatory practices were ignored and ethics were overemphasized. Hatha Yoga system addressed this issue in a logical way, creating room for Body purification and mental stability before starting with meditation and other higher practices. To learn & practice meditation, one needs to have physical health and stability. The mind can only be focused to experience higher states if the body is healthy and in harmony with mind. These became the theme of Hatha Yoga and cause of its popularity.

Many Asanas(body postures), Pranayama (breathing control & retention), Shat Karmas (cleansing techniques), Mudra & Bandhas (psychic gestures & energy locks) are mentioned in the Hatha Yoga tradition. Their effects on the body & mind are magical. The techniques create balance between body, mind and energies.Their practice helps maintain the youthful body, gives extra sensory powers, awakens higher states of consciousness but the main purpose of Hatha Yoga is to achieve the same higher states of samadhi, nirvana or self realization. Gurus have always highlighted this purpose.


Rishi Dharmachandra (Gandhar Mandlik)

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