So MANY Books on Yoga have appeared during the past fifty years or so that the reader may well ask himself the question: Is there any need for yet another book on the subject? This is the sort of question which the present book attempts to answer. It seems to be in the very nature of Yoga to become different things to different people, with the result that, quite often, what used to be in the past a Sacred and Pure Science has simply become a very shallow and, sometimes, even a very unsightly thing; so far remote, in fact, from Yoga that it is virtually unrecognizable.
It has been said that "those people who do not know the real nature of human life, and as a result constantly pursue the objects of worldly desire, remain involved in the darkness of ignorance concerning the realities of life. In still greater darkness remain those who, mistaking theoretical knowledge concerning Reality for the Reality itself, are intent upon the pursuit of such knowledge without making earnest effort to End that Reality by direct Realization.
How many times is Yoga pursued, by disciple and guru alike, simply as another form of worldly desire? How many times is it the object of a purely mental exercise and speculation? These two are the Scylla and Charybdis placed on opposite sides of the narrow straits of Yoga; it is very hard to steer clear of one without being caught by the other, More often than not, the voyager perishes at the fauces of the six-headed monster of world illusion, or disappears in the whirlpool of self-delusion.
The path of True Yoga leads out of the darkness into the light. It takes us up, where we now stand, and leads us unerringly unto heights of unimaginable splendour, where Love, Peace and Wisdom reign supreme. But the goal of Yoga can only be reached through a regenerated, spiritual mind; a mind which is pure and extremely sensitive to Life’s highest purpose. It is written in Yoga-vasistha: "There are two paths to destroy the fluctuations of the mind, namely Yoga and Jnana (Wisdom). Yoga is that which makes the actions of the mind integrated. But Jnana is that which enables one to enjoy happiness in all objects.
Needless to say, the realized individual sees no real difference between these two, for Yoga is the heart of Jnana, and this, in turn, the heart of Yoga.
The Gheranda-samhita is a text on Yoga. It is not just a. treatise on Hatha—yoga, as most people have come to understand the meaning of the word ‘hatha’ and as the reader will discover. It is Integral Yoga at its best. Some western traditions and commentators have, from time to time, referred to teachings. like the one presented here, as ‘decadent Indian and Tibetan methods’; some people, on the other hand, have taken them- selves to the teachings and self-appointed gurus with such superficial naivety and unwise enthusiasm—even if sometimes sincere— that they almost automatically place themselves in no position to derive any real benefits from them, for they lack the key to the proper understanding of the Sacred Science. Every single time that Yoga is misunderstood, misconceived, it degenerates into something which is only Yoga by name, i.e. gymnastics, fakirism, beauty culture and therapy, health science, sex therapy, meditation technique and so on. Thus distorting it and even bringing the Sacred Science into disrepute. The problem is nothing new for, True Yoga, in ancient times ". . . was taught from father to son in the line of Kings who were Saints; but in the revolutions of times immemorial this doctrine was forgotten by men. Today I am revealing to thee this Yoga Eternal, this Secret Supreme, because of thy love for me, and because I am thy friend."3 So spoke Krsna to his beloved disciple many centuries ago. Though Eternal, Yoga is constantly being lost; it is also constantly being found. Wise indeed is he who finds it.
He whose approach to Yoga is pure, practical and consistent will come to know Yoga. To him only the Secret Supreme can be revealed. Hence the title for this new translation of a most competent treatise—seldom properly understood—on the integral Science of Yoga: Pure Yoga. He who would aspire to reach the sublime heights of Raja—yoga must, above all else, be pure.
A treatise such as the Gheranda-samhita would be thoroughly misleading and virtually unintelligible without a guiding commentary. In preparing such a commentary the writer has drawn both upon his own experience and various reliable sources; normally, the older the source—allowing for the odd worthy exception – the more reliable. There is no claim here to any final authority. The only reliable proof of True Yoga is in Yoga; the purer the better.
The reader will find it useful and perhaps even illuminating to consult the various tables as he or she reads through the text.
About the Book:
In Yoga the question of boundaries, the constant talk about the various yogas, is, to a very large extent, an artificial one, mind-created. Translators and commentators have constantly and shortsightedly referred to the Gheranda Samhita as a Hatha-Yoga classic. Normally presented as the most basic and material of all yogas, it is understood quite liberally by all sorts of authorities and grossly interpreted by guru and disciple alike. Such teachings, when partially grasped and separated from the whole, constitute a poor caricature of the Sacred Science. The Same is true of so many 'exciting' and 'new' meditation techniques being propounded nowadays; transcendent only in their refined materialism, in the "What's in it for me" attitude. Such reflections have promoted the author to reveal, for the first time, many of the inner or spiritual aspects of this Pure Yoga treatise. Hence the present work, which is much more than just Hatha-Yoga teachings, as popularly and most improperly understood. Though whole and eternal, Yoga is constantly being lost; it is also constantly being found. Wise indeed is he who finds it.
About the Author:
Born in 1937, a European, adviser and consultant, Antonio Rodriguez holds, among other qualifications, an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Belfast. A linguist and a keen student of the Ancient Wisdom - particularly the eastern tradition - for nearly 40 years, he has had many articles published in The Theosophist and other journals; he has also lectured for over 20 years on Yoga / Vedanta / Mysticism / Meditation / Theosophy and various other allied subjects. One of his concerns is the rediscovery, preservation and transmission of the true yogic tradition. Yoga has always been for him of paramount importance both in its philosophical and practical aspects, and he looks forward to the day when the splendid Science of Yoga may regain its pristine purity.
SANSKRIT ALPHABET AND PRONUNCIATION
THE FIRST LESSON
THE SECOND LESSON
THE THIRD LESSON
THE FOURTH LESSON
THE FIFTH LESSON
THE SIXTH LESSON
THE SEVENTH LESSON
LIST OF SANSKRIT WORKS
GLOSSARY OF SANSKRIT WORDS
TEXT OF GHERANDASAMHITA
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