Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Hatha Yoga Pradipika is a treatise on Hatha Yoga. Pradipika means light that illuminates. Hence it is a classic scripture that illuminates Hatha Yoga. Because of its comprehension, It has become the most preferred reference on Hatha yoga, though it is not the first treatise on Hatha yoga. Siva Samhita, Gheranda Samhita and Goraksha Sataka are the other important Hatha Yogic scriptures composed before this treatise.
About the Author: Yogi Svatmarama
It was composed by Yogi Svatmarama (meaning: who takes delight in his own Atman) who belongs to the fifteenth century C.E. No further information about him is available now. It is understandable through his words that he belonged to the lineage of Yogi Matsiyendranath and Yogi Gorakshanath who was the author of Goraksha Sataka.
About the book and its contents
The book is the classic manual for the students of both hatha yoga as well as Raja Yoga. It contains 282 verses grouped under four chapters.
The Prathama Upadesha or the first teaching contains 70 verses on Asana
The Tvidiya Upadesha or the second teaching contains 78 verses on Pranayama
The Threediya Upadesha or the third teaching contains 130 verses on Mudra
The Chaturdha Upadesha or the fourth teaching contains 114 verses on Samadhi
The difference between Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga
The main difference between Ashtanga Yoga and Hatha Yoga is that in Hatha Yoga, not that much importance given to Yama and Niyama. Ashtanga yoga includes Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi in addition to Asana and Pranayama whereas Hatha Yoga got these four steps included in Mudra and Samadhi. Hence the basic difference between Hatha yoga and Ashtanga yoga is the lesser importance to Yama and Niyama in Hatha Yoga. It is also notable that in most of the yoga padas (sections) of Agamas, Yama and Niyama are not included.
It does not mean that Hatha Yoga alone gives Kivalya or Moksha or ultimate liberation. It provides a strong basis for a successful path of Raja Yoga. Raja Yoga by itself is not suitable for everybody. The very starting point is the stricter rules of Yama and Niyama which could not be followed easily by everyone. But for an adept in Hatha Yoga who has control over his body and mind, It will become easier to adhere to the rules of Raja Yoga.
In Raja yoga, the most of the aspirants find it hard to cope up with in the beginning, but in Hatha yoga, they can make a step by step progress without impediments.