The Hatha Yoga Prad?pik? (Sanskrit: ha?hayogaprad?pik?, or Light on Hatha Yoga) is a classic fifteenth-century Sanskrit manual on hatha yoga, written by Sv?mi Sv?tm?r?ma, who connects the teaching's lineage to Matsyendranath of the Nathas. It is among the most influential surviving texts on hatha yoga. The Hatha Yoga Prad?pik? is also one of three classic texts on hatha yoga, alongside the Gheranda Samhita and the Shiva Samhita.
Because this work originated so long ago, different manuscripts offer various versions of its title. The database of the A.C. Woolner manuscript project at the Library of the University of Vienna gives the following variant titles, gleaned from different manuscript colophons: Ha?hayogaprad?pik?, Ha?haprad?pik?, Ha?haprad?, Hath-Pradipika.
The Hatha Yoga Prad?pik? was composed by Sv?tm?r?ma in the 15th century CE. as a compilation of the earlier hatha yoga texts. Sv?tm?r?ma incorporates older Sanskrit concepts into his popular synthesis. In the Hatha Yoga Prad?pik?, Sv?tm?r?ma introduces his system as preparatory stage for physical purification that the body practices for higher meditation or yoga. It is based on asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques).
Hatha Yoga Prad?pik? lists thirty-five earlier Ha?ha Yoga masters (Skt. siddha), including ?di N?tha, Matsyendran?tha and Gorak?an?tha. The work consists of four chapters that include information about purification (Skt. ?a?karma), posture (?sana), breath control (pry?ma), spiritual centres in the body (chakra), coiled power (kualin?), force postures (bandha), (kriy?), power (?akti), subtle/gross bodily connections (n), and symbolic gestures (mudr?), among other topics.
It runs in the line of Hindu yoga (to distinguish from Buddhist and Jain yoga) and is dedicated to The First Lord (?din?tha), one of the names of Lord ?iva (the Hindu god of destruction and renewal), who is described in several texts from the Datt?treyayogastra onwards as having imparted the secret of ha?ha yoga to his divine consort P?rvat?.
In the twenty-first century research on the history of yoga has led to a more developed understanding of hatha yoga. In analyzing the Hatha Yoga Prad?pik?, as well as other works by Sv?tm?r?ma, researchers better understand the origins of hatha yoga.
James Mallinson has thoroughly studied the origins of hatha yoga and has worked with classic yoga texts such as the Khecar?vidy?. He has identified a collection of eight works that introduce early hatha yoga and contribute directly to its official formation in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Many of his conclusions from these early works revise earlier understandings about the formation of yoga.
Jason Birch has investigated the evolution of the meaning of the Sanskrit word "ha?ha." He specifically researched the key role of the Hatha Yoga Prad?pik? in popularizing a particular interpretation of this term. When written, the Hatha Yoga Prad?pik? drew from various classic texts on different systems of yoga, and Sv?tm?r?ma grouped what he had found under the generic term "ha?ha yoga". Although ha?ha yoga has evolved into a generic term that is currently understood as a branch of yoga involving physical poses (including sun salutations, viny?sas, a?ga, etc.), it originally had a more specific meaning. After examining Buddhist tantric commentaries and medieval yoga texts that came before the Hatha Yoga Prad?pik?, Birch found that the adverbial uses of the word suggests that it meant "force". Birch found that, "Rather than the metaphysical explanation of uniting the sun (ha) and moon (?ha), it is more likely that the name ha?ha yoga was inspired by the meaning 'force'."
Works related to Hatha Yoga Pradipika at Wikisource