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Kundalini Hatha Yoga Pradipika Paperback – December 14, 2014
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From the Back Cover
This is perhaps the most detailed commentary, most English-expressed translation of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika with profuse illustrations of what happens in the subtle body of a yogi who is proficient in kundalini manipulation for subtle body transformation. Some diagrams show what happens in the subtle body of a yogi who masters this process.
The tantric aspects of controlled psyche-arresting sexual intercourse is plainly discusses just as Swatmarama Mahayogin did in the Sanskrit original but with more details in the commentary of exactly how that is done. This is the theory. A reader is responsible for the practice but there is sufficient exposition. Any ascetic can use this information to develop a kundalini yoga practice. The raja yoga integration of remaining introverted while being externally occupied is explained.
Kundalini yoga as it is described in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika is a complicated mix of ascetic practices, but if the student learns each of the aspects from a competent teacher, it can be mastered. This book is the syllabus for such education and gives the theoretical platform for this.
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Approximately 1700 years ago, Patanjali Maharishi (A great Sage) compiled 196 Indian sutras (Keys) about yoga probably based on his intuition, experience, and older traditions. Imagine the original text must be only approximately 392 sentences long. Then around 500 years ago, another great Sage Swatmarama compiled the yoga manual Hatha Pradipika on Hatha Yoga. I believe that the information was in Sanskrit (an ancient Indian language). The manual describes the use of Shatkarma (righteous and non-violent living), Asanas (physical body postures), Pranayama (breathing exercises), Bandha (locks) practice, for awakening the Kundalini and journey towards deeper and deeper states of Samadhi, liberation, and perfection of life. These ancient texts are poetical. Sanskrit is very ancient language. This language is not easy to learn. The original verses like any philosophical poetry can easily be misinterpreted for its true meaning.
Now coming to Michael Beloved’s book “Kundalini Hatha Yoga Pradipika”: I am finding that the whole book is filled with words of wisdom, not only for yoga practitioners but in general for everybody who wants to live a happy and healthy life. I enjoyed every word of the book thus for. It looks like that Sage Patanjali and Swatmarama themselves provided the explanation of the Yoga Sutras to the modern humans in English via Michael’s book. Michael is a contemporary Yoga practitioner himself, who appeared to have tuned into these ancient original texts of the sages. He has done a service to mankind by providing his honest / un-corrupted explanation of the ancient texts along with his detailed analysis of each verse, interpretation and application. Michael has also included the original Sanskrit text in the book. He provided the pronunciation of the Sanskrit text, provide word by word meaning of the original text, then separate section “analysis” his interpretation of the original text, and lastly added another section “application” describing the application and significance in detail of the verse in the modern world.
I like the format throughout, as it allows me the reader, to apply my imagination and intuition while interpreting the original text based on my own level of understanding and experience of spirituality, purpose of my life, and Yoga in general. I think Michael successfully accessed the energy of ancient sages and presented the ancient information to the reader/practitioner so that they are able to break away from their obsessions with distorted views, propagated by selfish and ignorant people. The mis-information is very counterproductive to a true seeker/practitioner of yoga (thinking that Yoga is only about bodily /postural practice, to make us look handsome/beautiful/pretty).
My pre-conceived notion about this book: “this book is going to be a tiny one with quick/short notes about someone’s interpretation about Kundalini Yoga in English”. I was pleasantly surprised when I put my hands on his book first time. This is a very detailed, well written, easy to read book, has yes "697 pages", each sheet of 7X10 inches. One can easily get a doctorate degree for writing such a book on this topic. It is written like a text book on any subject but by a true professional researcher/practitioner. The beauty of this book is that it has only 4 chapters. He used very judiciously, many diagrams/cartoons to explain difficult to understand concepts. The reader can read any chapter in any order. So far, I have only just finished almost 3 chapters. I read many pages two or three times because each time, I will absorb something new which deepens my understanding of the ancient sages philosophy of Yoga and makes me wonder how it is still possible to live a healthy and righteous life in modern world if one wants to.
Myself being born and raised in India, who was exposed to Yoga at very early age of 15 and have been practicing Yoga for the past 35 years, have read many books on Yoga, studied many different faiths / practices on spirituality. I am witnessing almost everywhere (with very few exceptions) that the modern world is filled with a universal principle of “commodification” of everything, including sacred knowledge, practices, and everything tangible and intangible. In this process, Yoga too appeared to have lost its true meaning for a common person. The so-called modern trainers / gurus are spreading mis-information intentionally or unintentionally, may be with an intent of cashing in on people’s desire to find happiness or feeding on their ignorance for filling their own pockets with money, name, and fame, lust etc. without providing any meaningful benefit to human beings.
Can the true meaning of Yogic practice be summarized like this: self-recognition, for understanding our roots of innate oneness and connection with universal consciousness, knowledge with provides pathways leading to one’s freedom from the clutches of space-time-matter while tapping into the unlimited-power source for living a life filled with great moral strength and character? I wonder why authentic Yogic practice remains elusive irrespective of the availability of many sources of ancient texts and knowledge. I find Michael’s book on hand as one of many such sources. Of course, one can imagine that knowledge alone is useless unless it is put into continued practice for meaningful benefits.
I was to a degree silenced by this. That is the reason why this review is one with closed lips. This book has new terminology and expansive definitions for Sanskrit terms. Buy it, if you are a yogi, you will not regret it.