Revealing the Secret, Commentary on The Small Burning Lamp of Sun-Moon Yoga (Hatha Yoga Pradipika)
translated into English by Professor M.D. Pant, Yogeshwar Muni and Darshana illustrations by Añjali and proofreading by Sati.
The technical yogic terms have been carefully rendered in English, thus giving serious aspirants who are not familiar with the traditional cultures of ancient and modern India access to the esoteric realm of Sun-Moon Yoga.
We imagine a temple of yoga. Entering it, we approach its inner sanctum. We see that the door to the inner sanctum is open; however, a gauze curtain hangs interposed between us and the image of truth that lies within. We stand there gazing, but can only vaguely see that which is within. No matter how hard we try to guess the secret, it eludes us. Then, inside the inner sanctum, Swatmarama, holding the small radian lamp of sun-moon yoga in his hand, helps us see the truth of yoga more clearly. But most of us trying to penetrate the now brightly lit gauze curtain by using our senses, only become blinded by the light. Seeing the sincerity and seriousness of a few of us, Kripalvanada, standing by the entrance of the inner sanctum, draws back the veil, revealing the radiant image of truth that illuminates the path of sun-moon yoga. By its light, we can, if we choose, abandon our fixed ideas and follow that path to true knowledge and final liberation. back cover of Revealing the Secret
Swami Kripalvananda wanted to write a book on purifying action yoga (the illusion-destroying practice of uniting with divinity) that would be both useful to the yoga aspirant and honor the ancient yogic scriptures. Instead of writing a separate book of his own experiences, he decided to write a commentary on the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, a renowned clearly written and systematic yogic work written on the basis of the author's own experience. He called his commentary Revealing the Secret for a purpose because qualified individuals will easily comprehend the hidden secrets when they are revealed. He says:
“…The Small Burning Lamp of Sun-Moon Yoga is a world-famous yogic work. Although this book is not very ancient, it has been written on the basis of ancient works and [the author’s] own experience. Remembering Revered Deliverer (God) and the revered truth teacher, I began to write the commentary. This yoga is called the Absolute teaching (the teaching that is about the Absolute). It should be kept well hidden (in esoteric form), because those qualified to receive it are very rare. Ordinary aspirants who do not properly understand the secret become involved in senseless (mistaken, harmful) action. Yet a qualified individual easily comprehends the hidden secrets [when they are revealed], so, in various places, I have revealed (unveiled) the secret as appropriate [in so far as it is possible to do so with out misleading ordinary aspirants]. back cover Revealing the Secret
"Yoga is my life. Whatever I have come upon up to now, I have placed with vast affection before qualified individuals as the blessed gift of God."
Revealing the Secret p. vii
The Small Burning Lamp of Sun-Moon Yoga includes sixteen postures, eight suspensions of the life energy, ten energy seals, the six practices, and divine sound uniting. There are detailed diagrams of the seven energy centers.
THE FIRST INSTRUCTION: Posture
Knowledge, devotion and action are all necessary parts of one yoga and one destination. There are two stages of royal yoga, the outer limb and the inner limb. The outer limb concerns the organs of action (the tongue as the organ of speech, the hands, the feet, the sex organ and the anus). Mastery of the organs of action is sun-moon yoga. The inner limb stage concerns the organs of sense or knowledge and is called the mastery of the mind.
No matter which journey of yoga the aspirant makes, he will undergo the false experience of the Absolute. It is unavoidable because until the journey of false knowledge comes to an end and the mental faculty acquires the light of knowledge, the experience of intervening illusions is natural.
In order to help the seeker of liberation in this pitch darkness of various doctrines, I am here in the center of the path holding The Small Burning Lamp of Sun-Moon Yoga."
Revealing the Secret v.1.3 p. 7
The first limb of sun-moon teaching is posture. By means of the continued practice of posture, the practitioner acquires stability, freedom from disease, and lightness of limbs. Posture occurs in the very beginning of yoga and is present up to the state of equanimity. It is the center of any systematic practice. The power of a given posture increases step by step throughout all levels of yoga.
Postures described in Revealing the Secret, a Commentary on The Small Burning Lamp of Sun-Moon Yoga (Hatha Yoga Pradipika):
The Good Luck Posture
The Cow's Face Posture
The Virile Posture
The Tortoise Posture
The Cock Posture
The Turned-Up Tortoise Posture
The Bow Posture
The Matsyendra Posture
The Dorsal-Upward Posture
The Peacock Posture
The Corpse Posture
The Accomplishment Posture
The Lotus Posture
The Lion Posture
The Blessed Posture
Secret Contents p. v
THE SECOND INSTRUCTION: Suspension of the Life Energy
Once a posture becomes firm, a yogi should do continued practice of suspensions of the the life energy in the way his teacher has instructed.
“ Instruction Concerning the Suspension of the Life Energy
Verse 2.1 Immediately upon the posture becoming firm, the yogi who is a practicer of restraint and who regulates food, should do correct continued practice of suspensions of the life energy in the way the teacher has instructed.
In the above instruction, the words ‘yogi’ and ‘vashi’ (one with power, one with authority) [in the original Sanskrit verse] have been used for a reason. That is, the aspirant who has his posture firmly established is not an ordinary aspirant but a yogi and a practicer of restraint.
This instruction has been imparted for a liberation-seeking aspirant of natural yoga, or accomplishment yoga, not for an ordinary aspirant. When, by means of sun-moon yoga, the release of the life energy occurs, sun-moon yoga is called natural yoga or accomplishment yoga. The release of the life energy is a yogic technique.”
Revealing the Secret p. 40
Death is the greatest bondage of all. The human being trapped in the net of death is a prisoner. Freed from death, one is free while still alive. Pleasure is the means of bondage and yoga is the means of liberation. For the attainment of freedom, stabilization of the vital air is indispensable.
THE THIRD INSTRUCTION: Energy Seal
When the very kind flow (highest) energy channel becomes a royal path for the life energy and the mental faculty becomes disconnected from the objects of sense (is no longer being used by the yogi to try to fulfil desire), even time/death itself is undercut.
Energy seal is the developed form of posture. In postures, the organs are primary and the life energy is secondary. In energy seals, on the other hand, the organs are secondary, and the life energy is primary. The same energy seal can occur in various postures.
When yogis who have reached the far shore of yoga say 'the awake evolutionary force,' they are referring to the upfacing evolutionary force. The aspirant can have experiences by means of the downfacing evolutionary force, but they do not mean that his evolutionary force has been awakened. As long as the evolutionary force remains downfacing, the aspirant is still a traveler on the path of engagement.
THE FOURTH INSTRUCTION: Equanimity
Equanimity means the conjunction of the living soul (Divine Power, Shakti) and Kind Dissolver (Shiva), the non-sprouting of the mental tendencies, liberation, or the permanent end of pain
When the great divine power is awakened through various postures, various holds and various methods, the life energy is absorbed in the void. The yogi who has awakened the evolutionary force and has renounced all actions gets the intrinsic natural state (his own natural state).
Scriptures contain the extract of knowledge. Real knowledge is only obtained through experience. For experience, systematic practice of yoga is indispensable.