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Author: Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati
Publisher: Yoga Publications Trust
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9789381620199
The yoga taught in Gheranda Samhita is known as saptanga yoga, seven limbs of yoga. There is no rule that yoga must have a certain number of limbs. In other yogic texts ashtanga yoga, eightfold yoga or eight-limbed yoga, is described. In both Hatharatnavali, authored by the great yoga exponent Srinivasa Bhatta, and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika of Yogi Swatmarama, four limbs of yoga are given. In Goraksha Ashtakam, written by Sage Gorakhnath, shashtanga yoga, six limbs of yoga, are described.
From the oldest surviving copies of Gheranda Samhita, it can be inferred that as a literary work it began in the seventeenth century. Of fourteen available manuscripts found in northern and eastern India and used for critical editions of Gheranda Samhita, the earliest copy dates back to 1802. As an oral tradition, passed from guru to disciple, these secret teachings would probably have survived for at least several centuries before being written down. No one knows where or when Sage Gheranda was born, but his teachings were propagated in the north-eastern region of India and seem to have been unknown in the south.
Gheranda Samhita is a classical text describing seven limbs of yoga as taught by Sage Gheranda to his disciple, King Chandakapali. Sage Gheranda outlines a system which can take the serious aspirant from purification of the body to the highest states of samadhi and knowledge of the soul.
Distinguishing it from other hatha yoga systems, Sage Gheranda’s seven limbs includes the tattwa dharanas (concentrations on the elements) and the seamless merging of hatha yoga and tantra by combining mudras, bandhas and pranayamas with mantra, yantra and mandala. The natural flow of this potent process into dhyana and samadhi is beautifully discussed, bringing the teachings to a sublime conclusion.
The commentary by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati guides the modern reader through the details of the practices, many of which are complex, rarely described and cryptically expressed by the sage. Comprehensive instructions are given for all the techniques, while subtle understandings and insights into the underlying philosophy and purpose are presented with beauty and simplicity.
The original Sanskrit verses, with transliteration and translation are included.
Chapter One: Prologue & Shatkarma
Introduction to Shatkarma
Trataka Kapalbhati (Bhalbhati)
Chapter Two: Asana
Introduction to Asana
Chapter Three: Mudra and Bandha
Introduction Mudra and Bandha
Bandha: Four Locks
Chapter Four: Pratyahara
Chapter Five: Pranayama
Chapter Six: Dhyana
Chapter Seven: Samadhi
Samadhi: Highest State of Consciousness
A: Psychic Physiology of Yoga
B: Sanskrit Text
Index of Practices