Hatha Yoga Pradipika Verse One and Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar)

The first verse of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (one of the main texts of yoga) is, as you find in all the ancient texts, a showing of reverence to the god in which the knowledge has been handed down from. In this case, Adinatha or in another name Shiva. The Gheranda Samhita’s first verse is almost the same. This shows that the writer’s of each are from the same school and maybe even the same person. Showing respect to your teachers is a good first lesson to take from this verse. Showing respect is a form of letting go of the ego, a letting go of the knowledge being yours. It gives energy to the knowledge and lets it grow and be set on fire inside the aspirant. Ha and Tha (pronounced like taa, but with an aspirated th. It still has the t sound but then has a sound as if you were saying ha. Not tha like in the word thanks.) Ha is the sun and Tha is the moon. This is the union that yoga is describing. The left main energy channel (nadi) of the body is Ida or the lunar channel. The right is Pingala or the solar channel. When these are both balanced, at sun rise and sun set, sushumna nadi or the central channel is open. All yogic texts, expound about this very thing using different words for the sun and the moon detailing different meanings to the sentences that they are used in.
It is kind of like the 12 names of the sun. Surya is the most well known. There are only EVER 12 steps to a sun salutation because of each of the 12 names of the sun identify with each of the steps within the salutation. Each name is the name of the sun within a different constellation of the zodiac. A different form of the sun for every month or zodiacal sign. The 12 names are of the 12 adiyas. In each month of the year, it is a different aditya who shines. They are they who create. As Indra, Surya destroys the enemies of the gods. As Dhata, he creates living beings. As Parjanya, he showers down rain. As Tvashta, he lives in the trees and herbs. As Pusha, he makes foodgrains grow. As Aryama, he is in the wind. As Bhaga, he is in the body of all 0living beings. As Vivasvana, he is in fire and helps to cook food. As Vishnu, he destroys the enemies of the gods. As Amshumana, he is again in the wind. As Varuna, Surya is in the waters and as Mitra, he is in the moon and in the oceans.

In each sign the sun has a different mood or personality the same as you might have a different name your friends call you vs your what your partner calls you if you are alone vs what your parents call you vs your grandparents vs your children yet you are still the same person. Each of the positions are also related to the positions in the sky. This shows the link between Jyotish (Vedic Astrology) and Yoga. They are both part of the same gorgeous wisdom that comes from the vedas.

Surya rides across the sky in a golden chariot drawn by seven white horses, personifications of the days of the week.  The solar chariot is the oldest hypothesis to explain the apparent movement of the sun across the sky. The wheels of his chariot naturally have twelve spokes for the obvious reasons.
Surya is married to Sanjana, daughter of the Cosmic craftsman Vishvakarma.  The marriage is very happy, They had two sons and girl. The first son was Vaivasvata Manu and the second son was Yama or Shradhadeva, the god of death. Yama had a twin sister named Yamuna. Sanjana could not bear her husband when he shines in full glory. One day she makes the mistake of closing her eyes and averting her head from this intolerable illumination and the normally gentle Surya almost became a supernova. He cursed his wife to bear the god of death, Yama, for having averted her gaze from the giver of life, and for being variable and inconstant in her opinions, to bear a twin girl Yamuna, a river that never maintains its limits – constantly shifting itself. Fortunately they had already had their brilliant son, Manu, who is to become the first man of the next cycle of creation; and he helped them to reconcile later. Sanjana was too hurt by his behaviour to easily reconcile, so she leaves her husband. Through her powers, she created an image from her own body that looked exactly like her. This image was called Chhaya (shadow). Samjna told Chhaya, “I cannot bear the energy of my husband, I am going off to my father’s house. Stay here, pretend to be Samjna and look after my children. Under no circumstances tell anyone, certainly not my husband, that your are not me.” “I will do as you have asked me to,” replied Chhaya. “But the moment someone curses me or pulls me by the hair, I shall be forced to reveal the truth.”

Surya, who had not realized that Samjna had been replaced by Chhaya, had two sons through Chhaya. They were named Savarni Manu and Shani (Saturn). As soon as her own children were born, Chhaya no longer displayed as much of love for Samjna’s children as she used to do. Vaivasvata Manu was a quiet sort of person and he ignored the implied neglect. But Yama was not the tolerant. Besides, he was also younger. He raised his leg to kick Chhaya. At this, Chhaya cursed Yama that his legs would fall off. Yama went and complained to Surya. ” I have not really kicked her,” he said. “I only threatened to. And does a mother ever curse her children?” “I can’t undo the curse, ” replied Surya. “At best, I can reduce its severity. Your legs will not actually fall off. Some of the flesh from your legs will fall off onto the earth and create worms. Thereby, you will be freed of your curse.” But nevertheless, Surya felt that there was some truth in Yama’s asking whether a mother would ever curse her children. He taxed Chhaya with the truth, but Chhaya would not reveal anything Surya then grasped her by the hair and threatened to curse her. Since her conditions were now violated, Chhaya blurted out the truth.

Samjna had went to her father Vishvakarma kept asking her to return to her husband. But this Samjna refused to do. Instead, she went to the land known as Uttara Kuru and started to live there as a mare. She she ends up going to the forest to perform penance and bring Surya’s blaze down. She hides in the form of a Solar Mare.  When Surya finds out, he joins her as a stallion or Ashwa.  The results of this wooing, they had two sons named Nasatya and Dasra, the Ashwini Kumara, Since ashva means horse, the sons were also known as the two Ashvinish and became the physicians of the gods. This is also the first nakshatra or asterism.

In an extremely angry mood, Surya dashed off to Vishvakarma’s house. Vishvakarma tried to cool him down. “it is all because of your excessive energy that this has happened, exclaimed Vishvakarma. “If you permit, I will shave off some of the extra energy. Then Samjna will be able to look at you.” Vishvakarma decides to help his daughter, and puts Surya on his great lathe and cuts away an eighth of his effulgence.  This fiery power was redistributed among the other gods, primarily as weapons.  Vishnu got a discus, Siva his trident, Skanda his spear, and so on. The weapons are connected to direction (dig) as well as the deities.

The best time to worship the sun there is at the time of sunrise. One has to face the east and draw a lotus flower on the ground with red sandalwood. The lotus flower must have exactly eight petals. A copper vessel has to be placed at the center of the flower and filled with paddy, sesamum water, red sandalwood, red flowers and sacred grass. One prays to Surya to descend on the lotus flower that has thus been drawn. If one worships Konaditya (surya) according to these prescribed rites, the sins of seven preceding generations are forgiven.

The twelve adityas are nothing but different forms of Surya. Their names are Indra. Dhata, Parjanya, Tvashta, Pusha Aryama, Bhaga Vivasvana, Vishnu, Amshumana, Varuna, and Mitra. As Indra, Surya destroys the enemies of the gods. As Dhata, he creates living beings. As Parjanya, he showers down rain. As Tvashta, he lives in the trees and herbs. As Pusha, he makes foodgrains grow. As Aryama, he is in the wind. As Bhaga, he is in the body of all living beings. As Vivasvana, he is in fire and helps to cook food. As Vishnu, he destroys the enemies of the gods. As Amshumana, he is again in the wind. As Varuna, Surya is in the waters and as Mitra, he is in the moon and in the oceans.

In each month of the year, it is a different aditya who shines. Indra shines in the month of Ashvina, Dhata in Kartika, Parjanya in Shravana, Tvashta in Falguna, Pusha in Pousha, Aryama in Vaishakha, Bhaga in Magha, Vivasvana in Jyaishtha, Vishnu in Chaitra, Amshumana in Ashada, Varuna, in Bhadra and Mitra in Agrahayana. Vishnu has twelve hundred rays, Aryama one thousand and three hundred. Vivasvana seventy-two, Amshumana fifteen, Parjanya seventy-two, Varuna one thousand and three hundred, Tvashta one thousand and one hundred, Indra two thousand and two hundred, Dhata eleven hundred, Mitra one thousand and Pusha nine hundred. Apart from the names of the twelve adityas, Surya has twelve other names as well. These are Aditya, Savita, Surya, Mihira, Arka, Prabhakara, Martanda, Bhaskara, Bhanu, Chitrabhanu, Divakara and Ravi.

The sunrise or sunset is also the only appropriate time to do a Hatha Yoga practice due to the nostrils being balanced equally and sushumna being open at this time. If practice was to be done at another time when only one nostril is open, that energy channel is dominant. You can imagine how the energy will flow at that time. it will create an imbalance in the energy by creating flow solely through that open nadi. There will be more written later about the nadis and this very subject.There is so much wisdom hid within ever verse of ever shastra (ancient text). It is only thru a true teacher and ones own true practice that one will learn and grow from the teachings that are to be discovered.
So you see in the name Hatha Yoga that it is an energy science. The basis of a science of enlightenment.Only when we take off the lenses of how we see can we truly learn and experience something new.

Surya is the source to which all the living beings owe their existence. All the deities derive their effulgence from Surya, who in turn derives its own radiance from Lord Mahadeva.Time is determined with the help of Surya’s movement. One can not even imagine the various units of time, like Kshana, muhurta day, night, fortnight, month, season etc. without the existence of Surya. The Sun, which illuminates the whole world is nothing but the medium through which the almighty Rudra manifests himself. The Sun sheds thousands of rays among which seven are prominent- Sushumna, Rishikesh, Vishwakarma, Vishwatyacha, Annadh, Sarvavasu and Swarah.

Never heard about the sun having different names in different signs…hmm?
  1. The names of the sun are as follows with its personality in each as well.
    Mitra : Meaning The Friend The Sun when he moves into Aries, where he is exalted and therefore at his most generous and friendly
    Ravi Meaning The Radiant In Taurus (the feminine home of Venus) the sun exhibits his brilliant beauty
    Surya Meaning The Giver of Beauty In Gemini the Sun concentrates on making people beautiful so they may enjoy one another
    Bhanu Meaning The Catalyst of Emotion In Cancer (the 4th sign, feminine home of the emotional Moon) the Sun becomes the spark which ignites deep emotion
    Khaga Meaning the Awesome In Leo (the Sun’s own sign) the Sun becomes royal and kingly, an object of awe and reverence
    Pushna Meaning the Nourisher In Virgo (the 6th sign) the Sun destroys disease and nourishes health
    Hiranya Garba Meaning the All-Inclusive In Libra (the 7th sign) the Sun illuminates our universal relationship to all beings
    Marica Meaning the Destroyer of Darkness The 8th sign, Scorpio, is a place shrouded in mystery. Here, the Sun destroys darkness.
    Aditya Meaning the Illuminator of the Way The 9th sign, Sagittarius, is the source of moral fortune. Here the Sun illuminates the correct path.
    Savitra Meaning theThe Arouser Capricorn is the 10th sign of the zodiac, which is equivalent to the 10th House, which represents noon. Here the Sun wakes us and arouses our external impulses
    Arka Meaning the Flash of Warmth In Aquarius (11th sign) the Sun flashes warmth to the world
    Bhaskara Meaning the Liberator In Pisces (12th sign) the Sun illuminates the spiritual knowledge that leads to liberation

    The mantras that are repeated for one set of suryanamaskar (12 sets total) are:

    Om Mitraay Namah!
    Om Raveye Namah!
    Om Suryaya Namah!
    Om Bhanave Namah!
    Om Khagaya Namah!
    Om Pushne Namah!
    Om Hiranyagarbhaya Namah!
    Om Marichaye Namah!
    Om Adityaya Namah!
    Om Savitre Namah!
    Om Arkaya Namah!
    Om Bhaskaraya Namah!

    Surya is to be worshipped on the seventh (saptami) day of the lunar fortnight. If saptami vrata is observed in shuklapaksha, all sorrow disappears. Sins are atoned for and all one’s desires are attained. Women who have no children can have sons if they observe the proper rites.


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