The self-contained hatha’ behind hatha-yoga
Was hatha initially a self-contained Way of Liberation?
We know from Birch (2011) that long before HYP there were hatha and hatha-yoga practices but they were mainly seen as energetic ancillary techniques supporting existing practices. So when we encounter hatha in the various texts, it subsumed a certain milieu’s existing practices. But was it always like this? Did hatha never stand on its own independent feet free of the embrace of Buddhist, Saivist, raja-yoga and other elite discourses?
The above quotation (Ch.4: verse 79): There are practitioners of hatha-yoga who do not have knowledge of raja yoga .(they receive).. no fruits of their efforts leads to a very interesting observation. The quotation implies that there are hatha yogis who are wasting their time. We can deduce that there were some original hatha practitioners who practised their hatha sadhana” without knowledge of samadhi (raja-yoga). The text quoted clearly indicates the existence of hatha groups claiming that their hatha efforts were self-contained and could stand on their own feet in respect of final goals.
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