Esoteric Philosopher: Study of the Endless Path of Wisdom

Hatha Yoga
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Black magic of this nature creeps into all religions along this very line of the destruction of the form through outer agency, and not through the liberation of the life through inner development and preparedness. It produces the evils of Hatha Yoga in India and similar methods as practiced in certain religious and occult orders in the Occident also. TCF 491.

Black magic of this nature creeps into all religions along this very line of the destruction of the form through outer agency, and not through the liberation of the life through inner development and preparedness. It produces the evils of Hatha Yoga in India and similar methods as practiced in certain religious and occult orders in the Occident also. Both work with matter on some plane in the three worlds, and do evil that good may come; both control the devas, and attempt to produce specific ends by manipulation of the matter of the form. TCF 491.
    Ray IV Conflict
    Birth of man
    Hatha Yoga. EA 648.
It might be of interest here to note that it is the problem of establishing a relation between the animal and himself which was the original basis of what is called Hatha-Yoga and tantric magic. The link was sought in this yoga with that which was known to be similar in the two kingdoms (the physical body with its activities and purposes) and that which should be negative in the human kingdom was stimulated into a positive agency through the power of the will. That followers of Hatha-Yoga are not aware of this purpose may be true, but the originating exponents of the Hatha-Yoga mysteries were well aware of this objective, and in their zeal for unity between the two kingdoms, sought unity in the lower aspects, and neglected the real method. TCF 1213.
    Ray IV Conflict.
    Birth of Horus.
    Intensity of struggle. Hatha Yoga, the most
    dangerous method of psychic growth.
    Green. EPI 164.
The Lemurian race practically destroyed itself, owing to its misuse of the sacral center, which was at that time the most active and the dominant center. In Atlantean days it was the solar plexus center which was the prime objective of the "entering fire." The work of the Hierarchy in Lemurian days was, as I have told you elsewhere, to teach infant humanity the nature, meaning and significance of the physical vehicle, just as in the next race, the emotional was fostered and the major object of attention, and in our race, it is the mind which is subjected to stimulation. The initiate in Lemurian times was one who had completely mastered the control of the body, and hatha-yoga was then the outstanding spiritual practice. This, in time, was superseded by laya-yoga, which brought all the centers in the etheric body (except the throat and head centers) into functioning activity. This is not the type of activity which is now possible, because it must be remembered that the Master in those days had not the development or the understanding of the Masters of today, the only exceptions being Those Who had come from other schemes and spheres to aid animal-man and primitive humanity. EH 228.
The healing which is the result of a definite practice, conscious or unconscious, of Hatha Yoga. This is brought about by a projection of purely physical magnetism, which, added to the quota of available physical magnetism at the patient's disposal within his own physical body, suffices to effect an immediate cure. The magnetism in the body of the patient, instead of being outgoing and radiating, becomes inverted and turns inward to make its contribution to the reservoir of physical force held in a static condition within the body. EH 358.
In Lemurian days, the healer achieved his ends by the use of drastic physical disciplines, thus gaining the needed purity. The goal, as you know, of hierarchical effort in those days was to teach primitive man the uses and purpose of the physical body and its intelligent control; the man who mastered the body and was in control of it as a machinist is in control of a machine, was then regarded as an initiate. Today, it is the mastering of the personality which makes a man an initiate. Celibacy, careful modes of eating and a measure of bodily cleanliness, plus the rudiments of Hatha Yoga (embryonic physical, athletic control - muscular control primarily) were strictly emphasized.
This achieved, so-called purity permitted the free flow of the pranic currents from the healer to the patient, via the sacral center and the throat center - the spiritual healer working through the throat center, and the point of reception in the patient being the sacral center; neither the heart nor the head centers were used. Prana, to define it for your purposes, is the vitality of the planet, its vital emanation; it is this prana which is distributed or transferred by a natural healer (one without any training, without much essential knowledge or with little, if any, spiritual orientation). He heals but does not know how or why; prana simply flows through him in the form of a strong current of animal vitality, usually from the splenic center and not from any of the seven centers.
These drastic physical disciplines are often attempted today by well-intentioned aspirants; they practice celibacy, strict vegetarianism, relaxation exercises and many kinds of physical exercises, in the hope of bringing the body under control. These forms of discipline would be very good for the undeveloped and the lowest type of human being, but they are not the methods which should be employed by the average man or the practicing aspirant. Concentration upon the physical body only serves to enhance its potency and to feed its appetites and bring to the surface of consciousness that which should be securely secluded below the threshold of consciousness. The true aspirant should be occupied with emotional, not physical, control and with the effort to focus himself upon the mental plane, prior to achieving a stabilized contact with the soul. EH 579.
Their objective was to bring about a realization of the kingdom of God within, and little attention was paid (in Their training of Their disciples) to the bringing about of the realization of God in nature or in other units. It was necessary in those days to employ methods more definitely physical than are permissible now, and these methods of physical stimulation were employed and the laws of energy as they work through the various centers were taught until the time came when another big change was made in the hierarchical methods, and the door from the animal kingdom into the human was closed and the door of initiation was opened. It was felt at that time that man was then self-centered enough and individualized enough to permit of a drastic change in method and practice. All this took a vast period of time and it is the remnants of the earlier Temple practices which have come down to us in degraded phallic teaching, in Tantrik magic and the practices of Hatha Yogis. The infant humanity of Lemurian and early Atlantean days had to be taught what they were by means of symbols and methods which to us would be crude, impossible and of a nature which the race should have transcended for many millions of years. TWM 380.
Evolution has brought all the sons of men (who are ready to be chelas or disciples), through the various races, and whilst in the Lemurian race (or else on the preceding chain or greater cycle) they were all hatha and laya yogins. This resulted in the development and control of the dual physical body, dense and etheric. LOS 122.
The posture assumed must be steady and easy.This sutra is one that has led our occidental students into a great deal of trouble for they have interpreted it in an entirely physical sense. That it has a physical meaning is true but taken in reference to the lower threefold nature it might be said that it refers to a steady immovable position of the physical body when in meditation, a firm steadfast unwavering condition of the astral or emotional body in the passage through worldly existence, and an unfluctuating steady mind, one that is absolutely under control. Of these three, it might be said that the physical posture is of the least importance, and that the position in which the aspirant can the soonest forget that he possesses a physical body is the best. It might be generally laid down that an upright position in a comfortable chair, with the spine erect, the feet crossed naturally, the hands folded in the lap, the eye closed, and the chin a little dropped is the best posture for the occidental aspirant. In the East there is a science of postures and about eighty-four different positions, some of them most intricate and painful, are listed.
This science is a branch of hatha yoga and is not to be followed by the fifth root-race; it is a remnant of that yoga which was necessary and sufficient for the Lemurian root-race man, who needed to learn physical control. Bhakti yoga, or the yoga of the devotee was the yoga of the Atlantean or fourth root-race man, plus a little hatha yoga. In this fifth root-race, the Aryan, hatha yoga should fall into desuetude altogether where the disciple is concerned, and he should occupy himself with Raja Yoga plus bhakti yoga - he should be a mental devotee. The Lemurian disciple learned to control the physical body and to devote it to the service of Ishvara through hatha yoga, with aspiration towards emotional control. LOS 214. 
All the various Yogas have had their place in the unfoldment of the human being. In the first purely physical race, which is called the Lemurian, the Yoga at that time imposed upon infant humanity was Hatha Yoga, the Yoga of the physical body, that Yoga which brings into conscious use and manipulation the various organs, muscles, and parts of the physical frame. The problem before the adepts of that time was to teach human beings, who were then little more than animals, the purpose, significance and use of their various organs, so that they could consciously control them, and the meaning of the symbol of the human figure. Therefore, in those early days, through the practice of Hatha Yoga, the human being reached the portal of initiation. At that time the attainment of the third initiation, resulting in the transfiguration of the personality, was the highest initiation that man was capable of achieving.In Atlantean days, the progress of the sons of men was procured through the imposition of two Yogas. First, the Yoga which is called by the name of Laya Yoga, the Yoga of the centers which produced a stabilizing of the etheric body and of the centers in man and the development of the astral and psychic nature. LOS Intro viii. 
Thus, all the Yogas have had their place and served a useful purpose and it will become apparent that any return to Hatha Yoga practices or those practices which deal specifically with the development of the centers, brought about through various types of meditation practices and breathing exercises, is, from a certain aspect, a retrogression. LOS Intro ix.
The method of approaching the Path will be by self-control, thus gaining equilibrium amongst the warring forces of the nature. The lower and extremely dangerous way is by Hatha Yoga. EP1 207. 
It is as definitely a recovery and as definitely undesirable as are some of the Hatha-yoga practices in India which enable the yogin to recover the conscious control of his bodily functions. This conscious control was a distinguishing mark of the early Lemurian races but for ages the activity of the body-organs has lain, most desirably and safely, below the threshold of consciousness, and the body performs its functions automatically and unconsciously, except in the case of disease or maladjustment of some kind. It is not intended that the race (when the work of this present cycle is accomplished) should function consciously in forgotten areas of awareness, as did the Lemurian or the Atlantean races. EP2 475.
When Gautama Buddha began his career, the later and lower form of Yoga seems to have been little known." And then, contradicting himself, the learned lecturer forthwith informs his audience that "We learn from Lalita-Vistara that various forms of bodily torture, self-maceration, and austerity were common in Gautama's time."(!!) But the lecturer seems quite unaware that this kind of torture and self-maceration is precisely the lower form of Yoga, Hatha Yoga, which was "little known" and yet so "common" in Gautama's time. SD1 47.
This allegory is at the root of the Occult law, which prescribes silence upon the knowledge of certain secret and invisible things perceptible only to the spiritual mind (the 6th sense), and which cannot be expressed by "noisy" or uttered speech. This chapter of Anugita explains, says Arjuna Misra, Pranayama, or regulation of the breath in Yoga practices. This mode, however, without the previous acquisition of, or at least full understanding of the two higher senses, of which there are seven, as will be shown, pertains rather to the lower Yoga. The Hatha so called was and still is discountenanced by the Arhats. It is injurious to the health and alone can never develop into Raj Yoga. This story is quoted to show how inseparably connected are, in the metaphysics of old, intelligent beings, or rather "Intelligences," with every sense or function whether physical or mental.
The Occult claim that there are seven senses in man, as in nature, as there are seven states of consciousness, is corroborated in the same work, chapter vii., on Pratyahara (the restraint and regulation of the senses, Pranayama being that of the "vital winds" or breath). The Brahmana speaks in it "of the institution of the seven sacrificial Priests (Hotris). He says: "The nose and the eyes, and the tongue, and the skin and the ear as the fifth (or smell, sight, taste, touch and hearing), mind and understanding are the seven sacrificial priests separately stationed"; and which "dwelling in a minute space (still) do not perceive each other" on this sensuous plane, none of them except mind. For mind says: "The nose smells not without me, the eye does not take in colour, etc., etc. I am the eternal chief among all elements (i.e., senses). Without me, the senses never shine, like an empty dwelling, or like fires the flames of which are extinct. Without me, all beings, like fuel half dried and half moist, fail to apprehend qualities or objects even with the senses exerting themselves." SD1 96. 
N g rjuna’s Mah y na (“Great Vehicle”) School was opposed by the H nay na (or “Little Vehicle”) System, and even the Yog ch rya of  ry sanga became disfigured by the yearly pilgrimage from India to the shores of Mansarovara, of hosts of vagabonds with matted locks who play at being Yogis and Fakirs, preferring this to work. An affected detestation of the world, and the tedious and useless practice of the counting of inhalations and exhalations as a means to produce absolute tranquillity of mind or meditation, have brought this school within the region of Hatha Yoga, and have made it heir to the Brahmanical Tarthikas. SD3 416.
The Shivagama in its details is purely Tantric, and nothing but harm can result from any practical following of its precepts. I would most strongly dissuade any student from attempting any of these Hatha Yoga practices, for he will either ruin himself entirely, or throw himself so far back that it will be almost impossible to regain the lost ground in this incarnation. The translation referred to has been considerably expurgated, and even now is hardly fit for publication. It recommends Black Magic of the worst kind, and is the very antipodes of spiritual Raja Yoga. SD3 491.
Now, what I have to say here is addressed especially to those members who are anxious to develop powers by “sitting for Yoga.” You have seen, from what has been already said, that in the development of Raja Yoga, no extant works made public are of the least good; they can at best give inklings of Hatha Yoga, something that may develop mediumship at best, and in the worst case—consumption. If those who practice “meditation,” and try to learn “the Science of Breath,” will read attentively Nature’s Finer Forces, they will find that it is by utilizing the five Tattvas only that this dangerous science is acquired. For in the exoteric Yoga Philosophy, and the Hatha Yoga practice,  kasha Tattva is placed in the head (or physical brain) of man; Tejas Tattva in the shoulders; Vayu Tattva in the navel (the seat of all the phallic Gods, “creators” of the universe and man);  pasa Tattva in the knees’ and Prithiv  Tattva in the feet. Hence the two higher Tattvas and their correspondences are ignored and excluded; and, as these are the chief factors in Raja Yoga, no spiritual or intellectual phenomena of a high nature can take place. The best results obtainable will be physical phenomena and no more. As the “Five Breaths,” or rather the five states of the human breath, in Hatha Yoga correspond to the above terrestrial planes and colours, what spiritual results can be obtained? On the contrary they are the very reverse of the plane of Spirit, or the higher macrocosmic plane, reflected as they are upside down, in the Astral Light. This is proven in the Tantra work, Shivagama, itself. SD3 499.
Such, then, is the Occult Science on which the modern Ascetics and Yogis of India base their Soul development and powers. They are known as the Hatha Yogis. Now, the science of Hatha Yoga rests upon the “suppression of breath,” or Pran yama? Literally translated, it means the “death of (vital) breath.” Prana, as said, is not Jiva, the eternal fount of life immortal; nor is it connected in any way with Pranava, as some think, for Pranava is a synonym of AUM in a mystic sense. As much as has ever been taught publicly and clearly about it is to be found in Nature’s Finer Forces. If such directions, however, are followed, they can only lead to Black Magic and mediumship. Several impatient Chelas, whom we know personally in India, went in for the practice of Hatha Yoga, notwithstanding our warnings. Of these, two developed consumption, of which one died; others became almost idiotic; another committed suicide; and one developed into a regular Tantrika, a Black Magician, but his career, fortunately for himself, was cut short by death. 
Now while the ascetic Chela of our school, for his mental development, follows carefully the process of the evolution of the Universe, that is, proceeds from universals to particulars, the Hatha Yogi reverses the conditions and begins by sitting for the suppression of his (vital) breath.  The Raja Yogi does not descend on the planes of substance beyond Sakshma (subtle matter), while the Hatha Yogi develops and uses his powers only on the material plane. He who has studied both systems, the Hatha and R ja Yoga, finds an enormous difference between the two: one is purely psycho-physiological. SD3 501.
In Lemurian times, the yoga of the age which produced the required at-one-ing or unification (preceding the taking of the initiation of the time) was hatha yoga, the yoga of the physical body. This gave to the initiate the needed physical control - a control which has today been so perfected in the race that it is now automatic and has slipped below the threshold of consciousness. In the great cyclic recapitulations which go on ceaselessly, we see today in our Aryan race a tremendous emphasis being given to physical perfection, to sport, to athletics, to dancing and to physical culture. It is the cyclic effect of the same ray forces, playing upon humanity again. The initiatory goal is today a mental at-one-ing. Nevertheless, the physical reaction to the ray forces produces a higher form of hatha yoga or physical coordination. EPI 355.
Why is it so difficult to realize as law, that each energy in itself is also a physical power? People can move their muscles at will, which means that this energy is manifested as a physical lever. The same thing is seen in the comparison of physically trained athletes with Hatha Yogis, who, to a noteworthy degree, acquire by will mastery of different muscular feats. Thus, the thinking man often conserves his physical strength. Aum 527. 
Now you can the better understand why Hatha Yoga has not been indicated by Us. Less than the others does it direct man to the fundamental energy. True, through the perfecting of muscular control and will power, it slowly advances a man, but the most basic factor with which one ought to begin remains neglected. Why proceed only from below when the best gifts come from Above?  Will not cognition of the most basic energy constitute the most speedy advancement?  Not a Hatha Yogi said, "The world is thought." Aum 540.
Hatha Yoga cannot be regarded as an independent form. The growth of the spirit changes it into Raja Yoga. It is impossible to name anybody who attained through Hatha Yoga alone. Besides, in a world of darkness and prejudice, accomplishments through Hatha Yoga can even bring harm, by its strengthening of the astral body. The fakirs may adapt themselves to this world of darkness and unwittingly weaken the ascent of thought. Even a person sitting quietly and contemplating can attain further, because thought is the Raja of all that exists. Beauty is born through the lightning of thought. Truly, a flaming Bhakti can kindle new worlds with a thought. And the step of a Jnani will be but the smile of a Raja-Bhakti. Therefore Hatha and Jnana are not original and are insufficient. What sage of wisdom would not be the lord of love? AY 28.
A skilled archer, even in this age of firearms, is still a skilled marksman. Likewise with Yogas. Except for Hatha Yoga, all Yogas are beautiful in accomplishment. It would be unwise to belittle any of them. One should only speak of which better applies to the present stage of evolution. AY 193.
You know how during the tension of some centers a contraction of the muscles can be observed, and inversely, a contraction of muscles can cause a strong sensation in the centers. If this idea is approached just by the intellect, it can lead to Hatha Yoga; but the noble straight-knowledge will always direct one upward. AY 564.
Hatha Yoga intensifies separate centers and it can only be regretted that these partial endeavors do not lead to Raja Yoga and Agni Yoga. Thus, physical and fiery exercises are harmful, disturbing the surrounding equilibrium. FWI 13.
Since Hatha Yoga demands certain bodily exercises, the question may be raised as to whether such exercises are also needed for other Yogas? Neither Arhats nor Great Spiritual Toilers practiced these. FWI 380.
In more ways than one it is possible to determine by experiment how the spirit helps even the development of muscles. I do not speak of Hatha Yoga, in which physical exercise is emphasized primarily. In other Yogas physical exercise has no such significance, but the spiritual development gives the muscles a special tone. Take two athletes—let one develop along physical methods alone and the other realize the power of the spirit. How much more will the latter excel!  FWI.  MM.
Raja-Yoga is opposed to Hatha Yoga, the physical or psycho-physiological training in asceticism. (TG)  AY. Gloss.
One should not overestimate the achievements of Hatha Yoga and think that "the adepts of Hatha Yoga are equal to those of Raja Yoga in ability to awaken the kundalini and to acquire various siddhis," and that "they reach bliss and liberation from matter."  It is not so!  The degree of bliss reached by such adepts is very relative, and they never reach liberation from matter (in the sense which is meant by the Great Teachers) by means of Hatha Yoga. As it is said in the Teaching, "We know of no one who reached the goal by way of Hatha Yoga."
Even the development of the lower siddhis, to which the Hatha Yogis come by stubborn and terribly difficult mechanical exercises (Western literature has no idea about even half of these horrors) is not lasting, and in their next incarnations they may lose all these siddhis. Only those achievements are valuable and permanent that come naturally, for then they are the result of inner spiritual development and can never be lost. Only in such way can the all-powerful manifestations be reached. Exercises in Hatha Yoga should not go beyond a slight and very careful pranayama, which strengthens health, as otherwise they might be dangerous and could lead to mediumism, obsession and insanity. Quite correctly, the Hindu people of high spiritual development consider Hatha Yoga most undesirable, and they say that at best it is useful "for fat and ill people."  Even Vivekananda, who is so often mentioned now, though he cited examples of fearful demoniac persons whom he knew who were able to perform the most amazing miracles and cure the hopelessly sick by a glance, was very much against the so-called siddhis and these miracles.
Therefore, the main test for all spiritual Teachers is the magnet of their own hearts, their occult ability to change spiritually the surroundings and to transform the consciousness and the very nature of their disciples. It is by no means their ability in so-called miracles. This requires the fiery ray of synthesis, which is inherent in the opened centers but not in the lower siddhis. No pranayama can give the necessary purification and high results if the consciousness does not correlate with the High Ideal. The higher forms of Yoga do not need pranayama. Every coolie in India knows about pranayama; the average Hindu performs it every day, but nevertheless they are far from spiritual achievement. Therefore, do not rely just upon pranayama! LHRI. AY.
One should also take into consideration that Hatha Yoga is dangerous because, in a peculiar way, it strengthens the astral body and holds it for a very long time in the lower astral spheres, which prevents the evolution of spirit. In the temples of India there was, and still is, a custom of keeping Hatha Yogis for certain lower phenomena of the astral type. They are supposed to lead a very pure life, but even then are never initiated into the higher spiritual powers. And if such a Hatha Yogi leaves the temple, he is not accepted back again, for, by becoming free from the higher control while having an easy access to the lower strata of the Subtle World, such a yogi becomes a victim and sometimes even an instrument of the darkest forces. LHRI.  AY.
The Hatha Yogis are interested only in the control of the vital breathing of the lungs, whereas the ancient Raja Yogis looked upon pranayama as a mental breathing. LHRI. AY.
Without doubt, simple, rhythmic breathing is in itself quite beneficial. People forget not only the benefit to be derived from fresh air but precisely how to breathe correctly, which actually is the foundation of our health. However, the pranayama of Hatha Yoga has nothing to do with such rhythmic breathing. The pranayama employed by the Hatha Yogis has as its purpose, by means of suspension of breath, rotation and other gymnastics, the arousing and calling forth of an influx of blood to certain centers, thus causing their increased activity. But one can well imagine how harmful it can be for a man to arouse the centers that are in organs which for some reason, are weakened or even diseased; certainly their diseased condition will only be intensified. That explains why there are so many unfortunate cases among those who practice pranayama under ignorant and irresponsible teachers. The opening of the centers can safely take place only under the guidance of a Great Teacher, who sees the true condition of one's organism in all its complexity, and who knows what can be applied or permitted, and when. Let us bear in mind that precisely during the transmutation of the centers a tremendous tension and influx of blood toward them take place. The Teacher must know how, at times, to transfer these tensions to a less dangerous place, or to divert the excess of blood, in order to avoid general conflagration and even fiery death. LHRII. AY.
Suby Ram -- a truly good man -- yet a devotee of another error. Not his guru's voice -- his own. The voice of a pure, unselfish, earnest soul, absorbed in misguided, misdirected mysticism. Add to it a chronic disorder in that portion of the brain which responds to clear vision and the secret is soon told: that disorder was developed by forced visions; by hatha yog and prolonged asceticism. KH Letters.
The sympathetic system is connected mostly with the astral body, the cerebrospinal system with the mental body, this system coming more and more under the influence of the ego as he advances in intellectual power.
As the cerebrospinal system developed, the ego passed on to the sympathetic system more and more of the parts of his consciousness, definitely established, towards which he no longer needed to turn his attention, in order to keep them in working order. It is possible, by the methods of Hatha Yoga, for example for the ego to re-establish direct control over portions of the sympathetic system: to do so, however, is obviously not a step forward, but a step backward, in evolution. The student should recollect that the ego is always striving upwards, trying to get rid of the lower planes, endeavouring to throw off the burdens which prevent his climbing. He does not want to be troubled, for example, with looking after the vital functions of the body, and gives his attention to the machinery only when anything goes wrong. As previously said, all such workings are recoverable, but it is not worth while to do so. On the contrary, the more we can hand over to that automatism, the better; for the less we have to utilise the waking consciousness, for the things that are constantly recurring, the more shall we have to work for the things that really need attention, and that are probably vastly more important, at any rate from the point of view of the ego. CW. Leadbeater. An AE. Powell Compilation.
Physical means of inducing trance, such as hypnotism, drugs, staring at a black spot on a white ground, or at the point of the nose, and other similar practices, belong to the method of Hatha Yoga, and are never employed in Raja Yoga. CW. Leadbeater.
There is an intimate connection between profound meditation and breathing. It is found in practice that as the body becomes harmonised in meditation the breathing grows deeper, regular and rhythmic, until by degrees it becomes so slow and quiet as to be almost imperceptible. Hatha Yoga reverses the process, and by deliberate regulation of the breathing seeks to harmonise the functions of the body, and finally, the workings of the mind. The student, however, should be warned against the indiscriminate practice of breathing exercises; he will be far better advised to learn to control of thought along the lines of Raja Yoga , leaving his efforts at meditation to work their natural effect on the physical body. Whilst some breathing exercises are exceedingly dangerous, there is no objection to simple, deep breathing provided undue strain is not placed upon the heart and lungs, and no attempt is made to concentrate the thought on the various centres, or chakrams, of the body. CW. Leadbeater.
Jeremy Condick.

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