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Gheranda Samhita- Book of Sevenfold Yoga

The late 17th-century manuscript known as the Gheranda Samhita is an encyclopedia of Hatha yoga.

It is nothing more than a yoga handbook that Guru Gheranda gave to Chanda Kapali. It teaches in a dialog form which happened between Maharishi Gheranda and his disciple Chanda. It is a Sanskrit text of Yoga in Eastern Philosophy.

Other Hatha yogic books do not include the sevenfold yoga that is described in Gheranda Samhita. For example, Patanjali Yoga Sutra contains eightfold yoga.

The sevenfold practices in Gherand Samhita are Shatkarma, Asana, Madras, Pratyahara, Pranayama, Dhyana, and Samādhi. The text Gheranda Samhita has seven sections, 351 slokas (verses); and the shatkarmas are prioritized.

It is a text of “Ghatastha yoga,” which means “vessel yoga”, wherein the body and mind are portrayed as vessels that hold and serve the soul (seer, Atma, Purusha) whereas the Patanjali Yoga Sutra describes an eightfold path (Yama and niyama instead of shatkarma, mudra, and inclusion of Dharana). The concept of samadhi and methods in Gheranda Samhita differs from Patanjali’s system.

Definition – What is the meaning of Gheranda Samhita?

“Gheranda Samhita,” means “Gheranda’s Collection,”.  Along with the “Shiva Samhita” and the “Hatha Yoga Pradipika,” it is one of the three key works of traditional Hatha yoga. It means Hatha Yoga contains these three scriptures. The book is organized into seven sections, each of which focuses on a particular stage of the yoga journey.

It differs from Patanjali’s description of the yoga path in the Yoga Sutras in a few ways and is centered on the shatkarmas.

The Seven Sections in Gherand Samhita:

Cleansing through Shatkarma – incorporates 6 purification methods

Strengthening and Firming through Asana – comprises 32 Asanas (physical postures)

Balance through Mudra – contains 25 mudras (gestures)

Soothing through Pratyahara – consists of 5 concentration procedures

Lightness and Delight through Pranayama – takes in 10 breathing practices

Insight through Dhyana – devoted to meditation

Emancipation through Samadhi – applies other approaches than that Patanjali imparts.

Gheranda states that there are as many asanas as there are species on the globe, but there are only 84 root asanas, despite the fact that “Gheranda Samhita” only has 32 postures.

It is said that every daily yoga practice must incorporate at least one inversion.

However, compared to what is currently most frequently performed as Hatha yoga, the Hatha yoga described in the “Gheranda Samhita” is more sitting and contemplative.

In actuality, the only standing position described is the tree pose (vrksasana).

One of the verses in Gherand Samhita:

नास्ति माया सम पसो नास्ति योगात् परम् बलम् ।

न हि ज्ञानात् परो बन्धुर् नहम्कारात् परो रिपु ॥


There are no restraints comparable to illusion (Maya),

No strength comparable to that derived by discipline; (Yoga),

There is no friend greater than knowledge (Jnana),

And no enemy comparable to Egoism (Ahankara)

To realize yoga in a better way, one should incorporate Gheranda Samhita with The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Shiva Samhita, and Patanjali Yoga Sutra. If you are a true seeker you will experience the power carried by these texts these classical texts. They resemble ambrosia to the universal cosmic rule since these imbibe within them the Yogic wisdom.  They have the power to transform the human species into intelligent, conscious beings that live on our earth.

The Gheranda Samhita says- “It states that the first stage to training the mind is training the body.

Only a healthy body can support a healthy mind.

As a result, Raja Yoga, also known as Hatha Yoga, is the first step to mental training.

Hatha can be interpreted as hard, hardiness, or hardiness training.

In contrast, Raja in this context might be described as tenderness, royal instruction, or mental discipline.”

The Seven limbs of Gherand Samhita are:

Sections  Organs  Resources or Sapt-sadhan Modes & Techniques
Section 1   Shatkarma  Complete Body Cleansing/Internal & External  Elucidates Six Purifying Methods
Section 2 Asana  Body Strengthening/Firm Solidity  Describes 32 poses
Section 3 Mudra  Body Steadying/Stability  Includes 25 Mudras/Gestures
Section 4 Pratyahara  Control over Senses/Patience  Explains 5 Concentration Techniques
Section 5  Pranayama  Inner Lightness/Buoyancy  Includes 10 Breathing Techniques
Section 6 Dhyana  Inner Perception  Through Meditation techniques
Section 7 Samadhi  Self-Liberation & Bliss  Complete isolation techniques other than explains

Sections 1 – Shatkarma (shatkarna-shodhan)

Essentially, it involves both an internal and external body cleanse.

The text illustrates a total of six techniques.

The body’s interior and external portions should be corrected (shodhan kriya) with the utmost care.

Sections 2 – Asana (asana-dradhta)

One develops firm firmness, tenacity, and pertinacity by doing Asanas (i.e., various postures).

According to recent studies, asana enhances steadiness, flexibility, strength, stability, and balance while also reducing stress and curing ailments like diabetes, blood pressure, asthma, etc.

Sections 3 – Mudra (mudra-sthirta)

In these scriptures, “mudra,” sometimes referred to as gestures, body gestures, or hand gestures refers to rites that support maintaining a healthy mind and body.

You gain steadiness by doing several rituals (physical hand gestures).

Sections 4 – Pratyahara (pratyahara-dherya)

The concept of “Pratyahara” is similar to sensory control.

As a result, practice helps you gain mastery over your senses, which will finally make you Dheryawaan (patience-being).

Sections 5 – Pranayama (pranayama-laaghvam)

Pranayama is another name for “control of vital energies.”

Since Ayama is “Control,” breathing mimics “Prana,” which is the “life force or vital energy.”

Pranayama exercises help the body become lighter and more buoyant.

Sections 6 – Dhyana (dhyan-pratyaksh)

To put it simply, “Dhyan” is to give something your full attention.

When we give anything our full attention, it becomes plain, clear, and obvious.

Meditation practice can help one reach this condition.

Sections 7 – Samadhi (samadhi-nirliptata)Samadhi”

Also known as “Meditative Consciousness,” “Samadhi”

So it is believed that Samadhi is the means by which you attain Nirliptata, also known as Detachment.

By achieving “Samadhi,” you will become united with the “Ultimate One” and isolated from the rest of the universe.

Since Adiyogi, Shiva has bestowed upon us the realms of yoga and its power. Shiva was the first yogi.

Numerous saints and yogis developed and portrayed techniques and practices using their own concepts and words.

They all helped us realize how closely these Asanas resemble the cosmic reality found in nature.

We can finally attain anything we want in life, but only if we are aware of them.

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