Gheranda Samhita

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The Gheranda Samhita is a yoga manual, that teaches 32 asanas and 25 mudras among other things. Above a mudra called Guptāsana in verse 2.20 of the text.[1]

There are no fetters like those of illusion (maya),
no strength like that which comes from discipline (yoga),
there is no friend higher than knowledge (jnana),
and no greater enemy than egoism (ahankara).

Gheranda Samhita, 1.4
Translator: Srisa Chandra Vasu[2]

Gheranda Samhita (IAST: gheraṇḍasaṁhitā, घेरंडसंहिता, meaning “Gheranda's collection”) is a Sanskrit text of Yoga in Hinduism. It is one of the three classic texts of hatha yoga (the other two being the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and the Shiva Samhita), and one of the most encyclopedic treatise in yoga.[3][4][5] Fourteen manuscripts of the text are known, which were discovered in a region stretching from Bengal to Rajasthan. The first critical edition was published in 1933 by Adyar Library, and the second critical edition was published in 1978 by Digambarji and Ghote.[6] Some of the Sanskrit manuscripts contain ungrammatical and incoherent verses, and some cite older Sanskrit texts.[6]

It is likely a late 17th-century text, probably from northeast India, structured as a teaching manual based on a dialogue between Gheranda and Chanda.[7][8][9] The text is organized into seven chapters and contains 351 shlokas (verses).[8]


The Gheranda Samhita calls itself a book on ghatastha yoga, which literally means "vessel yoga", wherein the body and mind are depicted as vessels that carry and serve the soul (atman, purusha).[8][3] It is generally considered a Hatha yoga text.[3][10][11] The text teaches a seven limbed yoga, in contrast to eight limbed yoga in Patanjali's Yogasutras, six limbed yoga taught in Goraksha Samhita, and four limbed yoga discussed in Hatha Yoga Pradipika.[3] It declares its goal to be the perfection of an individual's body, mind and soul through a seven step lifelong continuous self-development. The means of this goal include self purification, thirty two asanas it details for building body strength, twenty five mudras to perfect body steadiness, five means to pratyahara, lessons on proper nutrition and lifestyle, ten types of breathing exercises, three stages of meditation and six types of samadhi.[12]

The text reverentially invokes Hindu god Shiva as well as Vishnu, with verses such as 5.77 and 7.4 suggesting that the writer was also inspired by Advaita Vedanta ideas such as "I am Brahman [Supreme Soul] alone, and nothing else; my form is truth, consciousness and bliss (satcitananda); I am eternally free".[13]


Gheranda Samhita is a step by step detailed manual of yoga taught by sage Gheranda to student Chanda.[14] Unlike other hatha yoga texts, the Gheranda Samhita speaks of a sevenfold yoga:[15][16]

The text itself follows this division in seven chapters, and has a focus upon the ṣaṭkarmas (shatkarma), thus this text is sometimes said to describe ghatastha yoga. For instance, the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali describes an eightfold path (yama and niyama instead of shatkarma and mudra, and addition of dharana). The closing stanzas on samadhi teach different methods than those described by Patanjali.

The earliest translation of the text into English was by Srisa Chandra Vasu.[4][17]


The Gheranda Samhita describes the following āsanas.

Asanas (postures) described in Gheranda Samhita
Sanskrit name English Image Gheranda Samhita
verse #[18]
Hatha Yoga Pradipika
verse #[18][19]
Shiva Samhita
verse #[18]
Siddhāsana Perfected Sidhasana.JPG 2.7 1.35-43 3.97-101
Padmāsana Lotus Tanumânasî en Meditacion Loto Padmasana.JPG 2.8 1.44-49 3.102-107
Bhadrasana Fortunate Bhadrasana.JPG 2.9-10 1.53-54 Absent
Muktāsana Freedom Samanasana.jpg 2.11 Absent Absent
Vajrāsana Thunderbolt Vajrasana.jpg 2.12 Absent Absent
Svastikāsana Auspicious 2.13 1.19 3.113-115
Siṁhāsana Lion Simhasana Yoga-Asana Nina-Mel.jpg 2.14-15 1.50-52 Absent
Gomukhāsana Cow face Gomukhasana Yoga-Asana Nina-Mel.jpg 2.16 1.20 Absent
Virasana Hero Virasana Yoga-Asana Nina-Mel.jpg 2.17 Absent 3.21
Dhanurāsana Bow Dhanurasana Yoga-Asana Nina-Mel.jpg 2.18 1.25
Śavāsana Death Shavasana.jpg 2.19 1.32 Absent
Guptāsana Secret Bronze figure of Kashmiri in Meditation by Malvina Hoffman Wellcome M0005215.jpg 2.20 Absent Absent
Matsyāsana Fish Matsyasana Yoga-Asana Nina-Mel.jpgMr-yoga-fish-pose.jpg 2.21 Absent Absent
Matsyendrāsana Lord of the fishes Ardha-Matsyendrasana Yoga-Asana Nina-Mel.jpg 2.22-23 1.26-27 Absent
Gorakshasana Cowherd 2.24-25 1.28-29 3.108-112
Paschimottanasana Seated Forward Bend Paschimottanasana.jpg 2.26 Absent Absent
Utkaṭāsana Superior 2.27 Absent Absent
Sankatasana Contracted 2.28 Absent Absent
Mayūrāsana Peacock Peacock pose.jpg 2.29-30 1.30-31 Absent
Kukkutasana Rooster Yoga shaktipat kukkutasana by alexey baykov.jpg 2.31 1.23 Absent
Kūrmāsana Tortoise Kurmasana.jpg 2.32 1.22 Absent
Uttana Kurmasana Raised Tortoise Mr-yoga-inverted-tortoise.jpg 2.33 1.24 Absent
Mandukasana Frog 2.34 Absent Absent
Uttana Mandukasana Raised Frog 2.35 Absent Absent
Vrikshasana Tree Vriksasana Yoga-Asana Nina-Mel.jpg 2.36 Absent Absent
Garuḍāsana Eagle Garudasana Yoga-Asana Nina-Mel.jpg 2.37 Absent Absent
Trishasana Bull 2.38 Absent Absent
Shalabhasana Locust
Locust-pose.JPG 2.39 Absent Absent
Makarāsana Crocodile Makarasana Asana (Crocodile Posture).jpg 2.40 Absent Absent
Ushtrasana Camel Ustrasana Yoga-Asana Nina-Mel.jpg 2.41 Absent Absent
Bhujaṅgāsana Serpent Bhujangasana Yoga-Asana Nina-Mel.jpg 2.42-43 Absent Absent
Yogasana Union Sukhasana.jpg 2.44-45 Absent Absent


  1. ^ James Mallinson (2004). The Gheranda Samhita: The Original Sanskrit and an English Translation. Yoga Vidya. pp. 70–72. ISBN 978-0-9716466-3-6.
  2. ^ Rai Bahadur Srisa Chandra Vasu (1996). The Gheranda Samhita. Munshiram Manoharlal. pp. 2–3. ISBN 978-8121507349.
  3. ^ a b c d James Mallinson (2004). The Gheranda Samhita: The Original Sanskrit and an English Translation. Yoga Vidya. pp. ix–x. ISBN 978-0-9716466-3-6.
  4. ^ a b B. Heimann (1937), Review: The Ǧheraṇda Saṁhitā. A Treatise on Haṭha Yoga by Śrīś Chandra Vasu, The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Cambridge University Press, No. 2 (Apr., 1937), pp. 355-357
  5. ^ Georg Feuerstein (2011). The Path of Yoga: An Essential Guide to Its Principles and Practices. Shambhala Publications. pp. 13–14. ISBN 978-0-8348-2292-4.
  6. ^ a b James Mallinson (2004). The Gheranda Samhita: The Original Sanskrit and an English Translation. Yoga Vidya. pp. xiv–xvi. ISBN 978-0-9716466-3-6.
  7. ^ James Mallinson (2004). The Gheranda Samhita: The Original Sanskrit and an English Translation. Yoga Vidya. pp. x–xiii. ISBN 978-0-9716466-3-6.
  8. ^ a b c Mikel Burley (2000). Haṭha-Yoga: Its Context, Theory, and Practice. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 8–9. ISBN 978-81-208-1706-7.
  9. ^ Georg Feuerstein (2011). The Path of Yoga: An Essential Guide to Its Principles and Practices. Shambhala Publications. pp. 55, 59–60. ISBN 978-0-8348-2292-4.
  10. ^ Roshen Dalal (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6.
  11. ^ Guy L. Beck (1993). Sonic Theology: Hinduism and Sacred Sound. University of South Carolina Press. pp. 102–103. ISBN 978-0-87249-855-6., Quote: "The Gheranda Samhita, Siva Samhita and Hatha Yoga Pradipika are three of the most important Hatha Yoga texts and are intimately connected with the practice of Nada Yoga as propounded by Gorakhshanath and his school."
  12. ^ James Mallinson (2004). The Gheranda Samhita: The Original Sanskrit and an English Translation. Yoga Vidya. pp. x–xi. ISBN 978-0-9716466-3-6.
  13. ^ James Mallinson (2004). The Gheranda Samhita: The Original Sanskrit and an English Translation. Yoga Vidya. pp. xiii–xiv. ISBN 978-0-9716466-3-6.
  14. ^ Steven J. Rosen (2011). Food for the Soul: Vegetarianism and Yoga Traditions. ABC-CLIO. pp. 28–29. ISBN 978-0-313-39704-2.
  15. ^ James Mallinson (2004). The Gheranda Samhita: The Original Sanskrit and an English Translation. Yoga Vidya. pp. ix–xvii, 1–2, 16–18, 60–61, 86–91, 113–116, 119–123. ISBN 978-0-9716466-3-6.
  16. ^ Mark Stephens (2011). Teaching Yoga: Essential Foundations and Techniques. North Atlantic. pp. 17–20. ISBN 978-1-58394-472-1.
  17. ^ Gheraṇḍa; S.C. Vasu (Translator) (1895). The Gheranda Sanhita: A Treatise on Hatha Yoga. Bombay Theosophical.
  18. ^ a b c Richard Rosen 2012, pp. 80-81.
  19. ^ Gerald James Larson, Ram Shankar Bhattacharya & Karl H. Potter 2008, pp. 491-492.


  • Bahadur, Rai and Srisa Chandra Vasu. 1914-15 The Gheranda Samhita, (source)
  • Gerald James Larson; Ram Shankar Bhattacharya; Karl H. Potter (2008). Yoga: India's Philosophy of Meditation. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-3349-4.
  • James Mallinson (2011). Knut A. Jacobsen; et al., eds. Haṭha Yoga in the Brill Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 3. Brill Academic. pp. 770–781. ISBN 978-90-04-27128-9.CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link)
  • Richard Rosen (2012). Original Yoga: Rediscovering Traditional Practices of Hatha Yoga. Shambhala Publications. ISBN 978-0-8348-2740-0.

External links

  • Version, interpretation and translation into Spanish, Dr. Fernando Estévez Griego (PDF)
  • Translation and commentary by Rai Bahadur Srisa Chandra Vasu, K. Pattabhi Jois school (PDF) (summary)
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