The Amaraugha and Amaraughaprabodha of Gorakṣanātha: The Genesis of Haṭha and Rājayoga

In January 2024, the EFEO Pondicherry published the third volume in their series dedicated exclusively to Haṭha Yoga texts, The Amaraugha and Amaraughaprabodha of Gorakṣanātha: The Genesis of Haṭha and Rājayoga by Dr Jason Birch (176 pages, English, Sanskrit, paperback).

Birch was awarded his doctorate at the University of Oxford and is a Senior Research Fellow of the Light on Hatha project, hosted at the University of Oxford and the University of Marburg. This book introduces, critically edits, and translates one of the earliest texts of the Haṭhayoga tradition, namely the Amaraugha of Gorakṣanātha. 

Dr Birch spoke about the historical importance of the Amaraugha (12th  century), the earliest known work to teach a paradigm that combined Haṭha and Rājayoga at the book launch held at the SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies, which is available for viewing online.

This EFEO book series was conceived by the Hatha Yoga Project, SOAS London University and will include the publication of the ten critical editions and annotated translations of Sanskrit texts that are outputs of this important five-year research project. So far, two of the ten editions have been published with a further two editions due before the end of this year (2024).

The Amaraugha and Amaraughaprabodha of Gorakṣanātha

The Genesis of Haṭha and Rājayoga



The Lineage of Immortals (Sanskrit Amaraugha) is the earliest account of a fourfold system of yoga in which a physical practice called Haṭha is taught as the means to a deep state of meditation known as Rājayoga. The Amaraugha was composed in Sanskrit during the twelfth century and attributed to the author Gorakṣanātha. The physical yoga practices have a pre-history in a tantric Buddhist milieu but were here adapted for a Śaiva audience. The treatise explains how Śaiva yogis move kuṇḍalinī, unite Śakti with Śiva, and achieve Rājayoga. Three hundred years later, the author of the Haṭhapradīpikā incorporated almost all the Amaraugha's verses on Haṭhayoga into his own work, which became a definitive exposition of physical yoga. The study of the Amaraugha reveals not only the genesis of Haṭha and Rājayoga but also the creation of the most influential model of Haṭhayoga in the early modern period. This book presents the first critical edition and annotated translation of the Amaraugha, as well as a later recension, called the Amaraughaprabodha, with an introduction that explores the profound significance of both works for the history of yoga.




          The Amaraugha

          Two Recensions, Two Names

          Synopsis of Content


          Date of Composition

                      Previous Attempts to Date the Text

                      The date based on New Evidence

          Region and Sectarian Affiliation

          Continuities and Discontinuities with the Amṛtasiddhi

                      From Raising Generative Fluidsto Moving Kuṇḍalinī

                      Forceful Vajrayāna and Śaiva Yogas

          The Four Yogas

                      Meaning of yoga in the Context of Four Yoga





          The Amaraugha’s Haṭha and Subsequent Traditions

          Editorial Matters



                      Past Editions

                      Editorial Policies

Critical Edition of the Amaraugha

Critical Edition of the Amaraughaprabodha

Annotated Translation of the Amaraugha

Annotated Translation of the Amaraughaprabodha



          Primary Sources

          Secondary Sources