INDIA has always been glorified for her wisdom tradition . The Sanskrit name of India , "Bharata",itself means "one who delights in effulgence"(bha meaning effulgence ,and rata ,the one who delights in ).What is the essential content of this wisdom ? It is necessary to know that which is essentially real in one's being ;only then will one be able to lead a happy life .One should know that one's existence is inseparable from the existence of the whole' and one's life is inseparable from the life of the whole.This awareness makes life meaningful and free of fetters. This is the essential content of wisdom ,and the ultimate goal of life
Enlightened on the secret of becoming and destruction together, one crosses over death through
knowing destruction,and attains immortality through knowing what becoming is.(Isa Upanisad-11)
Yoga in Past and Present world
Yoga is one of the oldest sciences of the world originated from India, which is very useful for both getting and maintaining the physical, mental and moral health. This yoga was started with the development of civilization. According to one of the classical texts of yoga known as Hathayoga pradipika, Lord Shiva is the first teacher of yoga, where as Bhagavad-Gita tells Lord Krishna is the first teacher of yoga.
Some historical researchers have proved that yoga was present during the time of Vedas. After the period of Vedas, a great sage Maharshi Patanjali systematized yoga, its meaning and its related knowledge through hisPatanjala yoga sutras. After the Patanjali, many sages contributed greatly to the field through their practices and literatures. For the purpose of systematic study of the historical development of yoga, it may be divided in to three periods. They are
Pre-patanjali period[before 500BC]
Patanjali Period[500BC -800AC]
post patanjali Period
The historical evidences of yoga were seen up to 4500 B.C. So the time before 4500 B.C. and after 4500 B.C. up to Patanjali period is considered as pre Patanjali period. The main sources which we can get during those times are Vedas, Upanishads, Smrti, Teaching of Buddha, Jainism, Panini, Epics and Puranas.
Vedas: Among the available Vedas four are important, namely Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda. There is no any direct explanation of word yoga in Vedas, whereas the word `dhira`, is mentioned in all Vedas. The meaning of dhira is self-realized. The sitting posture i.e., Asana, the Pranayama, the Mudras, Meditation techniques, the cleanliness Yama and Niyama, the Dharanas are explained in Vedas. The asanas explained in Vedas are mainly for the purpose of meditation. The sun salutation was the part of routine activity during that time. The Pranayama that is told in the Yajurveda, which is practiced during the regular practice, is same as Anuloma Viloma. The various types of meditation techniques are also explained in the Vedas. The practice of mudras is also explained in the Vedas. The Vedas also explain about the Tapas, Vratas and the ultimate aim of them are to attain Moksa (liberation).
Upanishads: Upanishads are the essences of the Vedas. Among the available Upanishads, 10 are important. The important Upanishads that have explanations about yoga are as follows. The Panchakosha theory is explained in Taittariya Upanishad is the main theory used in the treatment of diseases through yoga. Kathopanishad explains procedure to attain Samadhi. This Upanishad explains the qualities of soul. The Kenopanishad, the Ishavasya Upanishad, Shwetasvatara Upanishads are also gives details about yoga.
The Smrits are the texts, which deal about the disciplines that one has to follow in his life. The main smrtis, which give details about yoga, are Manusmrti, Yajnavalkya Smrti, and Harita Smriti. According to the smrtis there are four stages in life, they are
The Smrtis also give details about the lifestyles that we have to follow during these different stages of life. According to smrtis one has to sit in a seat that is prepared from Darbha (one type of grass) for meditation. The asanas good for meditation are also explained in smrtis.
Jainism: In Jainism also yoga is explained. According to Jainism the movement of the mind and body towards the soul is called yoga.
Teachings of Buddha: According to Buddha body is a fit vehicle to get the tranquility of mind. For getting the steadiness of mind the body should become steady at first. The methods of meditation are also explained in teachings of Buddha. According to that there are two types of meditations, Suksma dhyana and Nirhara dhyana
Panini: He was a famous grammarian of Sanskrit. He wrote 8 chapters lessons of grammar, Astadhyayi. The usage of word yoga is there in his work.
The Epics: The Ramayana and Mahabharata are the two main epics that give the details about yoga. Ramayana consists of 24,000 slokas distributed among seven chapters. The great book of yoga known as Yoga Vasistha was written in this time. In Ramayana the moral disciplines, Yama and Niyama are explained in detail. We can see the definition for Dharma in this book.
Puranas: Among the available puranas eighteen are important. Out of these few puranas give details about yoga. The Bhagavata purana explains Bhakti yoga. Linga Purana gives the details about Yama, Niyama and Pranayama. Vayu Purana gives details about Pratyahara, Dharana, and Dhyana.
Patanajali Period [500 BC - 800BC]
The period between 500 BC and 800 AD is considered as Patanjali's period. Patanjali systematized yoga in the form of sutras. Patanjlai was the author of classics in three important fields. He wrote a treatise on grammar; the Mahabbhasya. He has also written book on Ayurveda. He has the credit of compiling Yoga sutra.
Patanjali's yoga sutra consists of 196 sutras, it is divided into four chapters, and they are,
Samadhi pada: This chapter deals with the nature of Samadhi.
Sadhana Pada: This chapter deals with the methods for refining the body mind and senses.
Vibhuti Pada:In this chapter the properties of Yoga and art of integration through concentration, meditation and absorption. The manifestation of super natural power is discussed.
Kaivalya Pada: In this final section, Patanjali draws the attention of the Yogi to the soul. The various types of Samadhi are explained in this chapter. These Yoga sutras explain every aspects of yoga in systematically.
Post Patanjali Period: The time after Patanjali up to today is known as post Patanjali Period. The yoga developed gradually after the period of Patanjali. Many classical texts about yoga were written during these periods. The great personalities of yoga and their texts on yoga are as follows.
Shankaracharya (8th Century): Sri Shankaracharya proposed Advaita Philosophy. He has written Yoga Taravali, which tells about Hatha Yoga and Saundarya lahari that explains Kundalini Yoga. He has also written commentary on Patanjala Yoga Sutras.
Ramanujacarya (11th Century): He has written the book Tantra Sara that explains Kundalini yoga. He proposed Vishistadvait
Bhakti Yoga Period: Bhakti Yoga was popular during 12th century to 16th century. Narada Bhakti sutra, the famous text on Bhakti became popular at that time. Surdasa, Tulasidasa, Purandara dasa, Kanaka dasa, Vittala dasa, Merabai were some of the famous Bhakti Yogis. They popularized the Bhakti Yoga through devotional songs. They have also written devotional songs.
Hatha Yoga period: The Hatha Yoga period is from 9th century to 18th century. The development was at its peak during the 14th century. Adinatha was the founder of Hatha Yoga.
The various Hatha yogis and the books written by them on Yoga are as follows.
Matsyendranatha (9th Century) --- Kala jnana nirnaya.
Goraksanatha (9th Century) --- Goraksa Shataka
Chauranginatha (11th century) --- Chaurangi Shataka.
Svatmarama (14th Century) --- Hatha Pradipika
Gheranda (15th Century) ---- Gheranda Samhita
Shrinivasa Bhatta (17th Century) --- Hatha Ratnavali.
After the hatha yogis period Yoga was popularized by some great personalities'. The famous personalities and their contributions for popularizing Yoga during this period are as below.
Sadashiva Brahmendra Saraswati: He has written'Shiva Yoga dipika', which tells about Yama, Niyama, Asanas, and Adharas of the body.
Ramana Maharshi, Ramakrishna Parama hamsa, Parama hamsa yogananda gave their contributions for Raja Yoga. The great disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda, has written commentary on Patanjala Yoga Sutras. He was also a great Sadhaka.
YOGA IN THE PRESENT WORLD
It's very happy to see that present day 'Yoga' has become famous in the whole world. Till 1960, its value was not known to the outer world. After realizing its importance for the healthy peaceful life, Europeans started to follow Yoga, then whole world addicted to yoga. Now one can find every countries lot of yoga centers. Soldiers, children's, IT professional, farmers, sick peoples, older people etc.., like this each and all category, parts of the society following yoga .The Yoga spread all over the world by the great personalities likeSwami shivananda,swami Rama,shri kuvalayananda, sri Krishnamacharya, Osho rajanish, Maharshi Mahesh yogi, Yogi arabindo ,Prof Pattabhi jois,Sri B.K.S Iyyengar, Baba ramdev, Sri Sri Ravishankar,.etc..Nowadays one can find most places of the world different types of yoga centers, mediation centers. Millions of people got benefited by following yoga. There is no doubt in future, to get a healthy future generation and for the formation of peaceful world yoga will play a major role..