History of Yoga
The Yoga as we know today was developed as a part of the Tantric civilization which existed in all parts of India and few other parts of the world thousands of years ago. Ancient remnants have been found in the archeological excavations made in the Harrappa and Mohenjodaro at Indus Valley, now in modern Pakistan. Many idols and statues have been found of different deities depicting various Yogic Poses. Lord Shiva and Shakti were seen performing Yoga asanas and practicing meditation. Those ruins were once the dwelling places of the Pre- Vedic Period before the Aryan civilization who nurtured this precious heritage and helped in its propagation. According to Indian Mythology, Shiva is said to be the founder of Yoga and Parvati, his first disciple. Lord Shiva is considered to be the symbol or embodiment of supreme consciousness. Parvati represents supreme knowledge, will and action, and is responsible for all creation. This force or shakti is also known as Kundalini Shaktii, the cosmic force which lies dormant like a coiled serpent at the base of the spine in Psychic bodies of all beings. Parvati is regarded as a mother of the whole nature. The individual soul is bound to the clutches of her Maya (Illusion& bondage) of the materialistic world and eventually attains liberation and unites with the supreme universal consciousness through her grace and blessings. Out of compassion and sheer love for her children, she imparted her secret knowledge of liberation (Yoga) in the form of Tantra. The knowledge of Yoga has its roots in Tantra and two cannot be separated. Tantra is a combination of two words, tanoti and trayati, which mean ‘expansion’ and ‘liberation ’respectively. Therefore, it’s a science of expanding consciousness and liberating the energy.
Yoga got its birth at the beginning of human civilization when human kind realized their spiritual potential and tried to evolve. They developed techniques of Yoga. Pranyama and meditation were devised through divine intervention to rise spiritually and go beyond the gross body and realize their subtle mind. The Yogic Science was slowly developed ages all over the world. In ancient times, Yoga techniques were shrouded in mystery as it was kept secret and were never written down or exposed to public view. They were passed on verbally from teacher or master to disciple by word of mouth. Through personal experience, realized yogis and sages was able to provide direction to guide sincere aspirants along the correct path, removing any confusion, misunderstanding and excessive intellectual contemplation.
Relevance of Yoga in the Present Times
Today in the present times, in the midst of the chaos and disorder, people are seeking answers for their true self-realization. They have been misguided for years and disillusioned minds have been created. It’s time to reclaim the spiritual heritage and Yoga is certainly a part of it. While Yoga’s highest objective is spiritual enlightenment and path, it still offers various tangible benefits to everyone regardless of their spiritual goals.
Physical, emotional and mental purification is one of its most important achievements. The simple fact that it works on the principles of holistic unification and harmony makes it so potent. According to Medical science and scientists, Yoga therapy is successful because it creates the balance between the nervous and endocrine systems which directly influences all the other systems and organs of the body.
Yoga is not a religion. Although, it has its roots in India but it doesn’t advocate any religion, race or region. What makes it so fascinating is the pure fact that the principles of Yoga are universal and applies to every being including animals and plants!! For most people in 21 century Yoga is simply a means to maintain health, feel relaxed, fit and wellbeing. It has indeed helped many people to release and manage the extreme stresses of the modern world order and lifestyle. Asanas do remove the physical discomfort accumulated due to imbalance in diet, thoughts and lifestyle. Toxins are removed as breath is controlled with asanas and movements. In the age of mobile phones, gadgets and twenty four hour shopping, yogic practices make a great personal and business sense.
In the present times, when we are fast rejecting the past values without being able to create new ones, the scenario looks dull in the present shape. Our hearts are no more open to reach people, spread love and compassion due to years of negative self-centered mental conditioning. Greed has taken its heightened position within our mind. Wars, chaos, disorder and disputes are nothing but the reflection of our Psyche which has surely been deviated from its pristine true nature. Shortages of food, money, resources, unemployment, starvation, robberies and all sorts of crimes culminated out of our narrow minds and constricted hearts. We were not like this in the beginning. Mother Shakti bestowed us with glittering, shining and flawless Samskara (Mind and character traits). We were supposed to be in touch with that truest self but we got distracted under the strong influence of Maya (Illusions) and started existing purely in our body, neglecting our soul, and true self. Modern education system only shattered our hopes as they are certainly far away from the temples of spiritual awareness and knowledge. Where’s the path? How we can stop this utter chaos on this planet? How we can find peace and solace? How we can immerse and bathe in never ending bliss and happiness? Why materialistic desires and attainments still not giving us the peace? What we lack now that we always had once upon a time? It’s just we have stopped traveling inwards and started attaching too much importance to the outer world and our senses. We saw something found it gorgeous and got distracted….We heard something….got influenced and distracted. We earned money got power and fame …got intoxicated and distracted.we got relations and got distracted…….we got good health and looks and got distracted again….What is this distraction. I am talking about? Distraction is nothing but keep traveling outward all the time and forget your inner true self, your soul. Whatever you have got on this Earth would certainly leave you the day you will take your last breath then why to attach and give so much importance to mortal, non-permanent assets? Your only and only personal belonging is your soul and its impressions that you are going to carry forward.
The answer lies in start connecting to our true self. The path is ‘Yoga’. In this respect, Yoga is far from just being a physical exercise. It is an aid to establish a new perception of what is real, what is necessary, and how to become established in a way of life which embraces both inner and outer realities. This way of life is an experience which cannot be understood intellectually and need to be experienced only through practical application and implementation. However, the Renaissance has begun, be a part of it now!!!
Om tat Sat!!!