Muni Patanjali is said to be the father of yoga in its current form. We are not talking about the stretching exercises, but the union of the soul with the Ultimate.
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Which One is the Real Patanjali, the Father of Yoga?
There are no distinct records about the birth and life of Muni Patanjali. There have been four people with the name Patanjali in history who contributed to Hinduism in some way or the other. As a result, most of today’s scholars consider them to be the same person. Some disagree citing the difference in style of work. The real father of yoga is Muni Patanjali as established by the style of his work on yogic meditation.
The Patanjali Muni that we are talking about belongs to an era around 250 BCE. This is established based on his style of writing. Aphorisms style was at its peak then, so Muni Patanjali would have used that style. That gives us a rough idea of Patanjali’s existence between 200 and 300 BCE.
The Yoga Sutras of Muni Patanjali
The main works of Muni Patanjali, the father of yoga, are the Yoga Sutras that form the base of modern-day yoga – better known as meditation.
What is Yoga in the Real Sense?
There are many schools of yoga across the world. The essence of these schools, however, is the same. Almost all the present-day yoga schools are the result of people inferring Muni Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (aphorisms) in their own way. Most schools are, however, restricted to controlling your breath for a few minutes per day.
Why is Muni Patanjali Called the Father of Yoga?
Muni Patanjali is known as the father of yoga because he wrote four units (chapters) containing his own Yoga Sutras. He talks about how to get started, the discipline of yoga, the discipline of spirit in Yoga, distractions and afflictions in Yoga, and also tells people how to overcome the problems related to meditation.
What is a Yogic State according to Patanjali?
According to the Father of Yoga, the Yogic State is where a person is above normal subconscious and his, or her, mind is calm because there is nothing left in the person to create “vrittis” (disturbances) like reasoning and emotions.
It is the highest state a yogi can attain. There, the person is one with God and thereby, can see everything clearly. There is nothing left to guesswork and reasoning. There is nothing more left to be learned as the yogi can see both the past and future simultaneously. There is no fear and uncertainty to disturb the calmness of the yogi’s mind.
The Myth About the Father of Yoga
Coming to Muni Patanjali’s life, nobody knows much about him. Legend says Muni Patanjali was an incarnation of Sheshnag, the thousand-headed serpent that stays with Lord Vishnu. It is said that Adi Shesa (Sheshnag) was worried when Lord Vishnu suddenly became unstable and rhythmic in tune with Lord Shiva’s dance. When the dance ended, Lord Vishnu returned to His usual calm state. When Adi Shesha asked Him the reason, He said that Adi Shesha would someday, take birth as a human to understand and teach Yoga to humans.
From that point, Adi Shesha was looking for an opportunity. He saw a yogi woman praying to Lord Sun, asking for a child to whom she could pass her knowledge. At that time, Adi Shesha appeared as a tiny serpent in the woman’s hands, folded together to form a cup shape full of water. The serpent soon transformed into a boy who requested the woman to accept him as her child. Since it can be said that Adi Shesha fell (fall is called pat) into the hands (Anjali) of the Yogini, he was named Pat-Anjali or Patanjali.
There are no official records pertaining to the life or birth of the father of yoga, but we sure have his Yoga Sutras that help us understand the Ultimate and break the barrier of reasoning.
What is the Aim of Yoga?
Yoga means “sum” or “union”. It is an act that “adds you” to God thereby providing you the complete knowledge that cannot be obtained simply by debating and reasoning.
The aim of Yoga is to become one with God. In the process, a yogi, if practiced properly, gets some powers that ordinary mortals do not possess. Most yogis are satisfied with these powers and give up Yoga. The real Yogi is one who goes ahead – without being bothered by these special powers. The ultimate aim of Yoga is to reach God. Let nothing divert the yogi from the main aim.
The above explains the life of Muni Patanjali, who is the father of yoga. His aphorisms continue to guide people who wish to meditate on God. The next few blogs would be these aphorisms, also called Patanjali Yoga Sutras, explained in easy English.
Download the Yoga Sutras in English PDF
You can also download Muni Patanjali Yoga Sutras English PDF. It is a summary of the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali in PDF form that you can consult whenever you want. For ease of reading, it doesn’t contain Sanskrit verses.
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