View Full Version : Hatha Yoga came from Lord Shiva and On to Human Rishis

02 May 2012, 11:59 PM
I found some interesting information that confirms what I have heard, that Hatha Yoga is not simply a form of exercise for health, that it came to humans thanks to Lord Shiva and Parvati down to holy rishis and is in fact a religious transformation method for the Self. Also it confirms that the English word “man” is actually related to Mother Sanskrit words for human and for mind.

From the book “Hatha Yoga Pradipika” by Yoga Swami Svatmarama with foreword by B K S Iyengar, commentary by Hans Ulrich Rieker, translated by Elay Becherer, published in Great Britain by Geroge Alien & Unwin 1972, this book points out that the practice of Hatha Yoga is much more than simply an exercise for practitioner’s body, mind and personal self improvement. It is a method of transformation of consciousness where consciousness is to penetrate inwards towards one’s Self of Soul, and where the Self also diffuses outwards and that this Yoga method when properly taught by guru is not a physical exercise but a religious method leading to spiritual evolution.

In this book, in the FOREWORD by B K S Iyengar, Iyengar defines the Mind, and Ipersonally find this a very, very beneficial definition:


Manis known as manava (human), as he is descended from Manu, the father of mankind who is said to be the son of Brahma, the Creator of the world. The word mana or manas (mind) comes from the root man, meaning to think. Man is one who possesses a mind.

Manas means mind, intellect, thought, design, purpose and will. It is the internal organiser of the senses of perception and the organs of action, and the external organiser of intelligence, consciousness and the Self. Man is graced with this special sense so that he can enjoy the pleasures of the world, or seek emancipation and freedom (moksa) from worldly objects.

Iyengar Then discusses discuses various subject matter where he notes, and which I have heard from well knowledgeable Indians and religious experts, that in fact this yoga called “Hatha” worked its way down to “man” and humans from Lord Shiva! As we can see, he notes that Lord Shiva taught this to Devi Parvati – then Parvati taught it to Brahma, who taught it to His relations and sages, and rishis in the world of man who came from the Brahma line!

See what he says:

Hatha means to stick fast, to be devoted andto hold closely or firmly. Yoga means to unite, to associate, to yoke and to join. It also means zeal, endeavour, fixing the mind on one point, holding the body in a steady posture, contemplation and meditation. Vidya means knowledge, art and science.

The Goddess Parvati, the wife of Lord Siva, approached her Lord - the seed of all knowledge - for guidance to ease the suffering of humanity. Lord Siva revealed to her the greatest of all sciences for the holistic development of man - the science of hatha yoga.

On receiving yogic knowledge from Siva, Parvati imparted it to Brahma, who taught it to his children born of his own will, the sages such as Narada, Sanaka and Sanatkumara, who passed it on toV asista and others. Hatha vidya was set down in the Hatha yoga pradipikaby Yogi

Svatmarama who, it is thought, lived between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. The Pradipika has thus been referred to as a nebrively recent addition to the literature of yoga, which goes back to the Vedas. In fact, Svatmarama was part of the long unbroken line of sages or rishis, descended from Brahma, by whom hatha vidya was passeddown through the ages.

At the very beginning of his treatise, inverses 4-9, Svatmarama invokes the names of many of these sages who came before him and who practised and passed on the noble art of hatha yoga. A consideration of this list of names leads to the conclusion that the yoga described by Svatmarama is contemporary with that of Patanjali (whose YogaSutras were also a codification of long-established theory and practice).

If Patanjali, in the Yoga Sutras, codified the eight limbs of yoga (astanga yoga), Svatmarama did the samefor hatha yoga. If the former is a scholarly exposition with gems of wisdom woven together, the latter is a direct practical and technical handbook.

It should be realised that the Hatha yogapradipika is a major treatise with practical guidelines. It takes the practitioner from the culture of the body towards the sight of the self.

The first Sloka (verse) of the bookreads: "Reverence to Siva, the Lord of Yoga, who taught Parvati hathawisdom as the first step to the pinnacle of raja yoga" (Patanjali yoga). And at the end we are reminded that "all hatha practices serve only forthe attainment of raja yoga". (4:103).

Hatha means willpower, resoluteness and perseverance; and Hatha yoga is the path that develops these qualities and leads one, towards emancipation. The word hatha is composed of two syllables: ha and tha. Ha stands for the seer, the Self, the soul (purusa), and for the sun (Surya) and the inbreath {prana). Tha represents nature (prakrti), consciousness {citta), the moon (chandra)and the outbreath (apana). Yoga, as already noted, means union. Hathayoga, therefore, means the union of purusa with prakrti, consciousness with the soul, the sun with the moon, and prana with apana.

03 May 2012, 03:50 AM
I always thought Yoga.. essentially Patanjali's Yoga came from Lord Shiva as he is called Yogeshwar. Also I read in one of the books about Lord Shiva..forgot the author..after Sati commits suicide in her father's yagna..Lord Shiva retreats from the cosmos and invents yoga contributing to some 80,000 odd poses (forgot the right number) to let people escape from the pangs of death. Everything is from Lord Shiva ..all and nothing :)

03 May 2012, 04:39 PM
hariḥ oṁ


The etymology of this word (haṭha) is interesting... If one were talking to a haṭha yoga sādhu and asked what he/she was doing, they would most likely answer 'finding balance' or 'working with and balancing the sun and moon forces'. Now how can we get to this notion offered by the sadhu from this word hatha? We know if we look at some of the roots it may help us:

ham हम् - is an exclamation expressive of anger or courtesy or respect. We then can see where some of this force & obstinacy may come from, from this root; yet lets also consider the following:
haṭ हट् - to shine , to be bright
ṭha ठ - the moon's disk, a disk ; also a loud noise.We can see where this notion of sun ( bright) and moon (disk) may have its origin. Why sun and moon? From a jyotiṣ perspective, Sun is ātman, moon is mind, home of the senses. It is the notion of the co-operation of the mind-body-ātma working in concert that brings harmony and health to ones body.

Sun and moon are sometimes viewed as day and night, opposites. Haṭha is designed to integrate night and dark (opposites) to the benefit of the practitioner.

A bit more on this...
The sun and moon divide time into day and night and only meet during the twilight known as saṁdhyā (the gap, twilight ),where we are able to take advantage of not-sun , not-moon , but that wonderful gap in time. The harmonizing time for meditation.

Yet when one does haṭha yoga, each pose is held for a few moments, some for minutes... that is the grooming of sandhya in that pose; to bring balance to the mind-body-ātman and perhaps to easily allow haṭha "violence, force, obstinacy, pertinacity or persistency" to dissipate.

As we are influenced by the sun-moon's movements [ they are considered the creative principle in Jyotiṣ ] this stimulates the human biological system to the cycles of the sun and moon. Hatha is designed to harmonize these influences for the benefit of the practitioner.

Yet there is another view of this sun-moon relationship. It is the notion of the in-breath and the out-breath. Balance between the two brings one to the 4th, turya and found in saṁdhyā (the gap).

'As lions, elephants and tigers are tamed very slowly and cautiously, so would prāṇa be brought under control very slowly in gradation measured according to one's capacity and physical limitations '
Haṭha Yoga Pradipīkā - chapter 2, 16th śloka