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HISTORY OF YOGA

28 Jun 2019 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy

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Despite more than a century of research, we still don’t know much about the earliest History of Yoga . The beginning of the yoga tradition are undoubtedly shrouded in the mists of antiquity, but it is universally recognized that yoga philosophy constitutes one of the oldest and most important scientific spiritual legacies of humanity and has been preached as well as practiced uninterruptedly since the dawn of humans history.

We do know, though, that it originated in Himavat Kshetra / Bhaarata Khanda 15,000 or more years ago. This message was viewed in Rig veda, the oldest sacred text of the world. Then, in the early 1920s, archaeologists surprised the world with the discovery of the so-called Indus civilization—a culture that we now know extended over an area of roughly 300,000 square miles (the size of Texas and Ohio combined). This was in fact the largest civilization in early antiquity. In the ruins of the big cities of Mohanjodaro and Harappa of Indus Valley period (3000 – 2000 BC) strongly suggests that the yoga traditional is fact given special recognition before vedic period. The excavators (a person who digs earth) found depicting deities resembling Lord Shiva and Shakti performing various asanas and practicing meditation.

According to mythical tradition, Shiva is said to be the founder of yoga, and Parvati, his first disciple. Lord Shiva is considered to be the symbol of embodiment of supreme consciousness and Parvati represents supreme Knowledge, will and action. This force is also known as Kundalini shakti, the cosmic force which lies dormant in all beings.

Yoga arouse at the beginning of human civilization when humankind first realized their spiritual potential and began to evolve techniques to develop it. The yogic science was slowly developed by sages and seers all over the world.

  1. Sanatan/Devine civilization Period; period of God, Goddess, Sages and Seers; human development / Prevedic Period
  • Vedic and Upanishadic Period (Vedas and Upanishads):-

HISTORY OF YOGA: Although scholars differ in their opinion the connection of Indus Valley civilization with vedic civilization, the source of yoga is undoubtedly ound in the vedic literature.

  1. Rig-Veda and the other three ancient hymnodies are known as Vedic Yoga. The Sanskrit word Veda means “knowledge,” while the Sanskrit term rig (from ric) means “praise.” Thus the sacred Rig-Veda is the collection of hymns that are in praise of a higher power. The other three Vedic hymnodies are the
  2. Yajur-Veda (“Knowledge of Sacrifice”),
  3. Sama-Veda (“Knowledge of Chants”), and
  4. Atharva-Veda (“Knowledge of Atharvan”)

Upanishads:

Anyone who reads the upanishads in the origional sanskrit is cought up and carried away by the elevation, profundity and compelling fascination of the human beings and sacred souls of human with ultimate reality. There are in total around 108 smaller upanishads . There are 11 main old Upanishads. later. But the 11 are considered important. 
They include 
1. Brahadharanyaka Upanishad – Teachings on Individuals from the great forest.                                            
2. Kathopanishad – After Death – Story of Nachiketha
3. Isa Vasya Upanishad – The Ruler of the Self
4. Mandukya Upanishad – Consciousness 
5. Thaitriya Upanishad – Everything in Life to bring Happiness or Sadness
6. Aithreyapanishad – About Man Himself/Herself. 
7. Kenopanishad –  Asking Who and What questions about the world 
8. Mundaka Upanishad –  Modes of Knowledge 
9. Chandogya Upanishad – Sacrifice and Self 
10. Prashnopanishad – Questions of Life 
11. Shwethaswarthopanishad. 

C. SHATA DARSANA

The main Hindu orthodox (astika) schools of Indian philosophy are those codified during the medieval period of Brahmanic-Sanskritic scholasticism, and they take the ancient Vedas (the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism) as their source and scriptural authority: First two are related to Yoga.

  1. Samkhya Yoga Darshana:
    Samkhya is the oldest of the orthodox philosophical systems, and it postulates that everything in reality stems from purusha (self or soul or mind) and prakriti (matter, creative agency, energy). It is a dualist philosophy, although between the self and matter rather than between mind and body as in the Western dualist tradition, and liberation occurs with the realization that the soul and the dispositions of matter (steadiness, activity and dullness) are different.
  2. Yoga Darshana:
    The Yoga school, as expounded by Patanjali in his 2nd Century B.C. Yoga Sutras, accepts the Samkhya psychology and metaphysics, but is more theistic, with the addition of a divine entity to Samkhya’s twenty-five elements of reality. The relatively brief Yoga Sutras are divided into eight ashtanga (limbs), reminiscent of Buddhism’s Noble Eightfold Path, the goal being to quiet one’s mind and achieve kaivalya (solitariness or detachment).
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  1. Nyaya Darshana:
    The Nyaya school is based on the Nyaya Sutras, written by Aksapada Gautama in the 2nd Century B.C. Its methodology is based on a system of logic that has subsequently been adopted by the majority of the Indian schools, in much the same way as Aristotelian logic has influenced Western philosophy. Its followers believe that obtaining valid knowledge (the four sources of which are perception, inference, comparison and testimony) is the only way to gain release from suffering
  2. Vaisheshika Darshana:
    The Vaisheshika school was founded by Kanada in the 6th Century B.C., and it is atomist and pluralist in nature. The basis of the school’s philosophy is that all objects in the physical universe are reducible to a finite number of atoms, and Brahman is regarded as the fundamental force that causes consciousness in these atoms. The Vaisheshika and Nyaya schools eventually merged because of their closely related metaphysical theories (although Vaisheshika only accepted perception and inference as sources of valid knowledge).Learn More about HISTORY OF YOGA
  3. Purva Mimamsa Darshana:
    The main objective of the Purva Mimamsa school is to interpret and establish the authority of the Vedas. It requires unquestionable faith in the Vedas and the regular performance of the Vedic fire-sacrifices to sustain all the activity of the universe. Although in general the Mimamsa accept the logical and philosophical teachings of the other schools, they insist that salvation can only be attained by acting in accordance with the prescriptions of the Vedas.
  4. Vedanta Darshana:
    The Vedanta focuses on meditation, self-discipline and spiritual connectivity, more than traditional ritualism. Due to the rather cryptic and poetic nature of the Vedanta sutras, the school separated into six sub-schools, each interpreting the texts in its own way and producing its own series of sub commentaries:  Advaita (the best-known, which holds that the soul and Brahman are one and the same), Visishtadvaita (which teaches that the Supreme Being has a definite form, name – Vishnu – and attributes), Dvaita (which espouses a belief in three separate realities: Vishnu, and eternal soul and matter), Dvaitadvaita (which holds that Brahman exists independently, while soul and matter are dependent), Shuddhadvaita (which believes that Krishna is the absolute form of Brahman) and Acintya Bheda Abheda (which combines monism and dualism by stating that the soul is both distinct and non-distinct from Krishna, or God)

Other Texts associated yogic message directly or indirectly / Epic period.:
Ramayana, Purana  and Mahabharata

Sutra period : Patanjali Yoga Darshan is the oldest, systematic treatise on yoga available to us. It is based on the previous and contemporary traditional of yoga :HISTORY OF YOGA.

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