What is Patanjali?


World -renowned Maharishi Patanjali is believed to be the avatar of Adi Shesha who was the cosmic serpent on whom Lord Vishnu takes rest. He is also associated with Ayurveda, the oldest rejuvenation therapies, as it is believed that he wrote a book based on Indian Medicine System- Ayurveda.

Maharishi Patanjali is also the writer of a commentary on Panini's Ashtadhyayi, known as Mahabhasya and is connected to Yoga Sutras.

Who was Patanjali, the sage behind the Sutra?

The great sage and master, Patanjali was the founder and father of Yoga. He was considered to be a fully self-realized avatar, who had mastered the mind, the body, its senses, and even this physical world. He was also a profound knower of knowledge which made him an amazing philosopher and teacher of how to master your life.

In today's time whenever we talk about yoga, the very name that strikes us is Patanajali. Let us have a brief description about who was Patanjali, the sage behind the Sutra?

Though, nobody knows all about Patajali, not even till what age he lived. Some experts believed that he was alive till second century BCE. He worked on Sanskrit grammar and importance of Ayurveda which is the oldest Indian medicine system. But according to the sutras and the teachings, modern scholars put Patanjali in second or third century and assign the works of medical essays and grammar to other Patanjali's.

The Legend

There are a number of myths that exist related to Patanjali's birth. It is believed that Lord Vishnu was once busy in watching the dance of Lord Shiva, Tandava Nritaya, while sitting on Lord Adisesa who is believed to be the Lord of serpents. Lord Vishnu was so much indulged and busy in watching the Tandav Nritaya that his body started moving and vibrating with the dance of Lord Shiva. Due to the constant moves and shakes of Lord Vishnu's body, Lord Adisesa felt a lot of uneasiness and was about to fall down and could not even breathe properly. Later, when the dance was over Lord Vishnu's body transformed into light again.

With this sudden transformation of Lord Vishnu, Lord Adisesa was shocked and initiated to ask that how did this happened. To which Lord Vishnu said this is the grace, beauty, grandeur and majesty of Lord Shiva that his body started moving with the rhythm of dance. Impressed with this, Lord Adisesa decided to learn dance in order to influence his Lord.

Thereafter, Lord Vishnu predicted that Lord Shiva would appoint Lord Adisesa to work on a commentary on grammar and at the same time he would also be blessed with the excellence of art of dance- Nritaya. Listening to this, Lord Adisesa was delighted and further waited for Lord's blessings.

Then Lord Adisesa meditated to search for his intended mother and while meditating he found a visual image of female yoga practitioner- a yogini and tapasvini, Gonika; who was at the same time praying for a son to whom she could pass on her knowledge and wisdom. Lord Adisesa discovered that she is the perfect mother for him and then he waited for the right time to become her son.

Soon Gonika realized that her death is near and she had found no one to whom she can communicate her knowledge. Gonika could not find any one and prayed to Sun god to satisfy her wish. Further, she took few drops of water in her hand as a final offering to Sun God and meditated for some time. When she opened her eyes and was about to offer the water she saw a snake slithering on her hand who soon was transformed into a human being. He asked Gonika to take him as her own son and pass on all her knowledge to him.

Later, Gonika named that human being as Patanjali (Pata-means fallen and Anjali-means hands folded in prayer). Therefore, this is the story behind that how sage Patanjali came to this world in human form.

The Yoga Sutras

Patanjali codified, or compiled in a systematic way, the art and science of Yoga in the Yoga Sutras. The Yoga Sutras succinctly outlines the art and science of Yoga for Self-Realization. Nothing new was created with the Yoga Sutras, but rather the ancient practices were summarized in an extremely organized and short way. While the Yoga Sutra itself is ancient and archaeological evidence and other texts suggest that the methods described in the Yoga Sutras were being practiced as early as 3000 BCE.

Basically, Sutras are like form of threads which are inter-connected. It takes a lot of effort to understand the main logic behind the Sutras. Until and unless you thoroughly concentrate on any of the work you do not understand it properly. Similar is the case with Patanjali, you need to put sincere effort on it.

Yoga Sutras are one of the most unique and interesting books on planet in contrast to other Hindu scriptures that reveal about life, body and mind. Yoga Sutras are the foundation and essential training manual for mastering the mind and achieving oneness with the universe. Incidentally, when one does master the mind is the acquisition of Siddhi powers from the awakening of one's Kundalini. Patanjali warns us to be aware of this phenomenon, since the final aim and goal of one's spiritual awakening is to liberate you from the cage of matter, while your mind is actually the highest form of matter.