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Home > Hatha Yoga and Shiva Shakti
Hatha Yoga and Shiva Shakti
Shiva as the central the.. Symbolism in Yoga Various forms of Shiva..
The doctrine and basis of hatha-yoga has traditionally been set within an elaborate mythological framework. The powerful forces which hatha-yoga is designed to awaken and harness are typically represented as powerful, and sometimes bestial deities. The central figure in hatha mythology is all powerful-Shiva. The entire Core of hath yoga is framed around the imagery, symbolism and philosophical concept of Shiva Shakti.

Shiva as Hatha yoga`s originator

Shiva ShaktiThe hatha Vidya (knowledge) is held by its early exponents to derive, not from a human source, but from the source of all things from the great God (Maha Deva) or primal Lord (Adinatha) Siva himself.

The principal systematic treatises of hatha-yoga, such as the Hath yoga Pradipika, Siva-Samhita and Gheranda-Samhita, are presented, not as innovative documents, but as more-or-less precise renderings of a traditional doctrine that stretches far back into the ancient past. The Siva-Samhita is presented as though spoken by Siva. The Maha yogi (Supreme yogi), and other hatha manuals invariably begin with a laudatory dedication to Shiva, each claiming to offer the authentic teaching of hatha-yoga as first given to Parvati by her divine consort.

The mythic story concerning Parvati`s initiation by Shiva has several variant forms, but most agree that it took place near to the coast of a remote island. A common version has it that Parvati fell asleep during the lesson, and that Siva`s words were overheard by a powerful sage named Loke Svaraz (`Lord of the world`), who had transformed himself into a Fish and was hiding in the sea. Siva then acknowledged the greatness of Lokesvara, who subsequently became known as Matsyendra or Matsyendranatha (`Lord of fish`), and granted him the authority to perpetuate the hatha doctrine. Matsyendra then initiated his disciple Goraksa, who in turn initiated his own disciples, and so the ancient lineage began.

The story of origin of Hatha has been repeatedly conveyed from generation to generation and in the revered text as the truth. The grand myth and history merged together as one. But nevertheless it signifies the powerful influence of Shiva in this ancient branch of yoga.

However, Matsyendra and Goraksa, along with the numerous other Siddhas (perfected ones) mentioned in the pedagogical genealogies of hatha, are likely to be based upon real historical personalities.

Shiva represents the transcendent Self (Paramatman), who, according to yoga philosophy, is every individual`s ultimate identity.

Parvati stands for:

  • The power (Shakti) of the Self to instigate the manifestation of the perceptible world.

  • The potentiality for `extension` as this world.

  • The perceptible world or universe itself (prakriti).

  • Since the human personality comprising a mental-physical matrix is an aspect of the perceptible universe, Parvati also symbolizes the Jivatman- "The living self."

    In the famous yogic philosophy, the goal and destiny of each individual is to realise his or her true identity as the transcendent Self. The practitioner of hatha-yoga regards himself as "wedded to that Self" until the point is reached when he knows himself to be the "Self". Hence, as per our ego, we are all Parvati, and from the absolute perspective, Siva. Siva and Sakti as immutable source and dynamic power respectively are a unity perceived from two different perspectives.

    If we take Parvati to stand for each individual self, then the fact that she falls asleep in the story of hatha-yoga`s origin suggests that, ordinarily, we are not awake enough to hear or comprehend the voice of our true Self. And hatha yoga is all about achieving glory and ultimate achievement for those who cherish it.

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