Ascension: The Yogas of Shiva

Lord ShivaYoga means “path of union” with the Divine. Lord Shiva of Hinduism features in many yogic disciplines and elicits much self-disciple and control of the senses – which, in essence, is the path of union with the Divine. Here we give account of several different kinds of yoga practices and how Lord Shiva is the object of the devotion contained therein.


Glossary:
Advaita Vedanta – school or philosophy in Hinduism which emphasises the ‘non-dual’ path, i.e., there is only One without a second.
Bhakti – path of devotion
Dakshinamurti – Hindu god comprising three identities – Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara
Dharma – the practice of right conduct. The universe is based on dharma.
Karma Yoga – the path of action; usually action dedicated to the Divine.
Mahamrityunjaya – Maha mrityunjaya is the great mantra to Shiva to ward off death.
Rudram – set of sanskrit chants or hymns to Shiva in his form of Rudra
Ramana Maharshi – well known ascetic of Arunachala who was liberated from human restrictions; told to be a divine in human form.
Shaivite, Shaivism – follower of Shiva, devotion to Shiva
Supreme Brahman – that which the Universe is contained. Everything is Brahman, nothing is outside Brahman.
Raja Yoga – Raja means King; the path of the kingly yoga; those who strive to manifest their latent powers and canalise them are the Raja yogis
Yoga – specific disciplinary path taken up; in modern patois, often referring to asana, yogic poses in so-called “yoga classes”. Hence, “Yoga”.


Statue of Lord Shiva at Murdeshwar, Karnataka, India

Shiva and Jnana Yoga – the Yoga of Knowledge.

Shiva is the main deity honoured in non-dualistic Advaita Vedanta and non-dualistic Shaivite systems like Siddha Yoga, as he indicates the Supreme Self and its direct realization. Shiva in his youthful form as Dakshinamurti teaches the reality of the Supreme Brahman through silence alone, who is popular in Advaitic temples, schools, and ashrams. Ramana Maharshi, perhaps the greatest modern exponent of the Yoga of knowledge, is regarded as a manifestation of Dakshinamurti. Shankaracharya, the greater philosopher and teacher of Advaita Vedanta is regarded as another manifestation of Dakshinamurti.

Shiva and Bhakti Yoga – the Yoga of Devotion

Shiva has many devotional forms, and most systems of Shaivism are primarily devotional in nature. Bhakti remains the most popular, simple, and direct form of Yoga with a wide and enduring appeal. Shiva has speci?c bliss and beauty forms like Kameshvara and Sundareshvara that are particularly important. Shiva’s connection with mantra, chanting, music, and dance is integral to Bhakti Yoga. Shaivite Bhakti Yoga overlaps with the Shakta Bhakti Yoga and the worship of dual forms of Shiva-Shakti as the Divine Father and Divine Mother. The worship of the Divine as Father and Mother in the Yoga tradition occurs mainly through Shiva and Shakti forms. Shiva Bhakti Yoga contains a Yoga of worshipping the Divine in nature through sacred stones, plants, ?ower rituals, and ?re rituals, which is also part of Karma Yoga.

Shiva and Karm Yoga – the Yoga of Action

Much of traditional Karma Yoga revolves around rituals. These include Vedic ?re rituals, of which Shiva, who is frequently identi?ed with Fire or Agni, is commonly the prime deity, particularly in his Rudra form, as in the Mahamrityunjaya Homas and the Rudram. There are also many pujas or devotional rituals to Shiva. Relative to Karma Yoga as seva or service, its second important aspect has an important place in Shaivism also. Shiva has commonly been a deity of the warrior class in India and of political and social action to protect the Dharma.

Shiva and Raja Yoga

Shiva Yoga is primarily a Raja Yoga, an integral path that emphasizes meditation but acknowledges support practices of asana, pranayama, mantra, and concentration. There are special Shaivite systems of Raja Yoga, particularly in the traditions of Siddha Yoga, using speci?c texts and teachings that can be a little different than the Yoga Sutras. Shiva is the king or raja of all the yogis. Shiva represents the power of will that is emphasized in Raja Yoga. As the overall deity of Yoga in all of its approaches, Shiva easily relates to Raja Yoga that combines many other Yoga approaches within itself.

Shiva and Hatha Yoga

Shiva is the original guru or Adi Natha of the Hatha Yoga tradition.” Asana, pranayama, mantra and mudra of Hatha Yoga are integral parts of Shiva Yoga. Shiva relates to self-effort oriented and warrior approaches, such as traditional Hatha Yoga. Shiva holds the supreme power behind all forms of true power Yoga, which is about the inner power of awareness.

 

AdiYoga Shiva
The Adiyogi statue is a 34-metre-tall (112 ft) excluding plinth, 45-metre-long (147 ft) and 7.62-metre-wide (24.99 ft) statue of the Indian deity Shiva with white Thirunamam at Coimbatore in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which has been recognized by the Guinness World Records as the “Largest Bust Sculpture” in the world.

 

 

 

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