What is Yoga as per Shiva Maha Purana

Shiva Knows Yoga

5.6.1 Classifications of Yoga

Describing about the various types of Yoga, Sutji told the sages that there were three types of Yoga – Gyan Yoga, Kriya Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. “Each of them is capable of giving salvation to a man. When the mind or intellect unites with the soul it is called Gyan Yoga. When the soul gets attached with external objects, it is called Kriya yoga. The unification of one’s whole being with goddess Bhagawati is called Bhakti Yoga. All these three yogas combinedly are capable of giving salvation to a man. A man becomes a devotee by his actions or Karmas.

Devotion or Bhakti helps a man to attain Gyana or knowledge. Gyan or Knowledge gives salvation. Yoga is the path through which a man can attain liberation whereas Kriya-yoga is the chief means to attain it.

5.6.2 Conduct of a Sanyasi

A Sanyasi should wake up early in the morning. After getting up he should remember his preceptor or Guru and then he should pray to express his gratitude towards his Guru. After that he should practice Pranayama and try to concentrate his mind on the six chakras present in his bodies. After the completion of Pranayama and concentration on the six chakras he should finish his daily routines. After applying ‘ashes’ on his body he should chant the sacred mantras and perform ‘tarpana’. Subsequently he should perform Aachaman and then practice Pranayama for three times. After that he should remember the sages or rishis. While going to do worship, he should maintain silence all along the way. He should do worship only after washing his feet and performing Aachaman.

5.6.3 Methods of Shiva Worship

A Sanyasi should paste the ground with cow dung and construct a quadrangular ‘Mandap’. He should then keep a broad leaf of Palm tree at its centre. He should then fence the area with coloured threads from all the four directions. After that he should draw a eight petalled flower in the centre of the Mandap, upon which he should draw a Shiva Yantra. At last he can commence his worship of the Sun god.

5.6.4 The Greatness of Pranaya Mantra

Sage Vamadev was a great devotee of lord Shiva from his birth. He never used to remain at a place for long. One day he had gone to a mountain peak named Kumar, which was situated towards the south of Sumeru Mountain. He met Kartikeya who revealed to him that Pranam Mantra directly signifies the almighty God. Kartikeya also told him that with the help of that mantra a person can attain lord Shiva – who liberates from all the bondage of life. Though, Vamadeva himself knew about the power of Pranav mantra yet he requested Kartikeya to shed some more light on it. Kartikeya told him that any one could have the proximity of lord Shiva, by the help of the means prescribed in the Shrutis and the Samritis. Regarding the methods of Shiva’s worship, Kartikeya told Vamadeva that though Sadashiva was one, yet he was known by various names like Maheshwar, Rudra, Brahma and Vishnu. Mahesh was created from the thousandth part of Sadashiva. The goddess of all illusions – Bhagawati dwells in the left side of Sadashiva, therefore he is the lord of all the actions of the universe. Sadashiva plays his desire acts by indulging in creation, nurturement and annihilation of this world.

5.6.5 Initiation of a Sanyasi

Vamadeva requested Kartikeya to enlighten his mind with that knowledge, without which a Sanyasi can never attain liberation. Kartikeya then told him about the methods how a Sanyasi should get initiation from his guru. A disciple should worship his guru in any of the following months – Shravan, Ashwin, Kartika, Agahana and Magha. He should then establish a Kalasha and worship it. He should again worship his guru considering him as the form of Shiva. The guru should then initiate him with the Shiva mantra. After getting the Mantra, the disciple should chant it considering himself as Shiva-Shivoham. After this the disciple should get his head tonsured. The barber who is supposed to shave off the hairs should be given pure clothes to wear. The barber should also wash his hands with mud and water. The instruments and apparatus, which he is supposed to use, should be made pure by the ‘Astra’ mantras. First of all the front portion of the head should be shaved off after that the back portion of the head should be shaved off. The disciple should then get his beards and moustache shaved off. After this the disciple should massage his body with mud and take bath by taking twelve dips in a pond. After taking his bath he should worship his Guru and meditate on lord Shiva.

5.6.6 Last Rites of an Ascetic (Sanyasi)

Kartikey told Sage Vamadev that an ascetic does not die but takes a Samadhi, therefore instead of being cremated he is buried. Therefore an ascetic must practice the art of Samadhi to perfection. If he has not yet perfected the art of Samadhi, then he should keep on practicing yoga till he attains mastery over the art of Samadhi. He should try to concentrate his mind on the Omkar mantra, which is eternal. If his body has become weak and feeble and incapable of doing physical exercises like Pranayama then he should indulge himself in Shiva remembrance. This way an ascetic can attain to heaven. After his death the rest of the ascetics should perform the rituals at his place of death for ten days. An alter should be constructed on the eleventh day. Five quadrangular mandals should be made facing towards the northern direction. In each of these mandas, deities like Deveshwari, Atiwahak etc. should be established first and then worshipped. The worship should be done as per the instruction of Guru by offering ‘Prasada’. This Prasada should be, given to a virgin girl or cow, later on. The articles used in the process of worship should be immersed in the river or pond. In this way, the Parvan shraddha ceremony of the deceased ascetic is accomplished. It is worth nothing that ‘Ekodishta’ Shraddh is not performed after an ascetic death.

After the completion of ‘Parvana Shraddha’ the ascetic should perform the Ekadashah Shraddha as per the instructions of their Guru. On the twelfth day, the ascetics should invite the brahmins, after getting up in the morning and taking their bath. These brahmins should be feeded. The ascetics should then take a vow to worship their Guru by holding a ‘Kusha’ grass in their hands. After that, they should wash the lotus feets of their Guru and worship him. Even the worship of Guru’s teacher should be done. After the worship is over, the Guru should get up by saying ‘Shubhamastu’- benediction to all. He should then sprinkle the purified rice by chanting mantras. At last donations should be made to the invited brahmins.

5.7.19 Classification of Yoga

Yoga means such actions, which after purifying all the human tendencies helps a man to unite with Shiva. Following are the five divisions of yoga-

1) Mantra Yoga,

2) Sparsha Yoga (union of touch),

3) Bhava Yoga (union by devotion),

4) Abhava yoga (Union without being emotionally attached),

5) Mahayoga (The great union).

Mantra yoga helps a man to understand the meaning of mantras and uniting with Shiva by the concentration of mind.

When Mantra yoga is perfected by the practice of Pranayama it is called ‘Sparshyoga’.

Bhavayoga means meditating and chanting without uttering a word.

Abhava yoga means such a union when the devotee contemplates on the final annihilation, without being emotionally attached with the world.

A man whose mind is preoccupied with the thoughts of Shiva is supposed to have attained the state of Mahayoga. A yogi can unite with Shiva after purifying his body with the help of Pranayama etc.

5.7.20 Hurdle in the Path of Yoga

There are possibilities of numerous hurdles being faced by a man who practices yoga like laziness, disease, carelessness, lack of concentration, confusion and sorrow etc. While practicing yoga, one must try to keep himself free from such demerits. After becoming liberated from these flaws a man can easily attain six types of accomplishment – talent (Pratibha), super power of hearing (Shravana), excellent conversational power and power of speech (Vrata), Divine sight (Darshana), Divine power of taste (Aswada), Divine power of touch (Vedana).

The capability of seeing things situated at distant places is called ‘Pratibha’.

The ability to listen without making any effort is called ‘Shravana’.

The ability to decipher the meaning of animal’s language is called ‘Vrata’.

Being able to see divine things without making any effort is called ‘Darshana’.

The power, which enables a man to know about the taste of a thing without actually tasting it, is called ‘Aswada’.

‘Vedana’ means the knowledge of all types of touch.

5.7.21 Shiva Yoga

A devotee can attain all types of accomplishment merely by having devotion towards lord Shiva and by meditating on him. In the beginning, a yogi should try to meditate on the form of Shiva (Saguna), but later on the switch over to Shiva’s formless (nirguna) quality. Meditating on nirguna form of Shiva is not easy. It can be mastered only by constant and steady practice, When mastered it bestows all kinds of accomplishment. Meditation combined with Pranayama gives four types of accomplishments peace (Shanti), tranquility (Prashanti), luster (Dipti) and boon (Prasada). A devotee can have a darshan of lord Shiva if he does meditation with non attachment.


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