The control and regulations of the mind and through it, The Consciousness is the goal of Yoga.
There is another earlier system of Yoga.
This is called Vaasi Yoga where, by breath control, Consciousness is directly controlled.
This was the first system by Lord Shiva and His disciple Patanjali developed a relatively easy system Asthtanga Yoga.
Shiva was the first to practice Vaasi Yoga and He is called the Adi Yogi, the First Yogi.
If one repeats Vaasi it becomes Siva.
The system of Patanjali was practised widely.
And we have Siddhas who transcend time and apart from Shiva, the early one was Thirumoolar, a Tamil Siddha, who had written a Sastra Thirumandhiram in Tamil. Thirumoolar is dated around 3000BC.
What do the Vedas say of Yoga?
To my knowledge, there is no reference to Yoga in the Vedas, except a description of a Yogi in the Rig Veda, which is dated around 5000 years ago.
Here is the Kesin Mantra of the Rig Veda which describes a Yogi.
HYMN CXXXVI. Kesins.
1. HE with the long loose locks supports Agni, and moisture, heaven, and earth:
He is all sky to look upon: he with long hair is called this light.
2 The Munis, girdled with the wind, wear garments soiled of yellow hue.
They, following the wind’s swift course go where the Gods have gone before.
3 Transported with our Munihood we have pressed on into the winds:
You therefore, mortal men. behold our natural bodies and no more.
4 The Muni, made associate in the holy work of every God,
Looking upon all varied forms flies through the region of the air.
5 The Steed of Vāta, Vāyu’s friend, the Muni, by the Gods impelled,
In both the oceans hath his home, in eastern and in western sea.
6 Treading the path of sylvan beasts, Gandharvas, and Apsarases,
He with long locks, who knows the wish, is a sweet most delightful friend
7 Vāyu hath churned for him: for him he poundeth things most hard to bend,
When he with long loose locks hath drunk, with Rudra, water from the cup.
Translation by Rig Veda, tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith, , at sacred-texts.com
The Keśin were long-haired ascetic wanderers with mystical powers described in the Keśin Hymn (RV 10, 136) of the Rigveda (an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrithymns).The Keśin (“long-haired one”) are described as homeless, traveling with the wind, clad only in dust or yellow tatters, and being equally at home in the physical and the spiritual worlds. They are on friendly terms with the natural elements, the gods, enlightened beings, wild beasts, and all people. The Keśin Hymn also relates that the Keśin drink from the same magic cup as Rudra, which is poisonous to mortals.
The Kesin hymn of the Rigveda is the earliest evidence of yogis and their spiritual tradition, states Karel Warner. The Hindu scripture Rigveda uses words of admiration for Kesins.
Meaning: 1: By meditating on “Rama Rama Rama” (the Name of Rama), my Mind gets absorbed in the Divine Consciousness of Rama, which is Transcendental, 2: The Name of Rama is as Great as the Thousand Names of God (Vishnu Sahasranama).
The sloka is special because the Speaker is Easwara(Shiva) and the one who is spoken about is Vishnu as Rama.
Easwara means personal God.
Vishnu is One supports everything.
One interpretation of this sloka, which is popularly accepted is
‘Chanting Rama nama accounts to chanting the whole Vishnu Sahasranama (1000 names of Vishnu). :
The other explanation is that chanting Rama Nama is equivalent to chanting God’ s Name thousand Times.
Here Sahasranama is interpreted as Thousand Names, which is etymologically correct and not specific to only Vishnu Sahasranama.
The Numerical Explanation.
According to Sanskrit scriptures, there is a principle in which sounds and letters are associated with their corresponding numbers.
Ra denotes number 2 (Ya – 1, Ra – 2, La – 3, Va – 4 … )
Ma denotes number 5 (Pa – 1, Pha – 2, ba – 3, Bha – 4, Ma – 5)
So Rama – Rama – Rama becomes 2 * 5 * 2 * 5 * 2 * 5 = 1000amayana the Indian Epic is not a figment of imagination in the fertile mind of a poet.
* In the sloka each of the sounds RA and MA occurs thrice.
Hence the above calculation.
Reference and Citation.
Tamil version of Yoga and Shiva worship differs slightly from the Vedic Worship.
The Vaasi Yoga of Tamil is the root for Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra in the sense that while Vaasi Yoga addresses the issue of Breath Control directly,Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra goes from the tools to achieve Breath Control.
The Siddhas are like Rishis,Realized Souls,who have revealed texts on Science and Philosophy.
Agastya,Valmiki are Siddhas,according to Tamil literature.
Though there are innumerable Siddhas,Eighteen are considered to be the foremost among them.
For more read my article on Siddhas.
Shiva is considered to be the First Siddha.
One of the great Siddhas,Thirumoolar had written a treatise called ‘Thiru Mandiram” The Auspicious Mantra,where he details the Attributes of Reality in both ways,one Beyond Attributes and the other with the Attributes ,Nirguna and Saguna Upasna of the Vedas.
I shall write a short note on Thiru Mandhiram and Thirumoolar in a separate article.
Now following the Tamil Grammar ,Thirumoolar begins with the Prayer,he addresses it to Lord Ganesha and follows it up with prayers to others ,the Greatness of the Vedas…….
Then he starts the work,each poem is called Mantra or Mandhiram in Tamil.
To get you know the depth, I am posing on a poem,which forms a part of the Prayer,called Paayiram
Here Thirumoolar describes Shiva from numbers One to Eight.
Each of the statements is pregnant with Tantra and Philosphical meaning.
The One Reality,Brahman.
Sakthi and Shiva;Kinetic and Potential Energy.
Satva,Rajas and Thamo Guna,(Calm Learned;Dynamic; Docile ,Ignorant and Lazy.
Rig,Yajur,Sama and Atharva Vedas.
Five senses of Perception( Karmendriya),Eyes,Nose,Ears,Mouth and Body; the acts of these senses( Gnanendriya) Five,Seeing,Smelling,Hearing,Tasting and the Tactile sensation;Five Elements,Earth,Water,Fire,Air and Ether(Akasa); One Element Each in Karmendriya and Gnaendriya: One Underlying abstract principle behind each of the Five Elements.
Shiva ,the One who conquered the Five senses
As the Six Tastes, sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent.
Beyond the Seven Celestial worlds and the Seven Nether worlds,
Aware of His Eight Characteristics,Gunas and is in the world .
The Eight are,
4.Soucha, Clean in Thought,Words and Deeds.
7.Akaarppanya, The quality to help without being being stingy;the joyful and fighting attitude( Lord Krishna uses this term in the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita,advising him not to be a ‘Krupana)