Nathamuni's Yoga Rahasya: A Classic Text on Yoga by a Vaisnavite Saint
Nathamuni was a ninth century yogi and Vaisnavite saint who revolutionized many customs prevailing at his time. He is considered the first of the twelve Alvars, or poet-saints, who composed devotional hymns in praise of Lord Vishnu. He is also credited with reviving the ancient tradition of Nalayira Divya Prabandham, a collection of 4000 verses sung by the Alvars.
Among his most important contributions was a text on yoga called the Yoga Rahasya, which means "the secret of yoga". This text was lost for many centuries until it was rediscovered by Sri T. Krishnamacharya, a renowned yoga master and scholar, who was also a descendant of Nathamuni. Krishnamacharya received the text orally from his father, who had learned it from his ancestors. Krishnamacharya taught the Yoga Rahasya to his son and disciple, T.K.V. Desikachar, who later published it in Sanskrit and English.
The Yoga Rahasya is a unique text that covers various aspects of yoga, such as asana, pranayama, meditation, diet, health, pregnancy, and spirituality. It also presents yoga as a holistic and individualized practice that adapts to the needs and circumstances of each person. The text is divided into four chapters, each containing 62 verses. The first chapter deals with general principles of yoga and its benefits. The second chapter explains how to practice yoga according to one's age, stage of life, and physical condition. The third chapter describes how to use yoga for curing diseases and maintaining health. The fourth chapter discusses how to attain liberation through yoga and devotion.
The Yoga Rahasya is a valuable source of wisdom and guidance for anyone interested in learning more about the ancient and authentic tradition of yoga. It reveals the secrets of yoga that Nathamuni discovered and preserved for posterity.
The Yoga Rahasya is based on the teachings of Nammalvar, a mystic poet and one of the twelve Alvars. Nammalvar was born in a tamarind tree and remained in a state of deep meditation for most of his life. He composed four works of poetry, known as the Tiruvaymoli, which express his love and devotion for Lord Vishnu. Nathamuni discovered these works when he heard some pilgrims singing a few verses from them. He was so captivated by their beauty and depth that he wanted to learn more. He went to the tamarind tree where Nammalvar had lived and meditated, and invoked him with his intense devotion. Nammalvar appeared before him and taught him the entire Tiruvaymoli, as well as the Yoga Rahasya.
The Yoga Rahasya is a summary of the teachings that Nathamuni received from Nammalvar. It explains how yoga can help one to attain bhakti, or supreme devotion, which is the ultimate goal of human life. It also shows how yoga can be applied to different stages and situations of life, such as childhood, youth, old age, pregnancy, health, and disease. It emphasizes the importance of adapting yoga to the individual's needs and capacities, rather than following a rigid or standardized method. It also integrates yoga with other aspects of Vaisnavism, such as mantra, ritual, ethics, and philosophy.
Nathamuni is said to have had eight disciples to whom he taught what he himself had received from Nammalvar. He also composed several works on Vaisnavite theology and philosophy, such as the Nyaya Tattva and the Purva Mimamsa Sangraha. He is considered the first among the acaryas, or teachers, in the Sri Vaisnava lineage of gurus. He is revered as a great yogi, saint, scholar, and poet who revived and enriched the tradition of yoga and Vaisnavism. 061ffe29dd