28 wisdom from 16 prominent Indian Yogis

When the world is celebrating International Yoga Day on 21st June 2017, it is important to know about Yoga beyond just Asana and Pranayama.

We will now from their wisdom how Yoga can become life-changing engagement for the practitioners. Though Yoga history goes beyond Sage Patanjali, the Ashtanga Yoga, the Yoga we know today was written by Sage Patanjali as Yoga Sutras. He is known as the father of Yoga.

Let’s begin our journey of knowing about prominent Yogis and their wisdom with Sage Patanjali.

Sage Patanjali

Sage Patanjali is the ‘father of Yoga’ who compiled 195 Yoga Sutras that became the foundation of Yoga philosophy. The commentary on these sutras is called Bhasya. The core essence of Patanjali is the eightfold path of Yoga (Ashtanga Yoga) that focuses upon healthy living through Yoga.

His famous quotes:

  1. There is always a light within us that is free from all sorrow and grief, no matter how much we may be experiencing suffering.

  2. Be happy for those who are happy, have compassion towards the unhappy, and maintain equanimity towards the wicked.

Swami Vivekananda

Born in Calcutta in 1863, Swami Vivekananda showed a desire to unravel the spiritual and realize God even when he was a child. This is why he chose Ramakrishna as his Guru because he was sure that Ramakrishna would be able to demonstrate for him the reality of God. Ramakrishna introduced him to Advaita Vedanta and also told him that all religions are true. However, the best form of worship is service to man. The credit of introducing Vedanta and Yoga to Europe and America goes to Swami Vivekananda. He founded the Ramakrishna Mission and Math.

Website: http://www.belurmath.org/

His famous quotes:

  1. In a conflict between the heart and the brain, follow your heart.

  2. Seek no praise, no reward, for anything you do.

Sri Aurobindo

Sri Aurobindo was one of the brilliant prolific spiritual personalities of India. Sri Aurobindo Ghose was a great yogi, philosopher, and poet. Sri Aurobindo penned down a total 68 books on different domains of spirituality. His best publication is ‘The Life Divine’, which focuses on theoretical aspects of Yoga, another one is ‘Synthesis of Yoga’ that throws light on practical facets of Yoga. Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry is a great seat of spiritual practice, which is known as Integral Yoga. Auroville or Aurobindo Ashram spread the spirit of universal brotherhood. He was born in Kolkata on 15th August 1872 and sent to London for study at the age of seven.

Website: http://www.sriaurobindoashram.org/

His famous quotes:

  1. True knowledge is not attained by thinking. It is what you are; it is what you become.

  2. Detachment is the beginning of mastery.

Swami Kuvalayananda

Born in 1883, Swami Kuvalayananda saw the renaissance of the national movement and became a freedom fighter. He was influenced by Sri Aurobindo when at college and by Paramahansa Madhavdasji at a later date. Madhavdasji by far had the greater influence on Kuvalayananda as he encouraged his students to approach yoga scientifically. Kuvalayananda, studied the effects that yoga had on the human body and the health benefits that accrue from yoga practice. The experiments carried out at the laboratory at Baroda Hospital in 1920-21 convinced Kuvalayananda that yoga could propagate health and bring about spiritual motivation that could illuminate change in human society. He wished now to use yoga systematically to bring about health and healing to humanity. With this mission in mind, he established the Kaivalyadhama Institute of Yoga at Lonavala, Pune.

Website: https://kdham.com/

Swami Sivananda Saraswati

Born in 1887 at Pattamadai, Tamil Nadu in 1887 Swami Sivananda was a Doctor in Malaysia, but he renounced his medical practice in 1924 when Swami Vishwananda Saraswati initiated him into Dashnami Sannyasa. He practiced intense Sadhana, yoga and learned the scriptures. He became a wandering monk and toured the length and breadth of India. Wherever Sivananda went, he tried to awaken the moral and spiritual consciousness of people. In 1936, he founded the Divine Life Society at Rishikesh with the main aim of spreading spiritual knowledge and serving mankind. Being a doctor he started the Sivananda Ayurvedic Pharmacy in 1945.

Website: http://www.biharyoga.net

His famous quotes:

  1. Put your heart, mind, and soul into even your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.

  2. The mind is responsible for the feelings of pleasure and pain. Control of the mind is the highest Yoga.

Tirumalai Krishnamacharya

Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (November 18, 1888 – February 28, 1989) was an Indian yoga teacher, Ayurvedic healer, and scholar. Often referred to as “The Father of Modern Yoga,” Krishnamacharya is widely regarded as one of the most influential yoga teachers of the 20th century and is credited with the revival of hatha yoga. Krishnamacharya held degrees in all the six Vedic darśanas or Indian philosophies. While under the patronage of the Maharaja of Mysore, Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV, Krishnamacharya travelled around India giving lectures and demonstrations to promote yoga, including such feats as stopping his heartbeat. He is widely considered as the architect of vinyasa in the sense of combining breathing with movement.

Website: http://www.kym.org/

His famous quotes:

  1. In the practice of Yoga, one can emphasize the body, the mind or the self and hence the effort can never be fruitless.

  2. No one is wise by birth, for wisdom results from one own’s efforts.

Paramahansa Yogananda

Paramahansa Yogananda is one of the pioneer Indian Yoga masters who introduced meditation and Kriya Yoga to the western world through his book ‘Autography of a Yogi’. In one of his other books, The Self-Realisation Fellowship Lessons, Paramahansa Yogananda stressed upon the realization of God through Yogic practices.

It is pertinent to know Steve Jobs, the famous founder of Apple, had read his book Autography of a Yogi. He also had recommended everyone to read the book. Indian cricket skipper Virat Kohli also is inspired by his book. Know Virat Kohli’s Yoga Inspiration.

Website: https://www.yogananda-srf.org/

His famous quotes:

  1. It is spiritual poverty, not material lack, that lies at the core of all human suffering.

  2. Having lots of money while not having inner peace is like dying of thirst while bathing in the ocean.

K Pattabhi Jois

Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois was born on 26th July 1915. Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois is one of the multi-faceted Yoga preachers of India and known worldwide for his Ashtanga Yoga. He established Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore. He was the disciple of S.T. Krishnamacharya and his Yogic philosophy revolve around his Guru.

Website: http://kpjayi.org/

His famous quotes:

  1. Yoga is possible for anybody who really wants it. Yoga is universal…. But don’t approach yoga with a business mind looking for worldly gain.

  2. The whole purpose of Hatha yoga is to purify and control our senses. It is the ultimate science of helping us discover what lies behind the apparent reality of body and mind.

Swami Chidananda Saraswati

Born in 1916 at Tamil Nadu, Chidananda Saraswati became interested in the spiritual life right from an early age. He often read books written by Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekanand, and Swami Sivananda and so it was easy for him to know that he wanted sanyas. At first, he tried detachment in 1936, but his family persuaded him to return home. However, in 1943 he finally joined Swami Sivananda at his ashram in Rishikesh. With the guidance of Swami Sivananda, he set up the Yoga Museum which housed the entire Vedanta philosophy and also a pictorial Yoga Sadhana process. He became the President of Divine Life Society in 1963 when his predecessor took Mahasamadhi.

Website: http://www.chidananda.org/

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was born on 12th January, 918 and is one of the great Indian Yoga Gurus famous across the globe equally. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was the founder of ‘Transcendental Meditation Techniques’. He trained many teachers in ‘Transcendental Meditation and taught Transcendental Meditation Techniques to more than 5 million people across the globe.

Website: http://www.mmyvv.com/

His famous quotes:

  1. Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things towards you.

  2. What you see you become.

BKS Iyengar

B.K. S. Iyengar is popularly known as Guruji, who genuinely explains the meaning of Yoga Sutras. Born in 1918, he is one of the leading Yoga personalities in the world and popularizes yoga across the globe. Yogacharya Iyengar’s style of teaching Yoga is unique and termed as ‘Iyengar Yoga’. B. K. S. Iyengar has command over Yogasanas, in fact, has the authority over asanas. B.K.S Iyengar has written many books on Yoga Philosophy such as ‘Light on Yoga’, ‘Light on Pranayama’, ‘Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali’, ‘Patanjali Yoga Sutra Parichay’, etc. He is the recipient of Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan. In a survey of Times Magazine, he is named as one of the 100 most Influential People in the World in 2004.

Website: http://www.bksiyengar.com/

His famous quotes:

  1. Yoga is like music. The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul creates the symphony of life.

  2. Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Born in 1923 in Almora, Uttarakhand Swami Satyananda showed a spiritual tendency and heightened awareness right from the age of 6 years. In 1943, he left home and came in contact with Swami Sivananda at Rishikesh and the Swami initiated him into the Dashnami Sannyas. Satyananda performed such intense nishkam (Selfless) seva (service) that he was able to realize the secrets of spirituality. He studied yoga, tantra and Vedanta and kundalini yoga in such a thorough fashion that he founded the new Bihar School of Yoga in 1963 and became the pioneer of this yoga practice.

Website: http://www.biharyoga.net

His famous quotes:

  1. Becoming aware of the connection between the external and the internal you is the purpose of yoga, as well as the whole life.

  2. Yoga is not an ancient myth buried in oblivion. It is the most valuable inheritance of the present. It is the essential need of today and the culture of tomorrow.

Swami Rama

Born in 1925 in a village called Toli in the Garhwal Himalayas, Swami Rama became the holder of the Sankhya Yoga tradition. He was encouraged by his Master Madhavananda Saraswati to travel and seek out all the remote monasteries in the Himalayas including Nepal. This way Rama got to study with the various Himalayan sages as also with his Grandmaster who lived in distant Tibet. Swami Rama traveled extensively in America and Europe and took his knowledge of yoga to those continents. He is the first of the Yogis who was studied scientifically at Menninger Clinic in the USA. Scientists wanted to understand how he was able to control his heartbeat, body temperature, and blood pressure voluntarily as these are involuntary processes. He is the founder of the Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy with headquarters in USA and branches in India and Europe.

Website: http://himalayaninstitute.in/

His famous quotes:

  1. Jealousy is an evil which grows in the womb of ego and is nourished by selfishness and attachment.

  2. To achieve purity of mind, one should cultivate constant awareness by being mindful all the time. one should remain always aware of one’s thoughts.

Sri Sri Ravishankar

Born in South India, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, popularly known as Gurudev could recite the Bhagavad Gita at an early age of four. By combining scientific temper with ancient spiritual wisdom, he has rekindled the traditions of yoga and meditation and has offered them in a form that works in the 21st century. Sri Sri has offered to the world powerful techniques like Sudarshan Kriya®, Chakra Kriya and Shakti Kriya for personal and social transformation. Through his silence retreats, Gurudev has brought ancient secrets of a spiritual lure and has helped people re-discover themselves. His teachings have transformed millions of lives in both the mundane and the sublime. He is the founder of the Art of Living Foundation and the International Association of Human Values and his programs and initiatives have touched the lives of over 370 million people in 152 countries.

Website: https://www.artofliving.org/in-en

His famous quotes:

  1. Withdraw your senses from the object to its source, then the union happens, then the yoga happens.

  2. Yoga is not just a weight-loss program, it is a science to make  you feel lighter. You lose mental stuff of anger, jealousy, hatred, greed, etc.

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

Hailing from the glorious tradition of Southern Indian Mysticism, Sadhguru is an accomplished yogi of the highest order and is among the few rare beings known as “Chakreshwara” – one who has complete mastery over the 114 chakras in the human system. He has initiated millions across the globe into powerful spiritual processes. He developed Isha Yoga, as a scientific method to accelerate the release of physical, mental and emotional blocks, resulting in a life-transforming experience of clarity and boundless energy. Inner Engineering, Isha’s flagship program, introduces Shambhavi Mahamudra a simple but powerful kriya (inner energy process). Sadhguru is widely sought after by prestigious global forums to address issues as diverse as human rights, business values, and social, environmental and existential issues. He is the founder of Isha Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of the individual and the world for the past three decades.

Website: http://www.ishafoundation.org/

His famous quotes:

  1. Every day, twice a day if you are reminded that you will also die, then naturally you will move towards knowing higher dimensions of perception.

  2. If your experience of life transcends the limitations of the physical, only then we can say you are spiritual.

Baba Ramdev

Baba Ramdev should be credited for his exemplary work of creating awareness about Yoga across commoners around the world. Baba Ramdev specializes in different forms of pranayama which are said to cure many diseases and ailments including facilitating weight loss and lifestyle related disorders. Baba Ramdev’s pranayama modules are quite popular as yoga for weight loss. He influences Yoga practice at home by watching Yoga programmes on television, thus, taking the practice to almost every house urban and rural. Baba Ramdev was born in Haryana in 1965 and established the Patanjali Yogpeeth and Centre of Yoga awareness at Haridwar. This spiritual guru also set up a factory to manufacture various Ayurvedic medicines and products. Baba Ramdev is said to have been influenced by Aurobindo Ghose’s booklet Yogic Sadhna, which led to his deep affection for yoga and meditation in the caves of Himalaya.

Website: http://www.divyayoga.com/

His famous quotes:

  1. The remedy for all illnesses lies in yoga and healthy lifestyle.

  2. You might be managing big businesses and enterprises. Yoga is important because it teaches you to manage your own self. It brings about a complete balance in your body making it healthy.

These are the real assets of India. Indian Yogis who practiced, mastered, propagated, and achieved higher pursuit through Yoga. Let’s we all dedicate ourselves to Yoga and achieve what a human only can achieve i.e. Samadhi, the final objective of the Ashtanga Yoga.

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