Who was Patanjali?
January 31, 2017
If you have been in the world of Yoga for some time, it is inevitable that you have heard of Patanjali, even in passing. Patanjali is known for being the author of the Yoga-Sutra, a compilation of precepts about Yoga. This text is of great importance in the history of Yoga, which dates back to the third century and has survived to this day. But who was Patanjali? To tell the truth... nobody knows exactly.
"And anjali describes the prayer gesture of the hands joined by the palms.
Legend has it that God Vishnu was dazzled by seeing the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva Nataraja. Such was the pleasure and bliss felt by Vishnu that he ended up trembling with sheer ecstasy. The Ananta serpent on which Vishnu rests, sensing the tremor he asked him what had happened. Vishnu told him how, when observing the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva, such was the pleasure experienced that he had entered samadhi (supraconsciousness), hence the tremors. It was then that Ananta, the serpent, asked Vishnu to allow him to incarnate on earth as a man so that he too could experience Samadhi.
Vishnu, moved by Ananta's request, spoke in turn with the God Shiva, transmitting to him the request of the Cosmic Serpent. God Shiva granted Ananta his wish to incarnate on earth as a man; and for this he would do it through Gonika, one of the incarnations of the Goddess Parvati, Shiva's consort.
Gonika was a devotee who implored Lord Shiva to have a yogi child. On one occasion when Gonika was praying in the river, God Surya, God of the Sun, heard her prayer and told Lord Shiva to intercede for her.
It is said that the Sage Patanjali learned all the philosophy of yoga in the womb of Gonika, his mother. And it is that Gonika as an incarnation of Parvati carried the knowledge of yoga implicit in her Being, since Parvati was the first to receive the teachings of yoga from the hands of Lord Shiva on the shores of the sea.
Once again we find ourselves in India divided between mythology and reality, at that point where myth and legend merge with reality. This is how Gonika's son, Patanjali, was born intuitively knowing Yoga. Like all the stories of Hindu mythology, it is also covered with mysticism and palpable symbology, which help us, even after so many centuries, to continue to know ourselves a little better.