Adiyogi: The Source Of Yoga, Book Review

I have been pretty over-excited with Adiyogi for a while. I found out about this book just a few days before #Mahashivaratri and it became my first pre-ordered book on Amazon.

I knew from a while that Sadhguru was looking to create the Adiyogi face and a consecrated linga by it – basically an Adiyogi temple. And I am always up for amazingly charged Temples that Sadhguru would make. Temples are awesome, but is there anything more?

The Adiyogi book is hopefully one of the first in a whole set of literature.

This book creates a modern rhetoric for all of Shiva’s awesomeness. More so, a special focus on his identity as the first Yogi and hence it becomes relevant for all Yoga enthusiasts everywhere.

Important to note, that Yoga is always understood to be a complete path to enlightenment including meditation, samadhi, devotion and whole lot more. So this book adds to this identity of Yoga as a hardcore spiritual path. This is great because there exists a popular westernised outlook, where it is considered to be only asanas and physical postures. It is okay if that is the only way some people want to engage with Yoga, but at least the actual nature of the path must be brought mainstream.

Why This Book On Adiyogi Is Needed

Despite the enigma and attraction that exists even today, Shiva is a very old piece in Hindu lore. The existing literature on Him is from a different generation. At least the popular literature (I don’t know if there has been some silent yogi somewhere who published something different). But in mainstream all the major Shaivite works, and I have read a few, they are from a different generation to a different generation. And they are often from the Bhakti path, which means they are overflowing with emotions. They usually don’t answer intellectual and scientific thinking. They continue to create enigma and generate wonder – and this not a small matter. So don’t get me wrong, some of the existing Hindu literature can become very engrossing and insightful read in its own right. And the ancient Indian story-telling format ensures, that everyone from every walk of life will be able to grasp and enjoy it.

But something more was also needed.

This new book fills the gap.

Adding Science to the Story,

“Shiva once returned from a long absence. He came to Parvati’s cottage and found the door closed with a child guarding it. The child had been asked to guard the cottage and he would not allow Shiva inside. Shiva killed the child.”

This story is a very common and famous one that probably every Indian kid knows. But just look at it – how can a God kill a child? And the kid was only following orders!

I am NOT questioning Shiva or Hindu traditions. I am questioning the manner in which these stories are being passed around, often without a modicum of sense or rationality. And everyone just accepts it.

“Shiva once returned from a long absence. He came to Parvati’s cottage and found the door closed with a child guarding it.The child had been asked to guard the cottage and he would not allow Shiva inside. As the altercation began Shiva looked deep into this child’s existence and realised it is only a puppet made of mud. It’s true form would be back in the mud. So he destroyed it.”

Much better isn’t it? Anyway this is only my version of the story. You can read Sadhguru’s more complete version in the book.

The older rhetoric is hard to understand, it needs spiritual insight that is suited to modern times. (What it doesn’t need is a dumbing down of Shiva’s character and making him more human within a mediocre fantasy fiction book plot. *ahem* 😉 )

The best part of this Adiyogi book is that the complexity and madness of Shiva isn’t reduced at all.

And so, the book : Adiyogi: The Source of Yoga 🙂

Happy Reading!

If you wish to know some more,

Quick Review:

If You have been Following Sadhguru’s Discourses,
Then a lot of this book material won’t be new for you. But it is like someone has taken all those clips where he delved into Shiva and put it all together. In fact for me since I have been listening to his discourses for years, there is still more insight I have gleaned which is not part of this book. So in that respect this book should and can have a part 2.

If you have not been following Sadhguru’s Discourses,
then you need to understand 2 things,
1) The way Sadhguru approaches a topic is not always easy to grasp. Take for example this simple kriya Isha Foundation released on YouTube called Yoga Namaskar. When I read the name of it, I thought it would be a very simple practice. I mean, how much can there be in a Namaskar!

The video is 11 minutes long and I paused it in between because I would need to practice it along with the video if I have to grasp it. The fundamental movements are simple enough but there are so many nuances.
So this is a typical trait of Sadhguru, seemingly simple stuff just isn’t that simple.

2) Sadhguru’s rhetoric on Shiva in some aspects is very different from the traditional one. Coupled with his deceptively simple approach to matters, it can be a bit much to digest quickly. So take this read slow. Ponder and digest on new bits.

Hopefully by then Sadhguru can come up with #Adiyogi Book 2 😀
Here are some of the topics I want to read about,
1) Rituals within Hindu temples (some seen even today) and their significance
2) Some paths of Shiva – tribes that are following intriguing sadhana
3) More Shiva legends explained better

Oh and do share your thoughts, views or even doubts on the book here. I am really interested in knowing what other people think of this.

Photo Credit: Isha Foundation

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