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Patanjali Siddhar

Sri Patan­jali Sid­dhar also famous­ly called as Mahar­ishi Patan­jali, is con­sid­ered fore­most among the Pathi­nen Sid­dhar­gal. The infor­ma­tion on Patan­jali is avail­able only in Puranas, and some rare Tamil texts. Mahar­ishi Patan­jali is uni­ver­sal­ly known for cod­i­fy­ing his thoughts and knowl­edge of yoga in the San­skrit work called “The Yoga Sutras of Patan­jali”. The exact date of the com­pi­la­tion of the Yoga Sutras is not known. How­ev­er, it is believed that they were writ­ten some­where around 200 BC. This com­pi­la­tion of 195 sutras is con­sid­ered to be a blue­print for liv­ing an ide­al life and also incor­po­rat­ing the sci­ence of yoga into one’s life. Patan­jali Yoga sutra is one of his famous work towards Shi­va yoga, which con­sti­tutes Ash­tan­ga Yoga. Now West­ern coun­tries are show­ing tremen­dous inter­est towards yoga in order to man­age the stress­ful lifestyle and seek a high­er expe­ri­ence. It was Swa­mi Vivekanan­da who intro­duced Patan­jali Yoga to the west­ern coun­tries in the form of raja yoga.

Patan­jali Sid­dhar is also the author of a San­skrit Mahab­hasya, a major com­men­tary on Panini’s Ash­tad­hyayi. In Tamil Sid­dha tra­di­tion we can also learn about Patan­jali from oth­er Sid­dhars work:

“நந்திஅருள்பெற்றநாதரைநாடினோம் நந்திகள்நால்வர்சிவயோகமாமுனி மறுதொழுதபதஞ்சலி, வியாக்ரபர் என்றிவர்என்னோடுஎண்மருமாம்!” THIRUMANTHIRAM

Accord­ing to the above cou­plet from Thiru­man­thi­ram of the great Sid­dhar Thiru­moolar, Sri Guru Nand­hi Deva taught the sci­ence and prac­tice of this great yoga to eight dis­ci­ples name­ly Sana­gar, San­tha­nar, Sanath Sujatar, Sanath Kumarar, Siva Yoga Maa­mu­ni, Patan­jali, Vyakrama­padar and Thiru­moolar. From this, we can infer Patan­jali and Thiru­moolar may have been con­tem­po­raries. He is also called snake-legged Sid­dha பதஞ்சலியார் எனப்படும் பாம்புக்கால் முனிவர். This also cor­re­lates with the oth­er leg­ends, such as one from a Tamil work called Kovil Puranam, where Patan­jali Sid­dhar was con­sid­ered to be an avatar of Adi She­sha the Cos­mic Ser­pent upon whom Lord Vish­nu rests. He along with Sid­dhar Thiru­moolar and Vigara­p­ata­gar wit­nessed the cos­mic dance of Lord Shi­va at Thillai in Chi­dambaram Anan­dathan­davam. Thiru­moolar also men­tions this in his work Thiru­man­thi­ram. The pri­ma­ry inter­est of his work was to pro­vide edu­ca­tion, and ele­vate (trans­form) the human beings to tran­scen­den­tal (spir­i­tu­al) life and free them from the activ­i­ties of mate­r­i­al enjoy­ment or mate­r­i­al dis­tress.

Patan­jali Sid­dhar is con­sid­ered to be well versed in both San­skrit and Tamil. He learned Sid­dha med­i­cine, Sid­dha yoga and gnana philoso­phies, which he com­piled main­ly in San­skrit as Patan­jali Yoga Sutra. Sri Gow­da­p­athar is the direct dis­ci­ple of Sid­dhar Patan­jali and car­ried the teach­ings of him. Sri Gow­da­p­athar is said to have lat­er men­tored Sri Adi Shankaracharya or Adi Shankara who is a well-known sage. Lat­er Adi Shankara trav­eled across the Indi­an sub­con­ti­nent to prop­a­gate the phi­los­o­phy of Advai­ta through dis­cours­es and debates. Again, Swa­mi Vivekanan­da is from the tra­di­tion of Adi Shankaracharya. How the Grace flows!

Nobody knew exact­ly when might have Patan­jali Muni been born or lived but it is believed that he might have lived some­time between 500 and 200 B.C. Patan­jali Sid­dhar is also con­sid­ered to have attained Jee­va Samad­hi in Ramesh­waram.

Though we all have ben­e­fit­ed from his work on Yoga, now let us see a cou­ple of Poems by this great Sid­dhar in our own sweet Tamil lan­guage:

பரமமெ னும்பொரு ளேதோ காரணம் விவரம றிந்து தானே சூசனை மழுதுற வெஞ்சுலு மாயா பேதமை யுறவாகி

The Supreme Sub­stance is the source (cause) What­ev­er is thought to be under­stood is only con­jec­tures What­ev­er is deduced is only igno­rance due to maya

பரமமெ னும்பொரு ளேதோ காரணம் விவரம றிந்து தானே சூசனை மழுதுற வெஞ்சுலு மாயா பேதமை யுறவாகி

The Supreme Sub­stance is the source (cause) What­ev­er is thought to be under­stood is only con­jec­tures What­ev­er is deduced is only igno­rance due to maya

Patan­jali Muni beau­ti­ful­ly brings out that the true Self is the eter­nal exis­tence which is free of con­cep­tions and free of deduc­tions of the mind.

கரையிலை யென்பது சீவான் மாவுகள் பசுசல னஞ்சமை யாதீ யாகம கலகமெ னுந்திரை யூடே மூழ்கினர் சதிமாறி

The lives are end­less and keep chang­ing course The mov­ing souls bound in the bod­ies, being rest­less, Are drowned in dis­putes, which are wave-like

இகபரம் ரண்டென வேதா னோதிய விருவகை யுந்தள லாமே ஞானமு மிதுவது வுஞ்சரி தானே மோனமு மினிதாகும்

The life here and beyond are said to be two Wis­dom is which that dis­cards these two kinds This and that are equal­ly bind­ing in the wis­dom aris­ing from the bliss of mys­ti­cal silence

In these vers­es, Patan­jali Muni brings out gems from his core real­iza­tion of the nature of birth, death and the very exis­tence. In the fol­low­ing vers­es, Patan­jali Sid­dhar urges the seek­ers to sur­ren­der at the Guru’s feet for true lib­er­a­tion and advis­es to “fol­low him like a shad­ow”.

சருவம வன்செயல் றானே யாகிய குருவையு ணர்ந்தவர் தாமே யோகிக டனையு மறிந்தவர் பேசார் ஞானிக டவியாரே

All are His acts and so He is. Those who appre­hends Guru’s feet are the real yogis Those who real­ize will not speak; the enlight­ened do not suf­fer

பிறவிவி னைத்துய ரான மன்பதை யிதையறி யச்செய லேது சங்க்ரமம் பெரியகு ருத்தொட ராவைநாடொரு நிழல்போல

The entire­ty of lives is based on vinai lead­ing to mis­ery of births Which is the short course that enables one to know this? Be asso­ci­at­ed with a great Guru and fol­low like a shad­ow

These select­ed few vers­es are from Patan­jali Siddhar’s Tamil works titled Jnanam. The elixirs offered by Patan­jali Muni are so many. In our efforts we could only bring you a select­ed few. We invite you to con­tem­plate more on these lines and share with us your insights. We also invite you to share with us lines from Sid­dhar Padal­gal that have deeply touched you. You could write to us at

In absorb­ing this, may our abhyasa con­tin­ue, may our shrad­dha in the Sid­dha Parampara strength­en and may rev­e­la­tions awak­en as we grow with­in!

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