How Yoga Has Changed

Gorakshanatha was a great Kshatriya-Yogi or warrior-Yogi who has lived through many yugas (Hindu epochs), under different names and forms. He taught the Hatha-Yoga system, originally an exercise system used by warriors for martial-arts and dancers to make warriors strong against Muslims. Bappa Rawal (c. 800AD) the great King of Rajasthan became his devotee, who named his warriors Gurkhas after Gorakshanath (Gorakhnath) and purged the Islamic invasions of western India, Iran, Central Asia and Afghanistan at his time and brought them under his control, at the behest of Gorakhnath and his great training given to him.

This was a Tantric system that included knowledge of jyotisha (Vedic astrology), sacred rites and rituals and devotion to Shiva and the Shakti or goddess personified as power. It was a highly specialised system with many deeper elements to it, as in the greater Tantric path, not simply superficial or rudimentary occultism as it is often perceived today!

Later, these people (Gurkhas) migrated to Nepal and set up their Kingdom. Ramamohana Brahmachari who Krishnamacharya learnt from was himself in the Gurkha lineage and made Krishnamacharya remember the Gurkha Yoga teachings from Gorakshanath.

BKS Iyengar, the brother-in-law of Krishnamacharya later learnt this system of Hatha-Yoga under him and took it to the West. Iyengar made this system available to one and all, yet Krishnamacharya synthesised it more with Ayurveda at a deeper level and gave his patients personalised instruction.

This is an example of how a rajasic militant-Yoga system for Pitta-type kshatriyas (those of muscular, bilious phenotypes as warriors) has become reduced down to a “one-size fits all approach”. While Iyengar himself taught cautions, they have fallen on deaf ears of his followers who have turned it simply into a vyayama (exercise) cult.

While preaching Jnana or the path of knowledge, modern Iyengar yoga teachers also forget that Krishnamacharya and Iyengar belonged to the Sri Vaishnavas in Ramanuja’s lineage of BhaktiYoga, not the Advaita system commonly preached today of Shankaracharya’s Advaita system or JnanaYoga!  They also forget the aggressive nature of the original Hatha-Yogis that didn’t take the Gandhian-styled ahimsa (non-violence applied to all situations) into account – the system was developed to generate warriors who protected India, dharma and yoga traditions – otherwise we’d not have them to use today and would be replaced by Islam as with all other traditions in the Middle-East, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc. 


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