While yoga is accessible to all, the path to become a true yogi is known only to a few. An esoteric practice, it requires years of learning, dedication, willpower and thirst for the connection with the universal consciousness and spiritual marriage with the Divine. Only those who seek this path with complete sincerity and patience are truly successful, but only to some extent. When they finally reach there they realise that they are the Brahman.
This mystic science owes everything to two esoteric cults-the Siddhas and the Buddhas. While the Siddhas originated on Indian soil and the Buddhas are deeply established in India and Nepal, the philosophies, paths, and deities of these two cults are intimately connected. A blend of these two paths can escalate an individual's consciousness and help him/her realise his/her complete potential. Many names, forms and legends portray the gods and goddesses of these cults in myriad ways. This book seeks t explore the anomalies and similarities of these two cults bound together by the heterogeneous spiritual thread of Gorakhnath.
Gorakhnath devoted himself to the prolific knowledge of yoga and emerged as the greatest yogi ever born. It was he who laid the core foundation of a school of thought that is rooted in the Indian tradition. His teachings, vows, and philosophies form the backbone of yoga and the attainment of immortality.
About the Author
Iayraj Salgaokar is the Editor, Publisher, Co-founder, and Managing Director of Kalnirnay, the world's largest-selling multilingual publication, published in nine languages. He writes regularly in Loksatta, Maharashtra Times, and other leading Marathi newspapers. He is a visiting lecturer on newspaper printing technology and internet in various colleges and media schools. His interests include reading, spirituality, and mountaineering.
Om The first sound of the universe. The sound that marks the beginning of all time and of all creation. It defines the eternal cosmic truth as it is said that this sound awakens our spirit to live in love and light and experience a never-ending bliss. It is for this reason that this word is the first syllable of every religious mantra and sacred chant.
Om filled up the space of darkness that was our world. Gradually, as the word grew stronger like a heartbeat, the whole universe turned into a mighty ocean with strong currents that flowed passionately. From them arose a golden glowing egg called the Hiranyagarbha (Golden womb). This eggshell contained Brahma-the Creator of the Universe who divided the shell into Prithvi (earth) and the Swarga (the heavens), and filled it with air to keep it apart. He added high mountains, great rivers, and drew six elements of sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing, and thought from himself and combined them to create all living beings-humans, animals, fishes, birds, insects- and filled the cosmos with pure pulsating life that could procreate.
From that moment till today, our world has undergone a massive metamorphosis. We are no longer defined by divine essence but by materialism, our achievements, social standing in society, caste, class and financial status. These, in turn, have built up our egos, pride or ahankar, and delusions of grandeur. We are beings-who have forgotten our divinity, our purity, our source and our goal-which is to merge with the Parmatma, and return to Om.
Om is the sound of being and nothingness. But chanting Om is not the only way we can reach our true potential or complete our spiritual self. It is a long process that requires discipline and a defined path of self-realisation. This path is called yoga, the path that helps the practitioner to attain the highest goal called moksha or nirvana-eternal freedom from the cycles of birth and death.
Mysticism and yoga are among the many gifts that the rich cultural land of India has given to the world. Life-changing and beneficial to all spheres of life, the practice of yoga has reached the length and breadth of the planet. People around the globe have made Sanskrit chants of "Om" and the daily practice of yogic asanas (postures) an integral part of their lifestyle and spiritualism. It is beyond any religion or cult. It is universal.
The word "yogi" defines someone who has chosen to part with the material world and all its material pleasures and attachments. He looks to gain spiritual fulfillment, to blend body and mind with the soul, and finally achieve a union of the soul with the Brahman or Parmatma, the Final Truth. (This is according to one of the philosophical systems called Vedanta. There are many other traditions where the concept of the final truth differs from Vedanta).
While yoga is accessible to all, the path to become a true yogi is known only to a few. An esoteric practice, it requires years of learning, dedication, willpower, and thirst for the connection with the universal consciousness and spiritual marriage with the Divine. Only those who seek this path with complete sincerity and patience are truly successful, but only to some extent. When they finally reach there they realise that they are the Brahman.
This mystic science owes everything to two esoteric cults-the Siddhas and the Buddhas. While the Siddhas originated on Indian soil and the Buddhas are deeply established in India and Nepal, the philosophies, paths and deities of these two cults are intimately connected. (The Siddhas belong to the Hindu as well as the Buddhist Tantric traditions. The two should not be equated. According to the Buddhist tradition, the Siddhas aim at becoming the Buddha. There are male and female Siddhas-yogis and yoginis-in the Buddhist tradition, having the same goal and capability.)
Pious and passionate, a blend of these two paths can escalate an individual's consciousness and help him/her realise his/her complete potential. Many names, forms and legends portray the gods and goddesses of these cults in myriad ways across centuries since antiquity. From Adinath to Matsyendranath each section explores the anomalies and similarities of these two cults bound together by the heterogeneous spiritual thread of Gorakhnath.
Born in different centuries, in different castes and countries, people worship the Siddhas from Adinath to Matsyendranath. Reincarnated in different forms across centuries, these deities and their teachings give mortals respite from suffering and samsara and show them the right direction towards their spiritual path where there is only bliss and peace. This book attempts to outline this journey that will ultimately help us return to our true nature, of purity, innocence, and simplicity.
Yoga masters call this state Sahaj (simple, natural, sahajyana). Buddhists call it Voidness or Shunya (zero). Osho calls it No-mind. Gorakhnath calls it Death of the ego ... Finally it all merges into a single sound ...Om....Om....Om.
I have gone through the manuscript of the proposed book The Gorakhnath Enlightenment, by Shri Iayraj Salgaokar. The book consists of three parts: Part 1: Yogic and Tantric Gods and Goddesses, Part 2: Gorakhnath: The Thread that Binds Shaivism and Vajrayana Buddhism, and Part 3: The Siddhas and the Buddhist Tradition. The purpose of the book as the disclaimer says, is to trace the intimate connections between the - esoteric origins and paths of Hatha Yoga and Buddhist Tantra, and it is meant for the general public. It is based on various sources, and mostly authentic works. The bibliography at the end of the book evinces the vast and systematic reading the author has done for this book.
The title itself is further explained with three more sub-titles: Yoga and Tantra, Shakti and Tara, and Siddha and the Buddhist Tradition. These three subtitles presumably correspond to the three parts of the book. The author, in these three parts, makes an overview of different religious and esoteric traditions, and tries to show Gorakhnath as the link between the Shaivites and Tantric Buddhists, whose teacher, Matsyendranath, was the chief facilitator of the Siddha cult in Nepal. In general, the presentation is lucid, and authenticated by many quotations and references.
The general presentation is good and the conclusion made by the author acceptable, in connection with the usage of certain terms, common to Hindu and Buddhist traditions. It is necessary, I think, to take into consideration some basic facts. There are similarities in the names of gods and goddesses of Hinduism and Tantric Buddhism. Here, I would not use the words God and/or Goddess with the capital letter "G" as they are deities. The word "God" is used in the sense of lsvara as in Vedanta, but it may still have the Christian connotations. The similar names may point out to a common original source or a partial borrowing from one tradition by the other, but the theoretical differences still have to be taken into account. The Goddess Tara is common to both, Hindu and Buddhist religious traditions, but there are differences in the development of the concept of her being a deity. The goddesses in Vajrayana are sometimes described in similar ways as they are in Hinduism. This can be the element of influence of Hinduism, or of some Hindu Tantric sect. Yet, it is to be noted that a goddess in Vajrayana is mostly a consort of the respective manifestation of the Buddha, and in the Tantric symbolism of Vajrayana, it is not "Shakti". Sakti is an active principle, while the female deity in Vajrayana is a consort of the Buddha, and is passive. It is the union of the two principles that is to be realised. This is similar to the Shaivite concept but not the same. Therefore, Shakti and Tara are not "Identical identities" (1.4). Some scholars of former generations, such as Benoytosh Bhattacharya, have used the term Sakti for a Buddhist goddess. The proper terms are Prajna or Vidya. In Vajrayana, she is sometimes described in similar terms that point to her active role, but it is not a common way of description. As regards Ganesa, he is not regarded to be as important as in Hinduism.
Jnanesvaras association with the Natha cult (2.5) is known and accepted. However, I believe, he does not elaborate on the Tantric theory and practices of the cult. There were fake gurus popularising Tantric practices even in that period who were condemned by the right Tantric teachers, at least those belonging to 'Vajrayana. I think, Jnanesvara showed the non-Tantric path but remained silent on the Tantric practices.
Further, although the Tibetan tradition believes that Nagarjuna, the teacher of the Madhyamaka doctrine, and the Alchemist, are one and the same, I, like many modern scholars, do not think this is correct. While discussing the question of a number of historical figures of the same name (3.4), or while describing the alchemy of Nagarjuna (3.9), the position taken by the author in this respect needs to be made clear.
While describing the "Tantric Roots of the Siddhas" (3.5), the author quotes David Frawley. The recent identification of the Indus civilization with Saraswati civilizations by some Indian scholars, is still a controversial issue. It is not proper to call that civilisation, with all its phases, as "Vedic': until there are convincing evidences.
In the sub-section "Historical Roots of Tantric Buddhism" of Section 3.5, it is stated: "With time there were many disagreements between the Buddhists and thus, two separate schools came into being-the Tenets of the Elders called Hinayana, and the Tenets of the Radicalists, called Mahayana:' An accurate statement would be: "There was a schism that resulted into the emergence of two schools, the Sthaviravada, "The school of the orthodox ones-the Elders': and the Mahasanghika, "The school of a Big Group'. There were further eighteen or twenty different schools or sects (nikaya) that were called Hinayana by the later Mahayanists. The Sthaviravada or Theravada was one of them. The Mahayana came into being after that schism, and emerged from the Mahasanghikas.
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