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Adiyogi - The First Yogi

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Adiyogi – The First Yogi


Ever wondered when yoga was first discovered? Or who was the first yoga teacher and when was the first yoga class?

In a vivid narration from Sadhguru, we take a look at the being who introduced yoga to humankind, the Adiyogi, the first yogi.


Over 15,000 years ago at a time predating all religion, Adiyogi, the first yogi, transmitted the science of yoga to his seven disciples, the Saptarishis. Today, millions of people on the planet are practicing some form of yoga. This has not happened because of force or conversion, but out of yoga’s sheer efficacy.

Yoga is widely practiced today purely as a form of physical exercise, however yoga is much more than that. It is the technology of taking one’s life energies to the very peak and making the human system a ladder to the divine. To achieve this, Adiyogi expounded 112 ways through which a person can transcend their limitations and reach their ultimate potential. 

Today, we refer to this being as Shiva. But in yogic culture, Shiva is not seen as a God, but as the Adiyogi or the First Yogi – the originator of yoga. He was the one who first put this seed into the human mind. According to the yogic lore, over fifteen thousand years ago, Shiva attained to his full enlightenment and abandoned himself in an intense ecstatic dance upon the Himalayas. When his ecstasy allowed him some movement, he danced wildly. When it became beyond movement, he became utterly still.

People saw that he was experiencing something that nobody had known before, something that they were unable to fathom. Interest developed and people came wanting to know what this was. They came, they waited and they left because the man was oblivious to other people’s presence. He was either in intense dance or absolute stillness, completely uncaring of what was happening around him. Soon, everyone left…

Except for seven men.

These seven people were insistent that they must learn what this man had in him, but Shiva ignored them. They pleaded and begged him, “Please, we want to know what you know.” Shiva dismissed them and said, “You fools. The way you are, you are not going to know in a million years. There is a tremendous amount of preparation needed for this. This is not entertainment.”

So they started preparing. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, they prepared. Shiva just chose to ignore them. On a full moon day, after eighty-four years of sadhana, when the solstice had shifted from the summer solstice to the winter solstice – which in this tradition is known as Dakshinayana – the Adiyogi looked at these seven people and saw that they had become shining receptacles of knowing. They were absolutely ripe to receive. He could not ignore them anymore. They grabbed his attention.


He watched them closely for the next few days and when the next full moon rose, he decided to become a Guru. The Adiyogi transformed himself into the Adi Guru; the first Guru was born on that day which is today known as Guru Purnima. On the banks of Kanti Sarovar, a lake that lies a few kilometers above Kedarnath, he turned South to shed his grace upon the human race, and the transmission of the yogic science to these seven people began. The yogic science is not about a yoga class that you go through about how to bend your body – which every new born infant knows – or how to hold your breath – which every unborn infant knows. This is the science of understanding the mechanics of the entire human system.

After many years, when the transmission was complete, it produced seven fully enlightened beings – the seven celebrated sages who are today known as the Saptarishis, and are worshipped and admired in Indian culture. Shiva put different aspects of yoga into each of these seven people, and these aspects became the seven basic forms of yoga. Even today, yoga has maintained these seven distinct forms.

The Saptarishis were sent in seven different directions to different parts of the world to carry this dimension with which a human being can evolve beyond his present limitations and compulsions. They became the limbs of Shiva, taking the knowing and technology of how a human being can exist here as the Creator himself, to the world. Time has ravaged many things, but when the cultures of those lands are carefully looked at, small strands of these people’s work can be seen, still alive. It has taken on various colors and forms, and has changed its complexion in a million different ways, but these strands can still be seen.

The Adiyogi brought this possibility that a human being need not be contained in the defined limitations of our species. There is a way to be contained in physicality but not to belong to it. There is a way to inhabit the body but never become the body. There is a way to use your mind in the highest possible way but still never know the miseries of the mind. Whatever dimension of existence you are in right now, you can go beyond that – there is another way to live. He said, “You can evolve beyond your present limitations if you do the necessary work upon yourself.” That is the significance of the Adiyogi.

We have compiled a huge amount of research information on how 8000 to 12,000 years ago, there was linga worship in South America, Turkey, and North Africa, and snake worship all over the world – there is archeological proof for that. Only over the last maybe 20 centuries, this has been demolished and lost in most parts of the world, but originally, the Saptarishis’ influence spread across the planet. There is no culture that did not benefit from Adiyogi’s science of yoga.

Image result for isha linga greece

Delphi, Greece – A Temple Built by Yogis

Yoga went everywhere – not as a religion, belief system, or philosophy, but as methods. Over a period of time, there have been distortions, but still, unknowingly, millions of people across the planet are doing some yogic practice. This is the only thing in the history of humanity that has lived for so long without ever being forced upon people.

There is no culture that did not benefit from Adiyogi’s science of yoga. There are attempts to deny the acknowledgement of a certain culture and of the one who has made the most significant contribution to human consciousness ever.


The Temple at Delphi, Greece was known as the “navel of the earth” among the ancient Europeans. Among the ancient Greeks, the temple was dedicated to Apollo, the Greek God of healing, music, poetry and a lot more. But according to studies, the temple was built before the beginning of recorded Greek history and was originally a Goddess temple.

Navel of Earth


No one ever put a sword to anyone’s throat and said “Do yoga! Otherwise, we will behead you.” No force has ever been exerted to impose it, but still yoga has lived for over 15,000 to 20,000 years, and there has been no single authority to propagate it – simply because the process is so effective. It has had its highs and lows, but it is once again coming back in a big way. However, there are sources today that question the origin of yoga. Some even claim that the yoga that is being taught today was extracted from a European exercise system. There are attempts to deny the acknowledgement of a certain culture and of the one who has made the most significant contribution to human consciousness ever.

Before I fall dead, I want to see that Adiyogi is sufficiently acknowledged. These 21 and 112 foot-tall statues of Adiyogi are part of this effort. After working on it for over 2-1/2 years, we arrived at an image that we are generally happy with. Now we are in the process of manifesting that image. Each of these Adiyogi statues will come with a structure of 112 feet tall consecrated linga. These will be powerful energy spaces for meditation. The first ones are coming up in North America – one near the US Tennessee ashram [the Isha Institute of Inner-sciences in McMinnville], one near San Jose, one in Seattle, one in Toronto. Many other cities are examining this possibility too. Our idea is to set up 50 in the United States – one for each state.

Adiyogi Statues in India

In India, such spaces will come up wherever someone takes the initiative to make it happen. A few people are also working towards establishing 112-feet-tall Adiyogi statues in four corners of India. The government of Arunachal Pradesh has invited us to establish one in their state, which is the first part of the country to be touched by the rising sun. It is my desire that the first sunlight in India should fall on his face. Irrespective of caste, religion, and gender, people should celebrate him for the contribution that he has made to humanity – not as a god but as a man who rose beyond all limitations – he was everything that a man can be and everything that a man cannot be. He was the one who opened up this possibility for humanity for the first time. He not only spoke about it – he gave specific methods as to how to do it. No one else before him or after him has made a greater contribution to human consciousness.

Out of the other three 112-feet-tall Adiyogi statues, we want one to come up in Uttarakhand, on the way to Hardwar; one near Kanyakumari, and another one in Rajasthan, near the border. In four corners of the country, there will be large, iconic Adiyogi statues that people cannot ignore. We are also coming up with a book on Adiyogi. It is very important to see him as a man – only then, there will be a possibility of you striving to be like him. Whether it is Krishna, Rama, Jesus, or someone else – the moment you look at them as gods, you don’t strive to be like them – that is the problem. I want to constantly remind everyone that Adiyogi was more than a man, but still very much a man. Every human being is capable of this irrespective of the backgrounds they come from, what they know, and what they do not know. If they are willing to do certain things, transcendence is a possibility in everyone’s life. To make this a big statement and acknowledge him as the one who offered the science of yoga, we are thinking of setting up four 112 foot statues in the country and in between as many 21-foot statues as we can.

Yoga is the Only Way

Everything that I am is only because of this particular science being available to us freely. If, when I was young, they had imposed a restriction – let’s say “If you want to do yoga, you must do Guru Pooja” – I would have gotten up and left. If they had told me to bow down or light a lamp, I would have left. There were no such restrictions. There were just instructions on what to do, and it worked. I would not be who I am without the science that Adiyogi has offered, which is 100% irreligious. He predates all religion. Yoga is something so precious for the modern world, because we are stuck with the intellect. The problem I had in my youth – that I couldn’t light a lamp, I couldn’t bow down, I couldn’t enter a temple; if someone said one mantra, I would go away – is a problem of the intellect.

I want to see that Adiyogi’s name is uttered everywhere. Everyone who comes to an Adiyogi space can pick from 112 options the one thing they want to do and start with a three-minute sadhana.

The more the intellect is emphasized, the more people will have this problem. When this problem arises, yoga as a scientific approach is the only way. Everything else will only divide people. And that time is not far away for humanity. Before that time comes, I want to see that Adiyogi’s name is uttered everywhere and everyone knows that this science of yoga is available. These statues will be 112 feet tall because Adiyogi gave 112 ways a human being can attain to the Ultimate. We want to simplify this and offer you 112 things that you can do. Out of this, you just have to do one thing. This will transform your life in the simplest possible way.

Everyone who comes to an Adiyogi space can pick from these 112 options the one thing they want to do and start with a three-minute sadhana. Everyone can invest three minutes. If it works for them, they can gradually increase the duration to 6, 12, or 24 minutes. We want to establish this within the next decade that irrespective of caste, religion, gender, or physical condition – everyone will have a simple spiritual process in their lives.

A Historic Event

Sadhguru invites you to be part of a moment in history as a unique face of Adiyogi is consecrated at Isha Yoga Center. A towering 112 feet high, this iconic face represents the 112 ways one can attain to one’s ultimate nature.

Consecration of yogeshwar linga & Consecration of Adiyogi

On Mahashivratri Feb 24th, Sadhguru will share his intimate experience of Adiyogi with the world. Come and bask in the grace of the ultimate. Find out more here (http://isha.sadhguru.org/mahashivratri/)

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