Sadhguru on Agastyamuni

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Consecrated Spaces / Great Masters / Storytelling

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Agastya muni was one of the Saptarishis. In this talk Sadhguru looks at his immense contribution and also explores a few of the many places that Agastya muni spent time at. Kailash, Kantisarovar (lake of grace), where the first yoga program happened; Guptakashi; Vindhyachal Mountains; Biligiri Rangana Betta; Nattatreeswarar Temple; Sathuragiri Hills.

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Duration: 18 min

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Sadhguru on Agastyamuni

The following is an unedited transcript of Sadhguru's video. For better readability, breaks and highlights have been added by the editors.

Kanti Sarovar

The first transmission of yoga happened on the banks of Kanti Sarovar, about six to seven kilometers beyond Kedarnath, it’s called Kanti Sarovar. Kanti Sarovar means a lake of grace. It was named as the lake of grace, because it’s on the banks of this lake, the first yoga program happened. Somewhere between twelve to fifteen thousand years ago.

Adiyogi when he appeared in the upper regions of Himalayas, people gathered in thousands. Because his very persona was such that it attracted people and everybody sat down. But he said nothing, he closed his eyes and sat, people waited. So, he simply sat there for months on end unmoving. They realized that if someone has to sit like this, he must be beyond his physical nature, otherwise he cannot sit like this. Only seven people identified this and they stayed back. These seven people today are referred to as the Sapta Rishis or the seven celestial sages in India.

He gave them a few preparatory steps and said, “You prepare, let’s see.” One day when his attention fell upon them, he noticed they have become like shining receptacles. For one who knows, when he sees such a shining receptacle, he can’t keep quiet. He saw these people are really ready and then he sat down on the banks of Kanti Sarovar and started expounding the science of yoga. To assimilate this science, to assimilate this knowing and to integrate that into the human form, they went into long periods of hibernation.

The most prominent of them, one who is very very significant for us, the one who chose to travel south, Agasthya or one who is known as Agasthiyamuni, went into his sadhana in a subterranean space. The legend say that he stayed there in the subterranean space in a mode of hibernation for thousands of years, and then when he came out of it, having completely integrated the knowledge as a part of himself and his system, not as a intellectual property but as a reverberating process of his own human system – he decided to fulfill his mission of going south, and of all the seven he became the most prominent because of the vigor with which he spread this across the southern part of the subcontinent.

He set up probably over, from what I have heard of, over 700 ashrams in the country – many small places that’s not counted, proper ashrams where sadhana went on and he established some kind of a guru in the place, and so that sadhana could go on. Over 700 ashrams he established around the country, to make spirituality a part of everyday life. The depth of understanding and how he went about his work, with the energy and the wisdom with which he handled everything is quite superhuman in many ways. In many ways Agastya is, you can say, almost you can call him the father of South Indian mysticism. Yoga came in a particular format to South India through Agastya.

They say he lived for 4,000 years. I really don’t know whether he lived for 4,000 years, but definitely he lived much longer than what normal human beings lived. If you look at the volume of activity he performed in his life, it doesn’t look like he died in 100 year’s time. At least 400 years he must have lived, because the volume of activity he has performed is not possible within a certain limitation of time. Today we are jetting around and driving around, so you know, we are able to do so many more things, in a short span of time. But the kind of travel Agastya did, on foot, it’s impossible for a man to have that much activity in a normal span of human life. Definitely he lived very long. Maybe 400 years and maybe 4,000 or people just added one zero because, after all zero… but he did incredible things.

Subramanya

He was the one who sort of, tamed the anger of Karthikeya. Karthikeya was Shiva’s son. So he got very angry and he wanted to go away from his father. So he went down south in great anger, and he became a warrior. In many ways, an unmatched warrior and he went about conquering. Conquering – he didn’t conquer to rule. Whatever he thought was unjust, he went about slaughtering because he felt his parents have been unjust to him, and he wanted to create justice. When you are angry, everything feels unjust, you know, isn’t it? Every small thing, you think some great injustice is happening to you, when you are angry. So he felt so much injustice in the world, so he found lot of people to slaughter. So he fought battles and battles and went down south, south.

It was Agastya who made this anger into a means for enlightenment, and finally he found his rest in Subramanya. So for the last time he washed his sword at Subramanya, settled down there for sometime, and then moved up Kumar Parvat where he attained Mahasamadhi in a standing posture. So this great art of transforming Karthikeya’s anger into a means for his enlightenment, was Agastya’s work. And all this, all this siddhars of South India, they are very much in the tradition of Agastya. In a way everything that I do, is just a small extension to Agastya’s work. He built a major, a colossus of a place. We are just adding one extra room to it, because – this South Indian mysticism has a different flavor, that’s because of Agastya.

So he took up the maximum territory compared to the other six, and went about transforming this in many different ways. He ensured that some element of spirituality is in everybody’s life. It maybe going away, but still if you just look at the last generation, even today it’s very much there. Even a simple peasant in South India, or anywhere beyond Uttar Pradesh. Anywhere down south beyond that, you will see even a simple peasant has some element of spirituality in him. This was Agastya’s work.

Guptakashi

This is an area where Agasthyamuni walked, probably he even visited this temple, either himself or probably one of his people, because the nature of the lingam is such which is in line with Agasthiya’s way of doing things. So it is either himself or somebody like him, or in his line of duty who have concentrated this linga. It is pure kriya, which is 100% energy work. No other things, no mantras, no tantras, no nothing, it’s 100% energy work. That’s the way I am, that’s the only thing I know. I can just transform life from one dimension to another, simply on the basis of energy. I don’t know any chantings, I don’t know any rituals, I don’t know anything. Without any ritual, simply, you know, just switching the energy from one dimension to another.

You know what Guptakashi means? ‘Gupt’ means secret. ‘Kashi’ means – you know Varanasi? You have heard of Varanasi? Kashi is the holiest of holy cities, one of the most ancient cities of learning. This was a place where hundreds of enlightened beings lived at a time. Every street you walked, you had an enlightened being to meet. So Kashi means the holiest of the holy. So that is the main Kashi, just after Kedar is Guptakashi, the secret Kashi. Nobody is supposed to know about it.

Vindhyachal Mountains

So there are whole lot of stories like this about Agastya’s journey down south. When he was going down south, he met Vindhyachal. Vindhyas is another mountain range in India, a much older mountain range than Himalayas. Himalayas is a geologically very young mountain. So Vindhyachal is a much older mountain, among the oldest in the world. So among the mountains, Himalaya was elected as the King of the mountains. So when Agastya was going down south, Vindhyachal was angry and he stopped Agastya and said, ‘How can you do this? How can you make Himalaya the king? He’s just a child compared to me. How could you make him the king?’ Now Agastya knew when a mountain gets angry it can be bad. When a man gets angry it can be pretty bad, when a mountain gets angry, we don’t know what he will do.

Now, when Agastya sat down, as because Vindhyachal was very devout, he bowed down to Agastya. So Agastya said, ‘Just stay there, stay there, I’ll go down south and come back, then we will look at your issue’. So Vindhyachal remained bowed down, waiting for Agastya to come back. Agastya never came back. Next time when he came north, he went the other way through Jagannath, Puri just to avoid Vindhyachal, so that he remains subdued, that he doesn’t erupt as a volcano or something. So Vindhyachal remained very – he is small because he is bowed down. Himalaya is tall because he is standing up and still growing. Anywhere in the Deccan plateau if you travel, almost everywhere you will see in some village somebody will say, ‘This is a cave where Agastya meditated, this is a place where Agastya did this’.

Biligiri Rangana Betta

Of all the places in BR Hills, it’s called Belligiri Ranganabetta in Karnataka, near Chamrajnagar district. So in BR hills there is a place where there is a – what’s a sampangi tree? What’s it called in English – sampangi? Champa, is it? Okay, it’s a very fragrant flower. This tree, they say was planted by Agastya Muni. It’s definitely incredibly old, this plant, this tree is. It’s become all knotted up, and it looks much older than any tree of its kind. They say this tree was planted by Agastya 6,000 years ago. So this is called as dodda sampinge, because dodda sampinge means big sampinge. It’s so large, and Agastya planted this tree and he stayed there for sometime.

Nattatreeswarar Temple

In the Cauvery this is the mid-point. So, they identify the exact mid-point and Agastya muni consecrated a linga, which is originally actually made of sand mixed with some compound of those days, traditional compound. So it’s a sand linga which is still intact. Not only physically intact, in every way intact. This is seen as the navel of Cauvery because this is the mid-point. And whatever he did – I wish I had more time to spend here, but it’s just blowing away, as if it was done yesterday. And it’s incredible. This is our ancestry.

It’s believed that Agasthiyamuni left his subtle body here, with this Linga, and left his mental body or manomayakosha in a chatura – aomewhere near Madurai or Viruthunagar there is an other place where he left his intellectual or mental body. But he took the help of the Karthikeya and took his physical body to Kailash, where Shiva was and left it there. That’s the spectacular way of doing things in the end.

Kailash

Kailash is like a tremendous spiritual library for me. When they say this was the abode of Shiva – this is the abode of Shiva. It doesn’t mean he’s still dancing on the snow. It means that everything that He was, is invested in that place. Not just him, everybody else who came. For me, the most significant thing was Agastyamuni, we know invested his energies in Kailash. So, Agastya invested everything that he was in the southern face of Kailash. Thats incredible, incredible means incredible. In terms of natural beauty, there are no words for it, but in terms of its power and energy, it’s absolutely incredible.

So, Agastya is the source of everything that is southern mysticism. He is the very source of everything that I am. You can say I’m just a fingernail of his, scratching your life, right! now.

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