Patanjali Siddhar

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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:

மறுதொழுதபதஞ்சலி, வியாக்ரபர்

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!