Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is well known for his Isha Foundation and his yogic practices.

He came up with a theory, a seemingly new one regarding Lord Shiva and the origin of yoga in India.

According to him:

"When we say “Shiva,” there are two fundamental aspects that we are referring to. The word “Shiva” literally means “that which is not.” On another level, when we say “Shiva,” we are referring to a certain yogi, the Adiyogi or the first yogi, and also the Adi Guru, the first Guru, who is the basis of what we know as the yogic science today.

In the yogic culture, Shiva is not seen as a God. He was a being who walked this land and lived in the Himalayan region. As the very source of the yogic traditions, his contribution in the making of human consciousness is too phenomenal to be ignored. This predates all religion.

Dawn of Yoga:

Over 15,000 years ago, Adiyogi appeared in the upper regions of the Himalayas. No one knew where he came from or what his origins were. He just came and went into intense ecstatic dance upon the mountains.

People saw that he was experiencing something that nobody had known before, something that they were unable to fathom. So they gathered around him wanting to know what it was. But no one had the courage to go near him because he was so intense, like a blazing flame of fire. So they waited, hoping something would happen. Some people waited for months and left and Only seven hardcore seekers stuck on. These seven were insistent that they must learn from him, but Shiva ignored them. They pleaded and begged him, “Please, we want to know what you know.”

At last after 84 years of intense sadhana,he decided to become a Guru. On a full moon day which is known as Guru Pournami because the Adiyogi transformed himself into the Adi Guru – the first Guru was born on that day. He took the seven disciples to Kantisarovar and started a systematic exposition of yoga in a scientific manner. He began propounding the whole mechanics of life to these seven people, not intellectually as a philosophy, but experientially. He explored every nut and bolt of creation with them. He brought forth yoga as a technology with which every human being can evolve himself.

The transmission went on for a long period of time. After many years, when it was complete and had produced seven fully enlightened beings, who are today celebrated as the Sapta Rishis, Adiyogi sent each one of them to different parts of the world. One went to Central Asia. Another went to North Africa and the Middle East, where certain schools exist even today. Another went to South America, and that is one culture that imbibed it in a deep way and made something big out of it. One went to East Asia.

One stayed right there with Adiyogi. Another one came to the lower regions of the Himalayas and started what is known as Kashmiri Shaivism. Another one went south into the Indian Peninsula. This one is very important for us because he is Agastya Muni. Of the seven Sapta Rishis, Agastya Muni has been the most effective in terms of bringing the spiritual process into practical life, not as a teaching, philosophy or a practice, but as life itself. It is the benefit of what he did that the Indian people are still enjoying because he produced hundreds of yogis who were like fireballs." and it goes on.

This is a new look at the beginning of Yogic tradition in India.

What is the basis for this story? Was it taken from some Purana or was it an oral tradition?

Is this a true one or a speculated theory?

If it's a speculated then it adds to more confusion caused by the Puranas.

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    THere is no basis to this theory. Everything about this- the meaning of the word Shiva, the really short timeline for the establishment of the guru relative to the age of the universe , to name two are all wrong. Most things that this so-called guru says are incorrect wrt theory and scripture.
    – user1195
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 23:17
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    @moonstar2001 please do scriptural analysis before rejecting in the very first instance. This story is projected by Govt. of India for the 1st ever launch of International day of yoga and it could be found in the Minsitry of external affairs website. mea.gov.in/in-focus-article.htm?25096/… Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 17:50
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    @sv. thanx it was sourced from one of e-books of Isha foundation. i asked it as the same story also appeared in the Ministry of External Affairs, GOI article Yoga its origin history and development by Director of Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga.(which is an institute of international importance by GOI). Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 19:28
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    GOI, MEA and international yoga day are rooted in scripture? I know enough scripture to know this is incorrect, I have also seen enough Jaggi's interviews to conclude he does not know scripture.
    – user1195
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 16:04
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    @KIRANKUMAR I have been watching a sadguru videos for a long time, he seems to know something beyond physical, however he always confuses .. ;) regarding shiva what I have read is that it was just an "Title" means there were many shivas.
    – Ritesh.mlk
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 6:43

4 Answers 4


The Dakshinamurthy is the adiyogi. His idol is there in all south indian temples facing south.

See this wiki article Dakshinamurthy

It is not new and is there in yogic tradition.But the fact is that the traces of the pure yogic tradition and its essence is more or less destroyed in the north india after years of long invavsion. But the south particularly tamilnadu was free from severe invasion of outsiders.

see this pic with seven sages in one of the old indian temples in madurai. enter image description here

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    Welcome to Hinduism SE! You can cite authentic Scriptures such as Puranas for your sentence "Dakshinamurty is Adi Yogi " and you can explain it detail.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 8:18
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    @TheDestroyer . Hinduism is the only religion or culture that doesnt go by scriptures. It is through inner experience always. I didnt read enough scriptures to answer your query and shiva is older than all the scriptures. you can see the pashupathi seal in the indus valley.
    – T-Rex
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 0:55
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    No. Scriptures make answers more authentic. So, this site lays more emphasis for sources. You can visit this question.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 7:51
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    – T-Rex
    Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 1:35
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    While Scriptures are an important source of confirmation - in Sanatana Dharma we do not have authorized versions of our religious scriptures. Various scholars give varying interpretations. The interpretation of Jaggi Vasudeva is one amongst many. Shiva undoubtedly was the Jagat Guru / Adi Guru - teacher of the world / first teacher. In Valmiki Ramayana Mahatmiyam expounded in Uttara Khanda of Skanda Purana there is reference to this in Naradas dialouge with Sanat Kumaras. आस्ते कृतयुगे विप्रो धर्मकर्मविशारदः || सोमदत्त इति ख्यातो नाम्ना धर्मपरायणः | Commented Sep 12, 2017 at 4:05

Sadhguru in many of his Satsangs told Adiyogi IS Dakshinamurthy He explained hat since Adiyogi sat facing South in Himalayas, people called him Dakshinamurthy.

The Devon ke Dev Maha dev tv series showing Shiva as Adiyogi ( Thats how Parvati calls him in one of her births ) teaching yoga to Parvati. This tv serial as they claim they have taken references from Shiva Purana.

Also i remember reading in Shivapurana that Shiva is Adiyogi.

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    The question is looking for the story. Also you should cite authentic sources. Tv serials aren't considered authentic source.
    – Pandya
    Commented May 21, 2017 at 3:01

enter image description here

Yes what Sadhguru says is true. He is talking about Dakshinamurthy version of Shiva. Many Yogic traditions such as Babaji parampara ,Nath sampradaya , Aghoris and those who follow Dakshinamurthy with yogic perspective consider him as Adinath or Adiyogi.Its interesting how Jain's call their first Tirthankar as "Adinath".What's even more interesting is his name. Which is "Rishabnath" (Lord of bull). Take whatever yogic sampradaya/parampara. Their origin touches Adiyogi/Adinath Shiva. The story of Shiva being Adiyogi is also present on Shiva Rahasya Puran which is based on his teachings as Adiyogi. The text is based on Yoga. Do read it. It contains deepest secrets . The contents from that book is first yoga teachings ever it seems. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shivarahasya_Purana

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    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 18:33

“He is Yoga and the Abode/Lord of Yoga” ~ Mahabharatam Drona Parva 203

So, as the very abode of Yoga and being the very YOGA himself, he is Adi Yogi, "The first yogi" who is one with creation.

Let's go further back into the Vedas:

He is the one who brought forth the Seven Sages (saptarśi) as the Seven Gems RV6.74.1

As he was the foremost, they placed him on 'Dakshina' and so-called him Dakshina Murthi ~SU4.21.

Many interpret the word dakshina as only “South”. In Sanskrit, dahkshina means “to be on the right side” or “correct/highest position”; another meaning is “that which is linked through Yajñá (sacrificial process)”. Hence, the word Pra:dakshina, meaning to circle around the deity towards our right, signifies the stature of the deity. Since He (Śiva) is medha-patim – “the resort of Yajñá/sacrifice” RV1.43 TS1.3.14 – and is seated at the top (pinnacle) of the Himalayan mountains with the daughter of the mountains, He overlooks everything below. Hence the title Dakshina Murthi. But is it that simple? How can one seek the identity and the source of Dakshina facing Rudra? One can seek Svetasvatara Upaniṣhad 4.21, which says “हे रुद्र यत् ते दक्षिणं मुखं तेन मां नित्यं पाहि॥”; here “Dakshina Mukham” does not mean facing South, it denotes the auspicious side of Him – with which He always protects. The term Highest Position does not mean just North or limited to one specific direction, because He is “dishām ca pataye” and “Pathīnāṃ-Pataye” TS4.5.2,VS16.17 – meaning the abode/lord of all celestial quarters (directions). Hence the famous title, digambara (Digeva:ambaram:asya) – meaning the one who is clad/clothed with space and all directions. Atharva Veda 11.2.14-16 says to Bhava-Rudra, “नमो यतमस्यां दिशीतः” – meaning, “our salutations to you in whatever directions you are” – and it continues by saying, “salutations to you while coming or going, while seated or standing, and while day or night”. This concept gave rise to the title Cidamabara, meaning the one clad with the very consciousness (cit), hence the Chidambaram Nataraja temple in Tamil Nadu, India. Various Rishis scattered in various direction from the Land of Bharath and many Kshetras emerged in their Honor like The Sri Ananthavalli sametha Agastheeswarar Malai kovil temple which hold the Linga established by Rishi Agasthya in Chennai.

Rishi Kapila established Linga and that kshetra is called Kapileshwar Teertham in Tirupati Andhra Pradesh.

So those who traversed the land of Bharat will witness various Kshetras developed by various Rishis in honor of Lord Shiva and established Lingas.

In the Sanatana Culture, the names are derivations of Actions and Attributes. Rather than calling them names they are mostly adjectives and praises that soon become titles or acclamation. For example, the title Rudra is an acclamation of the tendencies of being ferocious. The same Rudra is Siva at times, hence they started calling him by a gentler title 'Siva'. So let's cover a few examples.

Since He had no name and came from the North (Mūjavant), and dwelled in mountains, they called him Girisha. And they called his abode in the mountains as Kailash ~RVB33 as this is where all the Devas dwell being delighted in his presence. He then married the daughter of the mountains who was called Parvati, meaning Parvata Raja Putri or Himavati. Kenopanishad says “Uma daughter of Himavat” they called him Umapathi ~TA10.22.40.22 .

All beings (bhootas) flocked around him, including pious, nefarious, and animals, especially snakes as they have unique chemistry with those in a meditative state, so they called him Paśūpati/Satpati/Bhootapati TS4.5.2, RV2.33.12, AV11.2.1 so as an overlord of all beings they called him Isha. Those who were brave and courageous took a step towards him and so He became the leader of the brave RV10.92.9.

He was independent and sovereign they called Svatantra, Svadhanva, and Svatava RV1.166.2 (Sva = sovereign).

Since he was the supreme overload/authority they called him Isha. So together he was titled Isha + Sva = Ishvar.

In him, they saw Mahat = the great principle, so they called him Maha + Isha + Svara = Mahesvara.

In him they saw Vishvam, they called him Vishveswara.

In him, they saw everything (Sarva) so they called him Sarveshwara ~CKA2.100.

They saw the highest Divinity in him so they called him Mahadeva ~SB6.3.

They realized he was foremost and pure so they called him Sriṣṭhaḥ. ~RV

In this way, the titles go on. Similarly, the Nath traditions called him Adi-Nath. Devi being the first to start a family they called her Adi-Kutumbhini.

In this way many traditions emerged from Vedic Rudra. There is also the Pashipati clans. From Vrātyas RV3.26,5.53,AV15, came many nomadic sages or wanderers that gave raise to Aghora sects.


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