Of the seven Saptharishis obligated with a mission to spread the spiritual process to the world, one traveled south of Himalayas into the southern peninsula and deeply impacted the spiritual life of the region.
Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
Folklore describes him as a person of rather small & stout stature, who lived an extraordinary life and is believed to have lived an incredible span of 4000 years, while some say it was only about 400 years. Well, no one knows the exact count but looking at the travel that he has done on foot, he definitely would have lived quite long by any standards and accomplished what would take even the most capable men several lifetimes to do.
A quick journey in the Deccan plateau which is south of the Vindhyanchal mountain ranges, would reveal many interesting legends & folklores by people of small villages and towns referring to places and abodes where Agastya lived, meditated, bathed, ate, preached etc and all these places are spread out all over the Deccan plateau which is more than 7 to 8 states in the present times. Agastya did not spare a single human habitation in his times. He touched every human habitation and made sure spiritual process became a part of life and culture – not as a teaching, not as a philosophy, not as a religion but as a way of life.
Even today his work is manifested in our daily life. Unknowingly we are doing a little bit of yoga that Agastya taught us. He taught us different asanas for different aspects of life, like how to sit, if we have to eat and how do we sit differently if we have to learn, how to sleep, how to wake, how to bathe, how to give, how to receive – for everything an asana and a mudra was created by him so that the spiritual process is thoroughly enmeshed in normal life. He wove spiritual possibility into life seamlessly and his work is still visible in our culture in so many ways.
Today in spite of eight to ten generations or 500 years of absolute poverty we can still feel that there is a certain sense of balance, sense of contentment, joy & humanity in people, which is a rare sighting anywhere else on this planet. With such a prolonged period of subjugation and poverty it is an achievement that the people of this culture never took up xenophobia as the mainstream response. This is an uncelebrated phenomenon and is something that is attributed to what Agastya left behind as his legacy.
Agastya is credited with having created a complete system of mysticism and its many disciplines called as Siddha, which explores in depth both spirit and matter. In general, we consider Ayurveda and Siddha as all the same and categorize it as an Indian Origin medicine. While Ayurveda is positioned as a system of holistic wellbeing, Siddha is primarily a school of mysticism, of which health and wellbeing is just one by-product. Unfortunately, Siddha has been reduced to a mere healing system backed by academic learning, though it has much deeper dimensions to it. One of the fundamental philosophies of the Siddhars is that each individual can and must experience Shiva within himself and all wellbeing flows from this experience. So the emphasis is not on rituals, or scriptures but meditation and experience.
Agastya is also considered as one of the foremost exponents of the martial art Kalaripayattu, the mother of most of the oriental martial art forms. Unlike other martial arts, which are mostly about training the human body and mind to defend oneself and defeat an opponent, Kalaripayattu is taught as a complete science with instruction on human anatomy, physiology and how to treat the same. It is also unique in the way it is taught & practiced. Unlike other martial art forms, Kalari teaches how to disable an opponent through prayogam and the revival of the person disabled through upasamanam. Some of the techniques of Kalari are so subtle and closely borders spiritual processes that spiritual masters have found the practice Kalari as a good preparation of the body and mind to experience higher states of consciousness.
Agastya is also considered as one of the foremost exponents of the martial art Kalaripayattu. Well if you have heard about Karate & Kungfu but have no idea of what Kalaripayattu is, then you would be surprised to note that most of the oriental martial art forms have orginated only from Kalaripayattu . Unlike other martial arts, which are mostly about training the human body and mind to defend and defeat an opponent, Kalaripayattu is taught as a complete science with instruction on human anatomy, physiology and how to treat the same. It is also unique in the way it is taught & practiced unlike other martial art forms Kalari teaches how disable an opponent which called prayogam, and the revival of the person disabled through prayogam called as upasamanam . Some of the techniques of Kalari are so subtle and closely borders spiritual processes that spiritual masters have found the practice Kalari as a good preparation of the body and mind to experience higher states of consciousness.
The above-mentioned facts gives us the credence to the possibility that Agastya lived an extraordinarily & a long life, in almost every village in South India you commonly come across places where people believe Agastya visited, or lived or meditated, or consecrated a deity. His mission to take spirituality to all the corners of the world, made him almost omnipresent in the Southern India & so Agastya might be lost in the ages but still found today in our culture.