Shiva Samhita-Summary of Authentic and Traditional Yoga Book

Shiva Samhita is one of the oldest books on yoga. Along with Gheranda Samhita and Hatha yoga Pradipika, Shiva Samhita is one of three major traditional books on hatha yoga. The book consists yoga asanas, mudras, bandhas, pranayama, and tantric practices. It is said to be one of the best books on yoga. The author of the Shiva Samhita is unknown. Nobody can with accuracy say who, when authored the famous book. However, many scholars claim that it must have originated around Varanasi. The book is written as a situation where Lord Shiva is explaining the secrets of yoga and many other things to goddess Parvati.

Shiva Samhita consists five chapters. Each chapter is unique to itself and deals with many aspects. Shiva Samhita is known as a yoga book however the book not only talks about yoga but many other things also. Likewise, the first chapter discuss about physiological being, how to achieve liberation, philosophy, and other things. Taking an immediate look first chapter is not what we assume is yoga.

From the second chapter the book takes pace towards the yoga matter. The remaining chapters more or less revolves around yoga and its various aspects. Asaan, tantra, mudras, siddhi, are thoroughly described in the remaining chapters of Shiva Samhita. Furthermore, Shiva Samhita also tells the need of teacher in life, aspects of life and even how to make life whole.

Shiva Samhita Chapter 1

Existence one only

In the first chapter of Shiva Samhita Lord Shiva describes Jnana (Gnosis). According to Lord shiva only Jnana is eternal and omnipresent. Every substance in the universe in Jnana. The variations, elements, and difference in the matter we see in the universe is due to the sense-conditions. If sense-condition were not there everything would be Jnana. When universe was born and nothing was there Jnana was present. Also, when the universe dies and becomes nothing Jnana will be there.

The first chapter goes on like this, Lord shiva describes various things. Ranging from a duty in a simple man’s life to the mysteries in the universe. The necessary things aspects, areas where one need to see, practice, and acknowledge to move further in yoga.

In our world, there are various kinds of people. They have their own ideology, gods they praise, truth they believe and deeds they perform. What is unique about them is each perception is different and unique to others. Based on what they believe to be the truth and real, they commit their karma. Some believe Karma, some are indulged in vairagya. Some believe duty is the highest of the task, some say sacrifice is. Some judge world from the perspective of good and bad, while some do not even know what is good and what is not.

Some wiser than others, are indulged in investigation and say body is temporary but soul is eternal. While, some believe the world we perceive through our senses is only real other are only imagination. All of them is their sense are right or wrong, but nobody is right in the true and completely. According to shiva Samhita, yoga sastra is beyond and the end goal what they all seek, the true and firm doctrine.

Shiva Samhita in the first chapter further explains Karmakanda, Jnanakanda, The spirit, Yoga and maya, Paramhamsa, Evolution, Involution, Jiva with their bodies. They are all the step from the creation of world to creation of them and them gaining knowledge.

Shiva Samhita Chapter 2

In chapter 2 the book talks about nerves, nerve canters and the life within the body of a human being. In this chapter the books moves towards the yoga matters.

The microcosm

The mount meru, located in our body has seven islands. There are rivers, mountains, and fields.

The Nerve centers

Our body is a universe in itself. There are moon, sun, and various other aspects of universal life within us also. They are the moving energy within our body, they are distributed throughout the body. They each have their respective functions and works accordingly. Collectively they make the nerve centers around the body.

The Nerves

The human body consists of 3,500,000 Nadis in total throughout the body while only 14 of them are principle. Among the 14, subhumna is considered the highest by the yoga gurus.

The Pelvic Region

It represents the creative force of the universe and its main objective is creation which it always keeps on doing. The goddess who is respected by all gods, goddess of speech whom speech cannot manifest.

The Abdominal Region

Abdomen is the digester of food. The abdomen has a fire, the fire increases life, gives health, destroys diseases, and gives energy. The fire should be kindled with joy and daily food should be sacrificed to it.

The Jivatma

The Jiva present in your body has the qualities of events and fruit of your karma in previous life. Every one born in this world, is happy or sad due to their own actions and their own.

Chapter 3

On yoga Practice

Prana lives in the heart of the living beings, accompanied by past work, desires and egoism. The prana has no beginning, and is known for many names.

The Guru

Guru is very important part of learning yoga. The knowledge that is acquired through guru is more powerful. A guru is father, mother, friend and even god.

The Adhikari

Shiva Samhita describes Adhikari as the one who is faithful and with has gains complete control over himself. For anything to be successful, even knowledge there needs to be utter faith and trust.

The place

The place is the place for retirement which is very beautiful and pleasant, then should seat in the asana made from Kush to practice pranayama. The body of the beginners should be firm and inflexible, hands joined in supplication and salute gurus on the left side.

The pranayama

By using pranayama, a yogi’s body is purified.There are four stages of pranayama: Arabma Awsta, Ghata Awsta, Parichaya Awsta and Nish Patti Awsta described by Shiva Samhita. Strong appetite, good digestion, courage, handsome figure are the qualities of a yogi.

The things to be renounced

Following things should be renounced by yogis according to Shiva Samhita:
Acid, astringent, pungent substances, salt, mustard, bitter things, much walking, before sunrise bathing, things roasted in oil, theft, killing animals, enmity, pride, duplicity, crookedness, fasting, untruthfulness, thoughts other than moksha, cruelty towards animal, companionship of women, worship of fire, mush talking, unpleasantness of speech and much talking.

The means

The yogi should observe the following things according to Shiva Samhita:
clearified butter, milk, sweet food, camphor, kind words, pleasant monastery, hear discourages on truth, vairagya, sing the name of Vishnu, hear sweet music, have patience, constancy, forgiveness, austerities, purification, modesty, devotion, and service to the guru.

The first stage

The body of the yogi begins to perspire. When it perspires, he should rub it well otherwise the body of the yogi loses dhatu.

The second and third stage

The second stage begins with the trembling of the body. The third stage involving jumping like the frog. When the practice becomes greater, the adept walks in the air.

Vayu siddhi

The yogi who has gained Vayu siddhi can rise in the air and leave the ground, through remaining in padmasana. Vayu siddhi is the technique that destroys the darkness in the world.

Increase in duration

The yogi should be gradually making him able to practice for three gharis. By performing this, according to Shiva Samhita the yogi attains the powers he desired.

Siddhis or perfections

The yogi acquires following siddhi:
Vakya siddhi= Prophecy
Kamachuri= Teleportation
Durashruti= Clairaudience
Sukshma-Dristi= Subtle eyesight
Parakaypravesana= Possessing another person’s body
other powers involve becoming invisible, flying in sky.

The Ghata awastha

Everything in universe is achievable by the sadhu who achieves Ghata(water-jar) by the use of pranayama.

The parichaya

The yogi reaches the parichaya awastha through exercise. When the air leaving the right and left nostril, remains unmoved and remain steady in the ether of the tube Susmna, then it is the parichaya awastha.

The nishpatti

After parichaya through continuous exercise the yogi enters nishpatti stage. Here, having destroyed all seeds of karma which existed from the beginning, the yogi enters immortality

The postures

There are eighty-four postures of various modes, out of them four oughts to be adopted, which are as follows:

  • Siddhasana
  • Padmasana
  • Ugrasana
  • Svastikasana

Chapter 4

Yoni mudra. The sacred drinks of the kalua’s

Shiva Samhita tells that the one who practices yoni mudra, is not polluted by sin either they kill thousand brahmans or inhabitants of the three worlds. By the virtue of the mudra, they are not stained by any sin.

The awakening of kundalini

When the sleeping goddess kundalini is awakened, by the help of guru then all the lotuses and bonds are readily pierced through and through.

Mahamudra, Mahabandha, khechari, Jalandhar,Mulabandha, Viparitkarana, Uddana, Vijarondi and Shaktichalana are the best mudras among the many mudras.

By the mudras, per Shiva Samhita even the most unfortuniate yogis can find true suscess. These ten mudras have no equal nor there shall be. Through the practice of even one of them the person can find siddhi.

Chapter 5


Following are the obstacles which dharma interposes:

  • Ablution
  • Worship of deities
  • Observing the sacred days of the moon
  • Fire sacrifice
  • Vows and penance
  • Fasts
  • Religious observances
  • Silence
  • Ascetic practices
  • Mantras and alms giving
  • Worldwide fame
  • Excavating and endowing of tanks, wells, ponds, convents, and groves
  • Sacrifices, vows of starvation


Four kinds of Yoga in Shiva Samhita:

I)Mantra yoga

Fickle, timid, diseased, not independent, and cruel; those whose characters are bad and those who are weak- know all the above to be mild sadkhas . With significant effort such men succeed in twelve years; them the teacher should know fit for mantra yoga.

II)Laya yoga

Liberal minded, merciful, desirous of virtue, sweet in their speech; who never goes to extreme in any undertaking – these are the middling. These are to be initiated by the teachers in Laya yoga.

III)Hatha yoga

Steady minded, knowing the Laya yoga, independent, full of energy, full of sympathy, forgiving, truthful, courageous, full of faith, engaged always in the practice of yoga- know such men to be adhimatra. They obtain success in the practice of yoga within six years, and ought to be initiated in Hatha-yoga and its branches.

IV)The most ardent- Entitled to all yoga’s

Competent, talented, firm, religious, forgiving, wo keep their endeavor secret, sweet speech, peaceful, worshipers of god and guru, faithful, free from grieve, who are acquainted with the duties of adhimatra and are the practitioner of all kind of yoga – undoubtedly obtain success in three years. They are entitled to be initiated in all kinds of yoga, without any hesitation.

Raj Yoga

Superior aspirants who are in their youth, moderate in their eating habits, in control of their senses, bold knowledgeable, energetic, knowledgeable, charitable etc. perform raj yoga.

Anahad sounds

When the mind of the yogi is exceedingly engaged in sounds, he forgets all external things and is absorbed by the sounds.
The Anahad sounds in order are:
The sound of buzzing bee, flute, harp, ringing bells, thunder.

A secret

There is no posture like Siddhasana, no power like that of Kumbha, no mudra like khechari, and no absorption like that of nada.

The 7 chakras

  • Muladhar chakra
  • Swadhisthan chakra
  • Manipur chakra
  • Anahat chakra
  • Visuddha chakra
  • Ajha chakra
  • The thousand petal lotus

The sacred Triveni

Shiva Samhita tells that between the Ganges and jamuna, flows this Saraswati, by bathing at the junction one attains salivation.

The mystic mount Kailas

Above the lunar sphere, is a brilliant thousand petaled lotus. It is outside the microcosm of the body and is the giver of salvation. Its name is mount Kailash where dwells the great shiva. Who is called Naknla and is without destruction and without increase or decrease.

The raja Dhiraj yoga

Sitting in the svastikasana, in a beautiful monastery, free from all men and animals, having paid respects to his guru let the yogi practice this contemplation.
Knowing through the arguments of Vedanta that the Jiva is independent and self-supported, let him make his mind also self-supported. Undoubtably by this contemplation the highest success is obtained. He who practices this always is the real yogi.