What are the Yoga Sutras and who is Patanjali? At least fifty different English translations of the Sanskrit Yoga Sutras have been completed, standing as a human testament to how such a profound, wise, and inspiring guidebook based on Universal Truth has ashtanga yoga manual pdf the test of time and is still celebrated in variegated, rich, and diverse forms. The following translation and commentary are a result of many years of yoga practice and study, which has profoundly transformed my own personal life by helping me break through boundaries that allowed for a more fulfilling and creative life. Patanjali is not the inventor of yoga, but rather yoga’s most well known systematizer and compiler.
The dates ascribed to the composition of the Yoga Sutras vary widely, but it is fair to say that they were written somewhere between approximately 100 BCE to 300 CE. As any scholar knows there is a large controversy regarding the accuracy of Indian historical dating systems, where events are often moved around to satisfy authoritarian ideology, tradition, conjecture, prejudice, and belief, rather than as an attempt to ascertain historical accuracy. However, we will deconstruct that as an absurd proposition, albeit still most common. For example, it is not uncommon to find an additional sutra after III. 22 to make the total 196 sutras. So what is this ancient yogic path that Patanjali outlines?
So Why Another Translation and Commentary? Most previous translations and commentaries of the Yoga Sutras have been based on traditional beliefs, unexamined assumptions, and precedents set in a different time, cultural, and religious milieu. We will go into depth to support this type of interpretation later. It should be recognized that in Patanjali’s time book knowledge, memorization, and conformity to tradition did not see eye to eye with traditions based on oral transmission and practice. In the ancient mountain tradition, in which Patanjali was a practitioner, Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, and eclectic yogis practiced in the mountains devoid of any religious trappings. Pivotal Keys that Unlock Yoga’s Potential Today, the modern reader is confronted with many “types” of yoga.
The Yoga Sutras represent the oldest written form. In yoga it is the direct experience from practice, which educates our beliefs. Our beliefs must conform to experiential “reality”, not the other way around. Something clicks, a palpable shift occurs, and one experiences harmony, true happiness, and peace. When the mind is empty of such obstruction, it is free to see clearly without fear, attachment, or delusion.
Without a doubt the Yoga Sutras cannot be understood by a non-meditator. For most the word, practice, connotes a future goal. But with vairagya, all that we do has integrity in that the fruit is contained in the path, and the path in the fruit. Just as love, awareness, and happiness can be recognized as ever-presence. HERE we abide in an sustained openness.
The entire universe, including the true nature of mind, as well as all-time and boundless space, since the unfabricated beginningless beginning is the laboratory. In authentic yoga it must be consulted continuously. The param-purusha, if we chose to look for it, is ever-present HERE and NOW. I may be accused of commercializing the Yoga Sutras by making the “Yoga Sutras” accessible to the burgeoning numbers of modern students of yoga, if one likes. Therefore, the Yoga Sutras, in order to be taken to heart, has to be read in the context of one’s own yoga practice experientially.
Otherwise, it will appear as mere dead philosophy. Almost anyone can learn Sanskrit, but that is not sufficient. Here we make the assumption for the moment that the Yoga Sutra is neither a philosophy, a belief system, a religion, nor any other “ism”, rather it is bereft of ideology, dogma, propaganda or attachment to ideas. We will assume that the sutras do not have anything to do with rote memorization of facts nor to mechanical obedience to creed, moral activities, region, nation, race, sex, or pride.