Yoga Sutra of Patanjali
During Cycle #1 we will start to study chapter 2 of Patanjali Yoga Sutras.
Below an introduction.
Patanjali is an Indian Sage who lived in the 4th century BCE. He wrote Yoga Sutra which deals with Raja yoga of eight limbs otherwise known as Ashtanga Yoga. Sutra means thread, hence Yoga Sutra is a collection of yoga aphorisms. In the ancient days of Vedas and Upanishads when books did not exist, the texts were memorized and orally transferred from generation to generation in the form of aphorisms or maxims in a summarized form. Yoga Sutra is one such text and the name itself shows its antiquity. Veda Vyasa wrote a commentary on Yoga Sutra. In Tamil tradition, Sage Patanjali is known as a Siddha among the eighteen Siddhas.
In the words of Sri Osho “Patanjali is rare. He is an enlightened person like Buddha, like Krishna, like Christ, like Mahavira, Mohammed, Zarathustra, but he is different in one way. Buddha, Krishna, Mahavira, Zarathustra, Mohammed no one has a scientific attitude. They are great founders of religions. They have changed the whole pattern of the human mind and its structure, but their approach is not scientific.”
He continues “Patanjali is like an Einstein in the word of Buddhas. He is a phenomenon. He has the same attitude, the same approach of a rigorous scientific mind. He is not a poet; Krishna is a poet. He is not a moralist; Mahavira is a moralist. He is basically a scientist, thinking in terms of laws. And he has come to deduce absolute laws of human being, the ultimate working structure of the human mind and reality.”
“And if you follow Patanjali, you will come to know that he is as exact as any mathematical formula. Simply do what he says and the result will happen. The result is bound to happen; it is just like two plus two, they become four. It is just like you heat water up to one hundred degrees and it evaporates. No belief is needed: you simply do it and know. It is something to be done and known. That’s why I say there is no comparison. On this earth, never a man has existed like Patanjali.”
“He will not talk in terms of beauty. He will talk in terms of mathematics. He will be exact, and he will give you maxims. Those maxims are just indications of what is to be done. He will not explode into ecstasy; he will not say things that cannot be said; he will not try the impossible. He will just put down the foundation, and if you follow the foundation you will reach the peak which is beyond. He is a rigorous mathematician”
The hundreds of classical commentaries on Yoga Sutra available on Yoga Sutra. Among those the following are worthy of mentioning.
Vyasa Bhasya by Maharishi Veda Vyasa.
Tattvavaisaradhi by Sri Vachaspati Mishra.
Yogavartika by Sri Vijnana Bhikshu.
RajaMarthanda by King Bhojadeva.
Yogasutravritti by Sri Nagesabhatta.
Yogasutrardhachandirka by Sri Ananda.
Yogavrittisamgraha by Sri Umapathi Mishra.
Yogamaniprabha by Sri Ramananda Saraswati.
Yogasutrabhasya by Sri Ramanuja.
Yogapradipika by Sri Baladeva Misra.
Other commentaries by the notable authors are Swami Vivekananda, Sri Osho and Sri Sachitananda. Yoga Sutra is one of most translated yoga scripture into many languages.
Yoga Sutra contains 196 Sutras or aphorisms in four sections namely:
1. Samadhi Pada
2. Sadhana Pada
3. Vibudhi Pada and
4. Kavalya Pada.
Samadhi Pada deals with the Samadhi obtained through meditation.
Sadhana Pada deals with the Practical aspects of yoga.
Vibudhi Pada deals with the achievements through yoga.
Kavilya Pada deals with the liberation.
Chapter 1 of Yoga Sutras
- Chapter 1 of Yoga Sutras: Concentration, Samadhi Pada
- What is Yoga? (1.1-1.4)
- Witnessing and Uncoloring thoughts (1.5-1.11)
- Practice and non-attachment (1.12-1.16)
- Types of concentration (1.17-1.18)
- Efforts and commitment (1.19-1.22)
- Direct route through AUM (1.23-1.29)
- Obstacles and solutions (1.30-1.32)
- Stabilizing and clearing the mind (1.33-1.39)
- Results of stabilizing the mind (1.40-1.51)
Chapter 2 of Yoga Sutras
- Chapter 2 of Yoga Sutras: Practice, Sadhana Pada
- Minimizing gross coloring (2.1-2.9)
- Dealing with subtle thoughts (2.10-2.11)
- Breaking the alliance of karma (2.12-2.25)
- The 8 rungs and discrimination (2.26-2.29)
- Yamas and Niyamas, rungs #1 and 2 of 8 (2.30-2.34)
- Benefits from Yamas and Niyamas (2.35-2.45)
- Asana, rung #3 of 8 (2.46-2.48)
- Pranayama, rung #4 of 8 (2.49-2.53)
- Pratyahara, rung #5 of 8 (2.54-2.55)
Chapter 3 of Yoga Sutras
- Chapter 3 of Yoga Sutras: Progressing, Vibhuti Pada
- Dharana, dhyana, and samadhi, rungs #6-8 of 8 (3.1-3.3)
- Samyama is the finer tool (3.4-3.6)
- Internal is seen to be external (3.7-3.8)
- Witnessing subtle transitions (3.9-3.16)
- Experiences from samyama (3.17-3.37)
- What to do with experiences (3.38)
- More from samyama (3.39-3.49)
- Renunciation and liberation (3.50-3.52)
- Higher discrimination (3.53-3.56)
Chapter 4 of Yoga Sutras
- Chapter 4 of Yoga Sutras: Liberation, Kaivalya Pada
- Means of attaining experience (4.1-4.3)
- Emergence and mastery of mind (4.4-4.6)
- Actions and karma (4.7-4.8)
- Subconscious impressions (4.9-4.12)
- Objects and the three gunas (4.13-4.14)
- Mind perceiving objects (4.15-4.17)
- Illumination of the mind (4.18-4.21)
- Buddhi and liberation (4.22-4.26)
- Breaches in enlightenment (4.27-4.28)
- Perpetual enlightenment (4.29-4.30)
- Knowables become few (4.31)
- Gunas after liberation (4.32-4.34)
I will mention online resources to read, however if you are more af a physical book person, below are some recommendations:
by Taimni in English
by Taimni in Dutch
by Swami Vivekananda
by Swami Satchidadanda I could only find the E-book, but here you can see the title at least…