Author: Swami Prabhananda
Publisher: Sri Ramakrishna Math
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788178231082
Patanjali's yoga Sutras are not the original exposition of a philosophy, but a work of compilation and reformulation. References to yoga practices - spiritual disciplines and techniques of meditation which enable a man to achieve unitive knowledge of the Godhead - are to be found, already in the Katha, Svetswvatara, Taittiriya and Maitryani Upanishads, very many centuries earlier. Indeed, the Yoga doctrine may be said to have been handed down from pre-historic times.
What Patanjali did was to restate yoga philosophy and practice for the man of his own period. But what was his period? And who was Patanjali? Hardly anything is known about him. Some authorities believe that there were actually two Patanjalis, one a grammarian and the other the author of the Sutras. Others deny this. As for the date of the Sutras, the guesses of scholars vary widely, ranging from the fourth century BC to the fourth century AD.
The simplest meaning of the word sutra is 'thread'. A sutra is, so to speak, the bare thread of an exposition, the absolute minimum that is necessary to hold it together, unadorned by a single 'bead' of elaboration. Only essential words are used. Often, there is no complete sentence-structure. There was good reason for this method. Sutras were composed at a period when there were no books. The entire work had to be memorized, and so it had to be expressed as tersely as possible. Patganjali Sutra, like all other, were intended to the expanded and explained. The ancient teachers would repeat an aphorism by hear and then proceed to amplify it with their own comments, for the benefit of their pupils.
This English translation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras was originally published by the Vedanta Society. Swami Prabhavananda who has to his credit such lucid expositions as ‘Srimad Bhagavad Gita, the wisdom of God’, ‘Narada’s way of Divine Love’ and the ‘Sermon on the Mount according to Vedanta’ has taken special pains in this book to present the philosophy and practice of Yoga in a non-technical, up-to-date phraseology that can be understood and enjoyed by all enquiring minds. For the benefit of our Indian readers we have added also the text of Patanjali’s Sutras in Devanagari.
Patanjali Yoga Sutras
1. Yoga and its AIMS
2. Yoga and its Practice
Words Explained and Subjects Discussed in the Text