The classic Sanskrit text of Sage Patanjali's Yoga Sutra is deceptively concise: in fact, it is dense with profound insights into the spiritual path of Kriya Yoga as both the means and end of Self-realization, or merging with the Divine. As such, it has drawn much commentary over the years from sages and scholars alike.
This new treatment of the Yoga Sutra includes key translations of the Sanskrit as well as an original foreword and treasured commentary by acclaimed Yogiraj Shri Lahiri Mahashaya. Paramahamsa Prajnanananda builds upon this substantial foundation with insightful metaphorical explanations that will render the sutras more intelligible to contemporary seekers. The subtle repetitions of this tripartite structure (translations, commentary by Shri Lahiri Mahashaya, and metaphorical explanations by Paramahamsa Prajnanananda) serve to reinforce the complex ideas of each sutra. However, following the example of Shri Lahiri Mahashaya, these new explanations are delivered in accessible and clear language to aid the modern reader's understanding.
As with Sage Patanjali's original text, this set of reflections on the Yoga Sutra is destined to be a cherished companion to countless spiritual seekers as they progress on the path, or pada, towards the ultimate union.
Every living being, out of desires and expectations, gradually accumulates karma, and as a result, experiences birth again and again and enjoys the miseries arising out of old age, death, and the like. Therefore, desire is the seed of the world and even without expecting miseries; it is inevitable that one has to pass through misery when one is enjoying the pleasure of the world. There is variation in pleasure and misery, happiness and unhappiness, due to variation in good and bad deeds. So when one wants to experience pleasure and happiness in the world, one has to also get sorrow and suffering. Without eliminating desire, there is no way to be free from suffering, Real happiness can only be found in peace. How can one attain that peace? There are no other means than the practice of yoga. Through the sincere practice of yoga, the indomitable mind can become peaceful. It brings about not only peace of mind, but it also increases lifespan, physical health, and a rise of infinite knowledge. Who can say how long one is going to live? In some cases, ordinary human beings have lived from 100 to 150 years old, not to mention the long lifespan of yogis, it is a common occurrence. Yet, it is also commonly accepted that death can come even to a baby in the womb or an old man in his eighties. What is the reasonable cause of early death? What are the means to prevent it? Those who are fortunate not to have had sickness in life because of destiny or the mistake of their parents, and those who do not face death accidentally, for them, they themselves are the cause of death. As a result of restlessness arising out of expectation of pleasure, they are engaged in many activities. The result of such actions is an early death. One can easily understand this through a little reflection.
What more can be expected than experiencing peace and happiness in an undisturbed mind? It is not an easy matter to remain undisturbed among the happenings in the world. How can this occur? Where is mastery over the mind? In a tactful way and with the practice of some techniques, this mastery has to be attained. Therefore, there is a need for the practice of yoga.
Body and mind are correlated. In the happiness and comfort of one, there is also happiness and comfort of the other. In the affliction of one, the other is also afflicted. By making the mind still and tranquil, you will find that all the functions of the body come to cessation. On the other hand, by trying to cease the functions of the body, you will find that the mind also becomes peaceful, Through the practice of yoga, it is possible to achieve mastery over the activities of the body and mind, while maintaining life in the body. The Yoga Sutra of Sage Patanjali is precious for those who are following such a path or those who are interested in walking on this path.
Yoga is one of the six traditional schools of philosophy. Bhagavan Patanjali, the author of Mahabhashya (the commentary on Panini), wrote this foundational text on yoga. This tiny text, full of treasures, is divided into four sections: the first section describes the characteristics of yoga and saprapancha samadhi; the second section describes Kriya Yoga and the five external practices, including yama, niyama, and so on, for the awakened mind; the third section includes, along with dhyana, dharana, and samadhi, the three-fold internal practice and its ordinary results such as vibhuti; and in the fourth section there is the supreme state of realization. In a nutshell, the purpose of this text is explain the theory and practice of yoga.
It is extremely difficult for people who do not follow the instruction of the guru preceptor to clearly comprehend the Yoga Sutra of Sage Patanjali. A contemplative reader, reviewing it attentively two to three times, can understand the general meaning of it, but the techniques to practice are described in such words that make it appear to be easy, but which have deep implications; to understand the inner meaning of such words is almost impossible.
In this book, the published explanation of these sutras is received through the grace of a great soul. Due to his language being extremely difficult, at times we have tried to make it simple and elaborated where needed. Therefore, it is the hope that this book will be useful for both the initiated and non-initiated. If there is difficulty in understanding the real meaning of this text, there is no doubt it is my own mistake. I have tried my utmost to make it understandable to the ordinary reader. I will consider my effort fruitful if it is useful for others. The readers should forgive that some common words that can be found in dictionaries are not explained.
Once, Shri Lahiri Mahashaya said, "If the goal is clear, then you have already set your foot on the path of realization." Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life..." (John 14:6) Therefore, it is good to have a clear goal in life. The first section of the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, entitled Samadhi Pada, consists of fifty-one sutras that elaborately discuss the philosophy of yoga and its aim, along with subtle techniques to be practiced. Samadhi means realization. It is the state of balance and harmony. It is also the meaning, the method, and the purpose of yoga. Step by step, Sage Patanjali details the theory and practice of yoga. According to some yogis, Samadhi Pada is written for highly advanced seekers. Those who cultivate non-attachment in their daily lives and follow the footprints of the guru preceptor can reach the goal of samadhi, easily and quickly. For others, Samadhi Pada acts as a good foundation for spiritual evolution, as it gives a clear picture of yoga and its aims.
Bhakti Yoga (16)
Hatha Yoga (70)
Karma Yoga (30)
Kriya Yoga (65)
Kundalini Yoga (46)
Yoga For Children (11)
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