The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali As-It-Is:
A Short History

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The Mountain Yogi Tradition  from which Patanjali Springs

The Spanish poet, Antonio Machado, said:

“Travelers, there is no path, paths are made by walking. You must make the path as you walk.”

What is the authentic yoga tradition? Traditionally yoga comes from Siva, who is also called Maheshvara (the great isvara) or the param-purusa --the superlative all pervading and unlimited implicate being. Siva taught yoga to Shakti, who in turn taught the yogis, munis, and sages (rishis). This oral (or better, trans-verbal) tradition continued unbroken from teacher to disciple up until the time of written language during this kalpa (universal system). Some recluse yogis and munis living in the forests, river beds, and mountains learned how to get the message direct from Shakti and some even directly from Siva. But in all cases the authentic teachings were trans-conceptual and transverbal – not capable of being adequately written down. (See I.9, I.15, I.16, I.17, I.42, I.49, and III.17.

Not far after the beginning of the first millennium CE, when human beings transitioned to become more acclimated to living apart from nature in urban centers, while reclusive spots in nature were becoming more difficult to live, a realized yogi, Patanjali, decided to summarize the yogic teachings in outline form composing it as a compendium utilizing the Sanskrit terminology of his day. Although the practices of yoga predated Patanjali's compilation, the date of the compilation can be dated between 1 BCE to approximately 300 CE by virtue of its proto-tantric and non-dual themes. It is noteworthy that there were Jain, Buddhist, Hindu, and non-sectarian eclectic yogis, who living remotely free from monasteries and academies influenced each other through direct contact.

By composing the oral teachings of yoga in an systematic and written form, Patanjali ran the risk of yoga being misunderstood, copied, memorized, and merely given lip service; i.e., understood merely by word meanings, intellectually, philosophically, conceptually, and hence easily expropriated by academia (which was dominated by samkhya philosophy at the time). Thus, in order to prevent that from happening, Patanjali specifically warned against the errors of philosophical speculation, mere verbal/word understanding, the limitations of conceptual thought, the essentiality of practice (praxis), and the like.

However, the samkhya dualistic academic tradition either was ignorant of yoga practice or recognized the potential threat of the yoga sutras to the well established traditions that it upheld, such as fast dependencies upon written law, scripture, tradition, ritual, ceremony, patriarchy, dependence upon a male hierarchical priesthood/aristocracy, caste system, and numerous other similar trappings that the Brahman (priesthood) class depended upon for its survival. Hence, it can be speculated that they jumped at this opportunity to claim to be the Yoga Sutra’s chief authority and sole interpreter. To that purpose Vyasa wrote the first known commentary on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras somewhere approximating the fourth century CE. Shortly afterwards, hundreds of written scholarly commentaries and philosophical glosses, criticism, and refutations followed, all of which, taking into account and working from Vyasa’s authoritative samkhya interpretative mold. In fact, the commentarial tradition are actually commentaries on Vyasa's interpretation, not what Patanjali actually propounded. There can be no doubt that Vyasa, contradicts Patanjali on numerous occasions (see the commentary section for "The Yoga Sutras As-It-Is".  

Regarding Vyasa, and the subsequent samkhya tradition of interpretation, Georg Feuerstein wrote:

"Whatever the real name`of the author of the Yoga-Bhasya may have been, it is improbable that he was a protagonist of Patanjali's school of Yoga. There is reason to believe that he in fact belonged to a particular Samkhya school. As one may expect, his knowledge of the Yoga system as outlined in the aphorisms is that of an empathetic outsider -- and this appears to be the case with all the other exegetes as well. None of the extant Sanskrit commentaries can be said to be said to be by a proponent of Patanjali's school ...There is always a slight possibility that somewhere in one of the Indian libraries, among literally thousands of hitherto unread manuscripts, there may still be a copy of a Sanskrit commentary which was written by a disciple of Patanjali."

~ Georg Feuerstein, p. 4, "The Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali: A New Translation and Commentary", Inner Traditions, Rochester, VT., 1989.

Hence, a tradition of interpretation of yoga was institutionalized through the viewpoint of what is categorized as the academic or samkhya tradition. This is distinct from the  pre-existing older tradition, which we will call the mountain yogi tradition. It is this latter tradition that will be reconstructed in this translation and commentary.

In time, as India became more urbanized, it became more dependent upon written language, word meaning, grammar, and academies; therein a rich intellectual and academic tradition was fostered by the established order, which was self protective and self perpetuating. On the other hand, the pre-existing mountain yoga tradition remained outside of that urbanized and politicized structures while surviving in remote areas and outside of academia.  Hence, by the time of the Moslem and Christian invasions, “yoga” was already well defined in traditional academia as a philosophical system (within the six darshana system), and any sycophant who was to be crowned as "learned", " wise", or "authoritative" within that system was expected to memorize the “correct” answers given by the standard-bearers of academia.

At that time, Buddhist academic universities as well as Hindu yoga academies or ashrams were blossoming. The mountain Yogi tradition, however, kept their distance, for such word oriented people indoctrinated with belief and dogma, were not considered ripe students to learn transcendental insight and develop their innate natural wisdom, which far exceeds the boundaries of the intellect. There are many stories for example in the Buddhist tradition where scholars had difficulties in becoming true yogis (for example see the stories of Naropa, Virupa, Asanga, or Prahevajra). There are similar stories in the Hindu tradition, e.g., those who were instructed by Shiva, Shakti, illiterate, or uneducated mountain yogis far removed from academia and written texts.

Even today this mountain yogi tradition is still alive, but due to the destruction of rural lifestyles and viable life sustaining habitat; the wars, disputes, and violence in the Tibetan, Nepalese, Chinese, Pakistani, and Kashmiri Himalayan mountain ranges (traditional homes for mountain yogis);  the gross materiality of the modern day Indian; and the widespread propaganda and dependence emanating from a conceptual based urban culture; the oral tradition has become an endangered species to a much greater extent.

Thus the time seems ripe for a written interpretation of the Yoga Sutras for the Western reader, which is based on the original and traditional mountain yogi teachings which is not dependent upon written words, region, race, nationality, or religion; but rather is based on universal and natural law. It is a universal teaching based on the yogis's own deep experience which the practice is designed to evoke experientially. Since the NOW is out of time and always available NOW it is process oriented; i.e., the practitioner opens their inner eye progressively as one practices, hence revealing the depth of reality before one's very eyes.

It is not based on negation nor repression, and thus, is not nature negative. Rather the practitioner receives its teachings naturally in harmony with shakti. Hence, it is not life negative nor top heavy, but heart wise; and which instead of suppressing the heart through functions of intellect and will (ego), the practitioner is pointed toward the resolution of such a futile dualistic confusion, where eventually the heart and mind are placed in harmony, in a paradigm in which they do not conflict but are synchronized and united as one process. In that context it is not a paradox to say that one is fully engaged and unattached top the fruits of one's actions simultaneously.      

This is the humble goal of such a translation of a profound wisdom teaching. It is not based upon the snare that Vyasa and samkhya has set, nor is it based on etymology, philology,or grammar; nor any of man's inventions; nor on chanting the words as sacred sounds, but rather is based on Patanjali’s own profound realization (and that of the mountain yogi tradition) which he tried to point toward as practice oriented yoga (sadhana), not through the medium of words, concepts, or speculation. That of course means coming from the wisdom and grace of the pre-existing Mountain Yoga Tradition which insist that yoga is understood by practice.

Chanting the Sutras as distinct from the Etymological, philological, Epistemological, or Experiential Approaches

To add historical context to this debate, it must be mentioned that at the time of the the composition of the Yoga Sutras, there was an outstanding debate going on between the traditional Brahman priesthood, who believed that the meaning of the Vedas could only be absorbed and understood energetically through repeating its sacred sounds as distinct from the view of the grammarians and etymologists who believed that the sacred texts (and later the Yoga Sutras) could only be understood through grammatical analysis. Such a latter conclusion found favor with the samkhya philosophers who depended upon  grammar to a great extent.

Preceding the time of Patanjali the yogi, there lived another Patanjali, who was a grammarian. Hence, many etymologists mistakenly took the words of Patanjali the grammarian and mixed them with what Patanjali, the yogi, said in the Yoga Sutras, hence justifying their belief that Yoga was to be understood grammatically, and was therefore under the authority of the grammarians and intellectuals. Because of the need for synthesis between the grammarians and Brahman priesthood, both the grammatical meanings and the phonetic energetic meanings were advocated, although some extremists asserted that the Yoga Sutras needed only to be recited and chanted phonetically and energetically for their true meaning to be imbibed directly and fully.

What would happen if we rejected the grammarian claim that Patanjali, the yogi, was Patanjali the grammarian? Indeed it seems odd that some one belonging to the mountain yogi tradition would be a grammarian lost in technical linguistic analysis, especially since the Yoga Sutras primarily taught dhyana, nirvikalpa, and going beyond words (sabda) and hence concepts with no mention of the virtues of grammatical or word analysis, but rather quite the opposite (see sutras I.7, I.9, I.42, I.47-49 for example). Similarly if Patanjali the yogi  intended that the Yoga Sutras should be understood by chanting them, he would have said it. There is no such decree or suggestion of that in the Yoga Sutras. So both assertions appear spurious at best (transmission via grammar and/or transmission via chanting).  So what if we reject both propositions to be irrelevant as applied to the mountain yogi tradition? Neither is the way Yoga as taught by Patanjali is practiced by yogis. In short, in order to teach and transmit the message of this yoga, one has to be at the least its practitioner. For example, in order to teach advanced violin one must have practiced for many years. It would suffice for a harmonica player to teach violin.

Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras suggests many possible practices (sadhana) to practice which brings about results, none of which are suggestions to speculate, analyze, perform etymological analysis, nor chanting the yoga sutras (except perhaps indirectly, chanting the pranava -- the word Om). In short if we take Patanjali as a yogi in the mountain yogi tradition, the Yoga Sutras will open up to the reader as a guidebook/cookbook on yoga practices. If on the other hand the reader buys into the belief that the Yoga Sutras is about epistemology, philosophy, and/or sacred language, then the practical and very simple practical meaning of the Yoga Sutras will be lost. It will remain less than useless. That is not how the yogic knowledge as taught by Patanjali is transmitted.

Over many years controversies have developed around how to "interpret" the Yoga Sutras,. Perhaps the best is to have Patanjali speak for himself. Sutra does not mean terse and in need of lengthy exposition/elaboration. It means thread and the yoga sutras is a cloth of great integrity – coherent and complete in itself needing no outside authority to explain it to us, only practice.

The Integrity of the Evolution of Yoga

If we are to rightly understand with integrity, "yoga", in terms of evolution, then one must remain true to the purpose of yoga. and yogic values. In short the technology, processes, and practices of the means of yoga will necessarily change in time, place, and changing conditions, but the values, principles, and goal of yoga remains the same, unless the yoga becomes perverted, the word made meaningless, or it becomes hi-jacked and co opted. Yoga then is a process of integration or joining together what has become separate, fragmented, and disparate parts of "Self" to realize the whole. As such it is the process of moving from corruption into a profound Integrity -- moving from the noise of stress and discordance into the sublime symphony where all obstructions and blockages have dissolved (citta-vrtti nirodha). The point is that it is a process oriented practice, rather than a goal oriented practice. The practitioner moves into alignment from being present and then deepening that experience while simultaneously experiencing sacred presence.

To reiterate when we refer to Patanjali's yoga. it does not mean that Patanjali invented yoga, rather it refers to the system of Yoga which Sri Patanjali outlined in his compendium which is now widely known as the Yoga Sutras. This type of yoga is generally called Raj Yoga as compared to bhakti yoga, karma yoga, jnana yoga, hatha yoga, tantra yoga, and laya yoga, etc.

Although an astute observer may be able to discern elements of all the different yoga systems within the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali's system as Raj Yoga, stresses meditation (dhyana) to be the main "practice" in which to attain samadhi (integration) and kaivalyam (unconditional liberation). Leading to that end Patanjali outlines hundreds of practices of which astanga yoga is but one.

In yoga what is to be focused upon is the transconceptual realization/experience of samadhi, not the mastery of the technique by the ego (the latter a common misunderstanding by the egoic dominated mind).

What has evolved over time has been the refinement of the techniques. processes, and practices of yoga suitable to specific times, places, conditions, and constitutional types (abilities) of the practitioner. In short these practices were not the result of any one master, master race, god, or superhuman being who taught them all at once as a finished system, albeit it is generally agreed that Siva (as the all knowing shining light of primordial consciousness) is the father and progenitor of yoga, the form these teachings take shift and morph according to evolution (shakti's rasa). It was the singular genius attributed to ancient and medieval India which gave birth to all these evolving forms of yoga practices.

From the Isa Upanishad

"Poornam-adah, poornam-idam, poor-nath poornam-udachyate. Poor-nasya poornam-adaya, poornam-eva-va-sishyate."

That is full, whole, and complete; this is full, whole and complete. The full, whole and complete comes out of the full, whole and complete. Taking the full, whole, and complete, from the full, whole and complete, the full, whole and complete, itself remains.

Hatha, Tantra, and Raj Yoga

The Tantric age in India began shortly after Patanjali wrote the Yoga Sutras. Some say it had already begun but remained secret and unrecognized by non-seekers. What however can be confirmed through extant evidence is that by the fifth century CE, hatha and tantra yoga had developed to a sophisticated extent. This is clearly evidenced by the teachings of Sri Matsyendranath (Luipa), King Indra Bhuti, Tilopa, Naropa, Vairocana, Sri Simha, Manjushrimitra, Sri Goraknath, and many others. In this hatha yoga tradition Patanjali's teachings were extended into a more sophisticated form of asana, pranayama, pratyhara, and dharana (visualization) practices while for the most part maintaining the basic Yoga Sutra specially in the Nath tradition which followed the teachings of Sri Goraknath and Sri Matsyendranath.

This medieval Indo-Tibetan era includes a huge corpus of hatha yoga asana and pranayama texts brought up from India into Tibet while some survived in India even to this day despite the Moghul persecutions. For example in the surviving Nath tradition there are sophisticated practices given for asana, pranayama pratyhara, and dharanas. Despite some uninformed "new age" claims to the contrary hatha yoga was already a sophisticated practice (including hundreds of asana practices) dating back at least 1400 years ago. The proof is in the surviving Tibetan texts whose teachings which came up from India.

In India itself some mountain yogi hatha yoga teachings have survived the travails of time including the works of Sri Goraknath (Goraksa) who basically outlined Patanjali's system and extended the practices of asana, pranayama, pratyhara, and dharana. Along these lines the Goraksa Padhatti, Goraksa Sataka, Siva Samhita, Gherand Samhita, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and others reflected this evolution. The hatha yoga teachings which went to Tibet was also very similar such as evidenced by the practices of the Six Yogas of Naropa which also included over 100 asanas, sophisticated pranayama, pratyhara, and dharana in its original form.

After the Moghul invasions from the West, India in general was made to become ashamed of "spiritual" teachings that included the body, sexuality, and nature (hatha yoga, shaktism, and tantra) and especially any practice which was not theistic (which was condemned as evil by the Moghul rulers) hence tantra, non-theistic hatha yoga, and Buddhism were demonized and destroyed. One result was the emergent erotic form of bhaktism (albeit maintaining some basic tantric teachings in symbolic form). Instead of recovering from the repressions of the Moghul age, things went from bad to worse with the European invasions, Portuguese, French, and British which also imposed the superiority of "other worldly" anti-nature religious dogma. The result was shame and a condemnation of hatha and tantra yoga in India as apologetic and anti-nature factions, theistic, and/or dry intellectual factions of Indian philosophy prospered by condemning nature positive and body positive spiritual practices. Abandoning natural law (Santana Dharma) India abandoned its own genius and source of inspiration (excuse the generalization). Although India reeled under these invasions, there is evidence that it is now recovering its roots and creative genius., a genius which in Medieval times surpassed the culture of Europe and China in manifold ways. In short inspiration and genius does not come from people, books, religion, manmade systems, language, or other compounded objects, rather it comes from THAT which reflects natural and eternal law -- that which is in harmony with the Reality -- Sanatana Dharma.

Because the modern day Western Mind is less mired in manmade tradition and human pride (it has less cultural pride as baggage); it is showing signs of greater openness and flexibility in receiving the essence teachings of Raj and Hatha Yoga.

Granted Patanjali only gives three sutras to asana practice (II.46-48), six sutras to pranayama and breathing (I. 31, I.34, II.49-52, and two to pratyhara ( ), it is difficult to say with certainty that he meant them to be used for anything other than as preparation dhyana (as a silent sitting meditation practice) and that they were yet to become elaborated in the yoga tradition in which he practiced. What can be said with certainty is that these practices became refined greatly within a few hundred years after Patanjali. If hatha yoga practices are used to supplement raj yoga, or if (according to Sri Goraknath) Hatha yoga incorporates raj yoga and extends it, such a debate seems to be one of egoic ownership, but not pertinent. What might interest the modern reader is how to utilize these practices in order to live a life of integrity, to experience samadhi in All Our Relations, and to acknowledge and embody that integrity in and as All Our Relations. It is this limitless and timeless all encompassing Great Integrity, which is the subject of yoga, and which yogis naturally reflect.

Sanatana Dharma

Sanatana Dharma can be a large topic. Sanatana is best translated as eternal, timeless, or original while dharma means natural law (untouched by man's conceptual frameworks). It can be translated as Natural Eternal Law or Unconditioned primordial natural law unaltered or distorted by bias or ignorance. Beyond the limitations of time and place, in it remains the entire history of the evolution of the cosmos -- all time, space, and dimensions. It is entirely uncompounded and uncontrived -- natural and the only all encompassing "unthing" that could be said to be entirely self existing as-it-is.

When a human being has aligned up their physical body, energy body, mind, emotions, and transcognitive (non-dual) awareness to be in resonance with santana dharma, a deep spiritual shift is experienced -- one experiences self confidence and`embodies eternal dharma -- the yogi becomes a dharmi and manifests that spontaneously and naturally. Such is called sahaj samadhi by the learned. There one's will has merged completely with universal will and what is expressed is none other than dharma, moral courage, and integrity. Here there is no need to discuss moral, enthusiasm, passion, or compassion as all boundaries have become pierced and broken asunder.

As an all inclusive reality Sanatana Dharma is not dependent upon artifice or even the human species in order to exist let alone any one of man's religions. Rather it existed from before the very beginning and never ends, yet it is clothed in creation/evolution when we learn to see with naked awareness. It can be called dharma -- the true nature of Reality. Philosophers can fill books "about" it, but one thing is for sure it is beyond ownership of any one person, group, religion, nationality, province, cult, or guardian race, albeit many have claimed exclusive ownership. It can not be grasped by the human intellect, yet it can be intimately experienced.

Yoga, being based on universal timeless principles, thus is not a religion or belief system. Although it evolved from Indian soil, it is designed to have the yogi experience a universal transpersonal profound reality directly and consciously - where pure being and pure consciousness meet in pure bliss (Sat-Chit-Ananda) as the realization of our true nature, the Great Integrity. Anything short of that, falls short of authentic yoga.

Vasudev Kutumbhkam, meaning, The Universe is One Family. 

Here we will allow Patanjali to speak to this subject himself, dharma-megha as the rain cloud of dharma (sutra IV.29) and rtam-bhara tatra prajna (sutra I.48) being precursors to both Samadhi and Kaivalya, the culmination of yoga. This is what Sri Patanjali has to say:

Sutra I. 47 Nirvicara-vaisharadye'dhyatma-prasadah

Upon reaching that samadhi state of direct experience devoid even of the most subtle thought processes or reflection on a separate object (nirvicara samadhi arises); i.e., when the restlessness of the mind is completely satisfied, quieted, and rested, and still -- when the mental faculties are stilled entirely in the deep nourishing peace and clarity of grace (prasadah), a very clear and sweet lucidity and uninterrupted natural transparency (vaisharadya) is realized -- the authentic spiritual light emanating from the Supreme Source dawns which is none other than our authentic transpersonal and non-dual self (adhyatma).


Sutra I. 48 Rtambhara tatra prajna

Then Supreme Truth Bearing (rtam-bhara) Inner Wisdom (prajna) self-arises, dawns and prevails.


Sutra I.49 Shrutanumana-prajnabhyam anya-vishaya visesa-arthatvat

This innate intuitive wisdom (prajnabhyam) must be differentiated (anya) from the mere objective forms of knowledge based on anumana (inference, deduction, logic) and shruti (scriptures, belief, faith, external or objective authoritative sources of knowledge) [no matter how "seemingly" authoritative], which is always less reliable and more coarse than this very special (visaya) intrinsic wisdom (prajnabhyam) which in turn stems from direct truth bearing wisdom (rtam-bhara), which is based on inner direct spiritual experience and knowledge gleaned from practice.


Sutra I. 50 Taj-jah samskaro'nya-samskara-pratibandhi

From the psychic signature (samskara) born from (taj-jah) [the inner self realization of the Age-old Supreme Truth Bearing Wisdom (rtam-bhara prajna)], all further samskaric seeds are annulled (pratibandhi).


Sutra I. 51 Tasyapi nirodhe sarva-nirodhan nir-bijah samadhih

Upon the final dissolution, cessation, and removal of all samskaras (past conditioned latent imprints) thus Seedless Samadhi (Nirbija Samadhi) spontaneously co-arises.


IV Sutra 28 hanam esam klesavad uktam

Likewise those samskaras which create kleshas (esham) can also be eradicated (hanam) by the same previously mentioned (uktam) remediation procedures that were used for liberating the old dysfunctional mental habits (vasanas) mentioned above.


IV Sutra 29 prasankhyane 'py akusidasya sarvatha viveka-khyater dharma-meghah samadhih

Thus free from selfish motivation (akusidasya) while abiding steadily (sarvatha) in self luminous discriminatory awareness (viveka-khyater) the rain-cloud of natural law (dharma-megha) is accumulated (prasankhyane) and absorbed (samadhih).


IV Sutra 30 tatah klesha-karma-nivrttih

In this way (tatah) the waves of karma and klesha are completely reversed and cease (nivrttih)


IV Sutra 31 tada sarva-avarana-mala-apetasya jnanasya-anantyaj-jneyam alpam

Then (tada) all veils (sarva-avarana) and impurities (mala) are removed (apetasya) so that the knowledge of infinite mind (jnanasya-anantyaj-jneyam) is revealed, which leaves little more (alpam) to be disclosed.


"Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking. By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind one sees the path that never will be trod again. Wanderer, there is no road-- Only wakes upon the sea."

Caminante, son tus huellas el camino, y nada más; caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar. Al andar se hace camino, y al volver la vista atrás se ve la senda que nunca se ha de volver a pisar. Caminante, no hay camino, sino estelas en la mar.

Antonio Machado y Ruíz (July 26, 1875 – February 22, 1939)   


"Wanderer, the only way
is your footsteps, there is no other.
Wanderer, there is no way,
you make the way as you go.
As you go, you make the way
and stopping to look behind,
you see the path that your feet
will never travel again.
Wanderer, there is no way—
only foam trails in the sea."

Translation of the YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI in four chapters (padas) with commentary:

Chap. I.     Samadhi Pada - Absorption, Mergence, Linking, Getting in Touch, Union through realizing Harmony, Interconnectedness, Integrity, and Indigenous Belongingness -- the Reality of ALL OUR RELATIONS

Chap. II.   Sadhana Pada - Practice, Processes, Methods, and Technique

Chap. III. Vibhuti Pada - Proficiency, Progress, Fruition, Success, and Ability

Chap. IV.   Kaivalya Pada - Complete, Unconditional, and Absolute Liberation

Related Book List:

All books by Swami Sivananda, Swami Venkatesananda and Swami Rama.

"The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali with Commentary by Swami Venkatesananda", 389 pp. This book with commentary can be obtained at or at the Divine Life Bookstore of Maryland. In India it can be obtained at Divine Life Society, India, 1998, 389 pp. This is a most excellent insightful book by a great being who was educated in the oral tradition, practiced yoga diligently, mastered Sanskrit, and lived and taught in both the East and the West having penetrated the Western psyche. The translation is also found (without commentaries) on the web at for download and also is available in a pocket edition (translation without commentary) as "Enlightened Living" by Swami Venkatesananda published by Anahata Press (Richard Miller) .

"Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (Samadhi-Pada): Volume I", Pandit Usharbudh Arya (Swami Veda Bharati), Himalayan Institute Press; ISBN: 0893890928; (June 1986) Honesdale, PA. 510 pp. (Pandit Usharbudh Arya was later renamed, Swami Veda Bharati, by Swami Rama.) This is a translation and commentary of Pada One only and again it addresses in great detail Vyasa's commentary of Pada One.)

"Yoga Sutras of Patanjali with the exposition of Vyasa: Translation and Commentary, Volume II: Sadhana Pada, Swami Veda Bharati, Motilal Benarsidass, Delhi, 2001. 861 pp. (This is an in-depth translation and commentary of Pada Two spending more time on Vyasa's commentary then on Patanjali. Swami Veda Bharati exercises impeccable scholarship and intellectual ability without losing yogic insight -- a very rare and welcome combination also by an author who was educated in the oral tradition, practiced diligently, mastered Sanskrit, and taught and lived in both the West as well in India, and has penetrated to a certain degree the complexity of Western conditioning upon the psyche. The book can be obtained via the bookstore at or

"The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali", Christopher Chapple and Yogi Ananda Viraj, Sri Satguru Publications, Delhi, 1990, 133 pp. (An excellent literal translation).

"Kriya Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the Siddhas", Marshall Govindan, Kriya Yoga Publications, 196 Mountain Rd., PO Box 90, Eastman, Quebec, Canada, J0E1P0, 2000. 283 pp. (A refreshing, creative, and insightful translation within the kriya yoga perspective.)

"The Integrity of the Yoga Darsana: A Reconsideration of Classical Yoga", Ian Whicher, Suny Series in Religious Studies, State Univ of New York Press; ISBN: 0791438163; 1998. 426 pp. This is a very excellent and insightful study exercising much integrity of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras (but not a translation) by a Western academician based on a non-dual (advaita) stance.

"Yoga: The Indian Tradition", by Ian Whicher, RoutledgeCurzon; March 2003, ISBN-10: 0700712887 ISBn-13: 978-0700712885

A re-appraisal of Patanjali's Yoga-sutras in the light of the Buddha's teaching, by S. N. Tandon, Vipassana Research Institute, 1995, iSBN-10: 8174140247; ISBN-13: 978-8174140241

"Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali", BKS Iyengar, Aquarian Press, 1993. Although respectfully traditional to a great extent, this translation offers considerable integrity, personal insight, and boldness due to authentic experience.

Tim Miller Introduces Chapter One of the Yoga Sutras (Samadhi Pada). This is an excellent and very insightful MP3 audio production produced by


Table of Contents: The Yoga Sutras As-It-Is

An Introduction to the Yoga Sutras

Patanjali's Yoga Sutras Made Accessible: An Essay Designed to rescue the Yoga Sutras from excess intellectualization/elaboration

An Ashtanga (Eight Limbed) Yoga Meditation Practice

Beloved Yoga Teacher, Sri Dr. G. K. Pungaliya Essay on Patanjali and Jnaneshwar Sri Pungaliya was an ardent student of yoga, and subsequently became a modern master. Here Sri Pungaliya shares his insight on Samkhya, Patanjali, and Sri Jnaneshwar.

Yogiraj Shyamacharan Lahiri's Translation of the Yoga Sutras A more classic but inspired translation by the Grandson of Lahiri Mahasaya. This is very long download in PDF format.

Yoga Sutra Translation by Chester Messenger A refreshing, little known, and sincere work of a life-long meditator.

Links to over 25 Different Web Based English Translations of the Yoga Sutras. at HRIH.NET. Most of these translations are unoriginal and offer little insight. They are mostly an exercise in grammar, semantics, and epistemology.

A Sanskrit to English Annotated Glossary

Professor Whicher's commentary on Prakrti and Purusa

Countering World-Negation: The World Affirming and Integrative Dimension of Classical Yoga by Ian Whicher

Alien Gods: Samkhya Interpretation of Nature (using Brahmacarya as the example)

A Review of S. N. Tandon's. A Re-appraisal of Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutras in the Light of the Buddha’s Teaching by Georg Feuerstein

A Review of Ian Whicher's. The Integrity of the Yoga Darsana: A Reconsideration of Classical Yoga by Georg Feuerstein

Yoga as seen in the Light of Vipassana by S. N. Goenka

Yoga Sutras FAQ

"Is Yoga a Religion": an astute and concise article by Georg Feuerstein

An article entitled "Is Yoga a Religion", by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati 

Yoga is not a Religion, by Shakti Das

Proceed to Chapter One of the Yoga Sutras: Samadhi Pada

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