Today, yoga is "understood" differently depending upon the window through which one is viewing. The two extreme views are that yoga is either a glorified fitness, health, exercise, and beauty system which makes the ego feel good about itself; while the other extreme is that yoga is an ancient religion. According to Patanjali, neither is the case. Hence, these faqs may be helpful to disassemble some of these misconceptions about Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, while elucidating its contents and true intent. In fact, many very bizarre definitions of yoga are commonly offered, many by religious scholars and grammarians, who should know better. "Yoga" does not mean discipline, rather it is union. What is being joined/connected must become obvious. The Yoga Sutra is explanatory in that regard.
Q: The Yoga Sutras are generally classified as raj yoga (meaning the kingly/royal yoga) because it is denoted as the highest form of yoga. How does hatha yoga yoga fit within the scope of the Yoga Sutras?
A: Of course, Raj yoga is generally classified as the yoga of meditation (dhyana). Hatha yoga classically, as taught by Goraknath and Matsyendranath, is Raj Yoga with an added emphasis on utilizing asana, pranayama, pratyhara, bandhas, mudras, visualization, and other advanced concentration techniques as mutually beneficial with dhyana (meditation). It has been adopted by various sects of Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, and Jain. In Nepal, one can still go to temples dedicated to both Matsyendranath (Hindu) and Luipa (Buddhist) under the same roof. The yogis of Medieval India simply took the proto-tantric Yoga Sutras one step further into a full blown tantric context called Hatha Yoga.
Here, hatha does *not* mean body yoga, mechanical yoga, or "forced yoga" as some have speculated; albeit some control-freak schools do exist that believe that forcing and rigidly/mechanically controlling the body and breath will eventually force samadhi. But that emphasis is not prevalent in all schools of hatha yoga. Also it should be noted that Patanjali does not label yoga as "discipline" or control. Rather he does emphasize non-attachment/release (vairagya) and surrender (isvara pranidhana) to the inner teacher (isvara). In the tantric hatha yoga schools, "HA" stands for the sun/pingala nadi (surya) and "THA" stands for the moon/ida nadi (chandra); while yoga synchronizes and unites the two in the central path (sushumna which in turn connects Sat with Cit (root with crown) as a whole. This is not intellectualized, rather it is directly experienced through an authentic hatha yoga practice.
Q. Why is there so much Sanskrit jargon used by English translators and commentators? Is this some secret society or “in-crowd”, where a secret language is used? Why is Sanskrit necessary at all if Yoga is based on universal law?
A: Yes, yoga is a universal practice based on universal principles. It is not dependent upon any one religion, nationality, race, caste, or language. However, at the same time everyone would agree that some spoken language is necessary to communicate meaning in words; albeit the principles and practices in the Yoga Sutras are very deep and profound, yes, beyond words and concepts to express. That is why yoga is based on practice (praxis), not theory. As the practice develops it becomes increasingly more subtle and eventually moving beyond even the most subtle. The Yoga Sutras as a guidebook to yogic practice, however lends itself very nicely to the Sanskrit language, as compared to Western languages. For many of the Sanskrit words, there exists no adequate word for word direct translation. Examples are samadhi, yoga, samyama, dhyana, yama, pratyhara, pranayama, purusa, cit, and many more. Any attempt to substitute these Sanskrit words which represent profound yogic meaning with one or two English words usually causes more confusion, dichotomy, and winds up short changing the student. Likewise if one wanted to learn digital imaging techniques, one would have to be willing to learn new words and ideas. The same goes for geography, anatomy, or automobile mechanics. So too, when beginning yoga from the standpoint of an already overly objectified student. If one is not willing to learn some new words (mastery of Sanskrit is not required), then one will wind up with superficial knowledge. Although an all-English language translation of the Yoga Sutras is possible, it would end up being very wordy, and perhaps superficial and ambiguous.
Q: Since Sanskrit is a magical and phonetic language, is it not necessary to master the correct pronunciation of the sutras as well master Sanskrit in order to access its deepest practices and meanings.
A: No. Although Sanskrit is an especially beautiful phonetic language that lends itself toward expressing spiritual meaning excellently, the meaning of the Yoga Sutras is obtained through effective yogic practice, not through linguistic expertise, nor is it dependent upon the phonetic arrangements. Only two sutras pertain to sound vibration techniques. Rather, Patanjali, himself. did not recommend or teach chanting or mantra per se. Patanjali does recommend many numerous practices; however, none of them being grammar or chanting sacred texts (both of which belong to other Indian schools of thought). If Patanjali had suggested that by chanting the sutras, one would be able to assimilate the teachings of yoga, he would have included that as a yoga practice somewhere in the Yoga Sutras.
Although it is useful to know Sanskrit in order to understand the practices described in the Yoga Sutras since they were originally composed in Sanskrit; it is far more valuable to practice what Patanjali actually teaches (which is neither chanting nor grammar). Without a deep sense of its profound meaning brought about by authentic yogic practice as described in the Yoga Sutras it would be foolish to speculate that anyone could teach the Yoga Sutras through extraneous methods not suggested by Patanjali. Patanjali rather advises that one practice yoga according to the way he suggests of course. The memorization of words and even concepts is not the way to study yoga according to Patanjali. However, it remains unproven that chanting the Yoga Sutras would help one understand the Yoga Sutras, and thence indirectly help them gain proficiency in yoga itself. The Yoga Sutras describe a universal science/art of mind/body. Its application is universal and not limited to any one nation or language system.
In the late Mauryan period of India, there were no printing presses, while most compositions were memorized and transmitted through chanting. That did not mean that the meaning of the compositions were transmitted, but only the words/sounds. Again it would be foolish to imagine that mere rote memorization will be able to transmit the intricacies and deep meaning of the Yoga Sutras, rather it may prove to be a waste of time or worse, a glorified distraction. See sutras I.9 and I.42 (on words). That is basically what Patanjali himself said about words. One who has studied the Yoga Sutras also knows what Patanjali says about concepts (vikalpa) which are built upon words.
However, there does exist an Indian school of thought (sruti parampara) that does suggests that transmission can be achieved by chanting. That may or may not be relevant, but most definitely it is not what Patanjali taught in the Yoga Sutras. I have met many people who can chant the Yoga Sutras with accurate pronunciation, pitch, and metre, but can not explain its meaning, nor do they practice what Patanjali teaches. In short, they are not practitioners of Yoga as defined by Patanjali. The main thing is to know the meaning and intent of the sutras, and then your yogic practice may be helped, rather than mechanically mastering the sound vibrations. Some "believe" that the meaning of the sutras can be transmitted via the exact sounding, but this is not true within the context of the yoga sutras. The yoga sutras are not like mantra. There exist other schools who teach transmission by gazes, yantra, dreams, mantra, etc. That also may be relevant,, or not, but it has no place in Patanjali's yoga system.
However, having said that, this is not to say that chanting the sutras in Sanskrit in a non-mechanical and meaningful way is devoid of any benefit. For example it maybe a method of memorizing the words of a sutra by heart for later recall, and if one understood Sanskrit and was practicing raj yoga, then one could use one's memory instead of a written book as a guide. To repeat, that is effective only if one already understands Sanskrit, has studied the Yoga Sutras meaning as an overall integrity, has actually engaged in yoga practices, and understands the definitive meaning and intent of what they are sounding. In addition, conscious chanting is an excellent exercise for the tongue, mouth, jaw, lips, throat and head chakras and is a form of pranayama, as well as concentration (dharana). In chanting, one may even bring the heart into it. Even better, the belly, the breath, bandhas, pranayama, the entire nervous system, and energy body. Such may be an excellent practice, even though such a practice is not found anywhere in the Yoga Sutras and is not advocated by Patanjali. In short, one must be a yoga practitioner in order to understand Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, but the end is not in understanding a book, but rather the book serves as a guide to realizing the fruit of yoga which is ultimate unconditional liberation.
Q: Is technical mastery of Sanskrit sufficient to understand the Yoga Sutras and/or to become enlightened?
A: According to Sanskrit grammarians (shastries and pandits), knowledge mastery (jnana yoga) comes from mastery of grammar and epistemology. That is a separate branch of yoga. It is not Raj Yoga as discussed by in the Yoga Sutras, itself. The mastery of Sanskrit grammar was not anywhere assumed nor advocated nor was it important in the mountain yogi tradition of cave and forest meditators, which consisted of Patanjali's tradition. In terms of the Yoga Sutras one must take Patanjali as his own authority, in the context of being a representative of the yogic oral tradition, while denying the wild claims of grammarians. The goal of yoga certainly is reached via yogic practices as taught in the Yogic Sutras, most certainly and without question.
To understand the depth of this type of linguistic superiority, insularity, and arrogance, included is a quote from Vyas Houston an American who makes his living teaching Sanskrit:
“The language that long ago established the certainty of freedom was Sanskrit. Like mathematics, Sanskrit is a language of infinite subtlety and functional precision. While the sciences of mathematics, physics, astronomy etc. continue to evolve, as scientists use them as tools to probe deeper into the nature of the universe, Sanskrit has not changed since 500 B.C., when it was meticulously codified by Panini. If the ultimate task of science, as well as the ultimate goal of life, had been to get a man on the moon, there would have been no need for science and mathematics to develop any further. It could have stopped right there. Sanskrit stopped being further refined precisely because it had become the sufficient instrument to facilitate human liberation, the ultimate purpose of human life. There simply was no need to go further. The enlightenment of the Buddha at exactly the same time in history could be viewed as an auspicious confirmation of the culmination of millennia of yogic research.”
from his article at http://www.americansanskrit.com/read/a_sutras.php
It is generally agreed that Sanskrit has progressively undergone changes from its own original oral beginnings up until the time of Panini (late fifth century BCE). Here it may be note worthy to mention the disappearance of the subjunctive case due to Panini’s (the final authority on Sanskrit grammar rules) influence; however the realization of Nirbija Samadhi (the crown jewel of yoga) has nothing to do with grammar or epistemology.
Q: In the commentary to "the Yoga Sutras As-It-Is", why are there so many Buddhist references?
A: Patanjali lived in a predominately Buddhist area of Northern India in an era that was predominately Buddhist. Buddha, in fact, was a practitioner of yoga; while Buddhism was well known to Patanjali. In fact, Buddhist thought greatly affected Patanjali's time and place and served as an evolution from reductionist samkhya philosophy. Although some Hindu orthodox commentators might ignore that fact, and hence have chosen to interpret Patanjali's Yoga Sutras within the context of Hindu parochialism (via samkhya dialectics) as an arbitrary choice, the Buddhist parallels in the Yoga Sutras cannot be successfully denied.
Rather, Patanjali does not teach religion, idol worship, prayer, the caste system, prayer, nor samkhya; but rather it is not difficult to glean a universal teaching in the Yoga Sutras. The closest thing that the Yoga Sutras may come to being identified as Hinduism is that it mentions the word, isvara. Thus, one must ask is isvara a Hindu god or is the word indicative of the inner master/inner teacher, since "Ish" means inner or intimate and "Svara" is master. Similarly, one could take vara, as grace, hence a literal translation would be inner or innate grace. Patanjali answers this question himself by defining isvara in Sutra I.26 as the universal timeless teacher of all teachers.
Sutra 26 purvesham api guruhkalena anavacchedat
Unlimited by time (kalena) this great boundless integrity (anavacchedat) is the primal (purvesham) eternal teacher (guru) even (api) the teacher of the most ancient teachers. Being all inclusive, unlimited, eternal (kalena) -- not subject to time or place. Isvara is found within the unobscured instantaneous eternal moment -- here and now, as Now awareness -- ever accessible to the true devotee.
If an exclusive group, nation, race, religion, sect, philosophical filter, or creed claims isvara as their own, they are not using the word, isvara, the way Patanjali defines it. Hence it would be incorrect to say that isvara was exclusively a Hindu god or that the reference portends exclusively to the samkhya definition.
Further Sutra 24 and 25 says:
Sutra 24 Klesha-karma-vipakasayair apara-mrshta purusa-visesa isvarah
Isvara is the untouched and unblemished and most pure (apara-mrshta) aspect (visesa) of beginningless undifferentiated universal seed consciousness (purusa) which is unaffected by obscuration (klesha), karmic residues or and the seed germs (asayair) that result (vipaka) from ordinary actions based on the kleshas (lack of vision, the egoic mindset, craving, antipathy, and attachment to solidity).
Sutra 25 Tatra-nir-atisayam sarva-jna a-bijam
Therein (tatra) [isvara] is the indwelling seed (bija) and beginningless origin (nir-atishayam) of ultimate and unsurpassed omniscience (sarvajna).
Q: Who was Patanjali?
A: Patanjali was a yogi who lived in Northern India approximately two thousand years ago as a practitioner of ancient mountain yoga Nothing definitive is known about his life, albeit some grammarians speculate that he was the same person as the grammarian, also named Patanjali who lived in the mid second century BCE. and who wrote a celebrated commentary (Mahabhasya) on Panini’s classic on Sanskrit Grammar. That speculation is often used to justify the grammarians' mechanistic etymological, epistemological, and philological interpretations of the Yoga Sutras. However, using chronological time, such a claim must be discredited. Although there existed nothing known about the Yogi, Patanjali, for a thousand years after composing his yoga compendium, all of a sudden (miraculously) during the bhakti era in India, a hagiographic myth was composed that lauded his magical virgin birth and many supernatural feats. Hence, nearly 1000 years after Patanjali wrote the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali started being worshipped as a Hindu saint. Although Patanjali certainly deserves great praise, we feat him and honor his memory best by ignoring such confabulations, while practicing what he actually taught. Such speculative fancy is a disservice to Patanjali as it is in direct contradiction to what he taught.
This translation and commentary however, assumes that Patanjali was a human being, a historical figure, and a practicing yogi from the ancient simple mountain yogi tradition, who first compiled the ancient yogic teachings in written form. Since his Sanskrit is excellent, we may assume that he was well schooled at first, but later took up the life of a yogi.
Q: When did Patanjali live?
Nothing is written about Patanjali’s actual life, although a myth (hagiography) was created 1000 years after he died that he was miraculously virgin born. If indeed there was a historical Patanjali, the best guess is that he lived in the very late Mauryan period (perhaps between the first century BCE to as late as the fourth century CE. Although raj yoga practices, such as described in the Yoga Sutras, are more ancient (Gautama Buddha was such a yoga practitioner living approximately 500 BCE), Patanjali's Yoga Sutras acted as a compendium of what was a previously an unwritten oral tradition performed not in academia or monasteries, but in the wilderness, caves, and forest retreats. Similarly, about this time in the late Mauryan period, the Fourth Buddhist Council (held by the Theravadin) was the first to write down the Buddhist Sutras, which had been previously relegated to mnemonic/phonetic memorization techniques. Their rationale for their writing was in order to preserve the teachings as they feared that the teachings may otherwise have become lost or distorted. So one could speculate that such was Patanjali's rationale as well, for previous to this time anyone who wanted to learn yoga could simply go to the mountains or forests and study with a living master.
Also, around the end of the Mauryan Empire Buddhism was still very strong in Northern India, the Mahayana was blooming (Nagarjuna circa 2nd century CE), and proto-tantra begun. Hence because of certain Mahayana and neo-tantric elements, some of the latter writings in the Yoga Sutras has to be dated after the beginning of the current era,– somewhere around or after 100 CE which is before the first extant commentary (written by Vyasa circa 4th-5th century CE). Hence, due to the decidedly Buddhist Mahayana and proto-tantric elements (which mainly belong to 200 CE and later) and the lack of any extant commentaries or references to the Yoga Sutras prior to the fourth century CE (notably Vyasa's), some scholars suggest the latter modern date at approximately 100-300 CE. It is important to note that there is no extant evidence as to any specific dates; however references to these yogic practices that are so outlined in the Yoga Sutras predate 500 BCE.
Therefore, we must keep in mind that Patanjali was not the inventor of yoga, rather the contents of the Yoga Sutras predated him via the ancient oral mountain yogi tradition. Although Patanjali is often credited as a systematizer of Yoga practices, that claim can not be substantiated given the fact that a preexisting oral tradition existed in a systemized form, comprehensively systematized or not, we can not certainly ever know, before him.
Q: Are the Yoga Sutras all authentic and how many are there?
A: There does exist some controversy as to the original Yoga Sutras and what sutras may have been added and when. Certainly the language of Chapter IV is most unique and hence, perhaps the best candidate that suggests a possible post-humorous addendum had occurred. Just so, much of Chapter III is proto-tantric indicating a later date. Lacking any exact or definitive evidence it is impossible to state with certainty. Likewise, there exists a controversy regarding, whether or not there were 196 sutras or 195 sutras (the sutra in question being omitted is the superfluous III.22, which is sometimes added after III.21). In this author’s translation, it has been omitted as it seems to be inconsequential and superfluous (the topic being covered by other existing sutras). However, the entire Yoga Sutras are capable of being interpreted as an integrity without contradiction or disparity.
Q: Why are the Yoga Sutras so terse
A: They are not terse in the sense that they are blunt, obscure by themselves, or incapable of standing alone. "Terse" has been used as an excuse for the many absurd and indistinct translations, which require elaborate academic and intellectual explanations. The sutras should be presented so that they are free from such lengthy "authoritarian" commentary. Rather, they are terse in the sense that the Yoga Sutras are crisp, neat, succinct, to the point, concisely elegant, and easily understood statements conveying the essential core meaning of yoga. In that latter definition of "terse", I would be in complete agreement. When the sutras are taken as an integrative whole, where the preceding and succeeding sutras are presented as connected and are discerned as segues in a grand concert, then the word, "succinct" or "pithy" might be added as an adjective to "thread"as in pithy or succinct threads. The Yoga Sutras are rather a compact, concise, and well written outline of the practices of the ancient mountain yoga tradition which carries with it the singular theme of yoga as union/interconnectedness.
There exist many rather lengthy Sanskrit Sutras such as Narada’s Bhakti Sutras, the Vedanta (Brahma) Sutras, the Buddhist Sutras, etc.; while in none, does the word, sutra, mean “aphorism” or "terse" rather the entire work is a sutra, and rather large, while inside these sutras, one can ascertain complete thoughts as well as a coherent integrity throughout. Therefore, the word, sutra, does not justify the definition of “terse aphorism” in the sense of it being arcane, curt, abrupt, or clipped; hence justifying the need of long, elaborate, compounded, tedious, and often obtuse intellectual abstractions, which is the predilection of self styled academic experts. Sutra, rather means, thread. When understood as threads within a wholistic fabric/weave, then the yoga sutras are seen in light of an overall integrity. Then they are not seen as terse nor do they require any commentary or external means. However if the sutras are misunderstood as fragmented, then they may appear as terse and complicated, hence in need of an expert commentary. For a newcomer to yoga, it is better to get some yoga practice under his or her belt first, and then they can understand the Yoga Sutras better as a guidebook or outline.
In English translation the sutras have not been previously made clear and concise at the same time, as it is a challenge. One reason is because the yogic meaning of the Sanskrit terms do not lend themselves to direct succinct word for word Sanskrit to English translation. Concisely, one should not justify a meaningless, fragmented, or confused ambiguous translation of any sutra by claiming on the grounds that it was designed to be terse in an arcane manner. This is a rather too common contrivance. Rather it is more often the case that the the translator has lost the genuine thread.
Q: Having stated that the Yoga Sutra commentaries are unnecessary, why is it that the commentaries in "the Yoga-Sutras-As-Is" are so long and often appear redundant?
A: That is an excellent question, thank you. After one has practiced yoga and studied the Yoga Sutras it may be helpful to many to read them through without commentary once in awhile as an aid. However, as our yoga practice unfolds, then various new ways of knowing and being will arise naturally. This spells success in yoga practice. Therefore, a specific sutra or topic will catch one's interest accordingly. In order to go deeper, one could go to a mature practicing yogi or teacher, but here in a written commentary (written by a practicing yogi who may have gone through these same layers herself) a written commentary may be helpful in understanding a specific practice, an affect of the practice, its value, ways to finesse it, and its relationship with the overall practice of yoga. In the past, yogis had living teachers in the oral tradition, whom they could consult. Today the situation is different.
The commentaries in "the Yoga Sutras-AS-It-Is" might seem redundant, but because they often contradict established orthodoxy. Also they are designed to bring out subtle nuances, and because they are designed to repeat essential points that are commonly misunderstood, it is felt that redundancy is superior to confusion or ignorance. If the commentary appears too long, then one is always welcome to skip it. However, if a commentary is lacking, then a valuable opportunity to make a connection may be lost.
Q: Does the Yoga Sutras preach the caste system?
A: No. There is no mention nor implication of caste, race, nationality, or sex.
Q: Does the Yoga Sutras teach prayer, religious devotion, idol worship, or devotion to gurus, or animal sacrifice?
A: No, not at all. Animal sacrifice as well as self-sacrifice to alien gods as appeasement or propitiation is perverse. However, in one sense for a dedicated yogi, every movement and breath is a prayerdance, every part of nature is sacred, and every being has within them the buddha's seed potential. Some people express that inner light more or less than others. When we see that love and light in others, one acknowledges, honors, and respects it in all our relations. If such is not done, then a disruption of yogic flow will occur. Devotion in the Yoga Sutras is to one's own practice (sadhana) and the inner teacher (ish-swara) who is the ishta devata. It is the innermost non-doer, as explicated in the sutras regarding ishwara pranidhana, the teacher of all teachers.
Q: Does yoga teach ceremonies, rituals, philosophy, dogma, or religion such as Hinduism or Buddhism?
No. Although there exist some common terms used by Hindu and Buddhist Indians in the Yoga Sutras, the Yoga Sutras are entirely practice based; i.e., empirical. The only requirement is to be open minded, alert, and suspend the prisons of our belief systems. Here the practices lead to and reveal via direct experience underlying universal principles, hence the Yoga Sutras serve as a field manual where one’s own body, mind, and breath is the laboratory, in the experiment of life. The experiment is over when the yogi succeeds in embodying the yoga.
Yoga is universal, devoid of any limitations such as race, creed, nationality, sex, province, or even species. Yoga is all inclusive. (See A Short History of Yoga)
Q: Are asana and pranayama practices, like that taught in hatha yoga, found in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras?
A: Yes and no. The general outline for asana and pranayama practices are contained in Sutras II.46-52. Also I.31 and I.34 has breathing exercises as well. These general principles in the Yoga Sutras apply to hatha yoga, but hatha yoga proper, elaborates upon and refines these practices in far greater detail. It is fair to say that classical hatha yoga includes and embraces Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. but adds to the practices more specific practices of asana, pranayama, pratyhara, and dharana (visualization). some say that hatha yoga practices are merely augmentative to Raj Yoga or meditation (dhyana). In essence these are all practices which are designed to effect union/yoga. Thus what is is most valuable is to not mistake the practice or technique with the goal -- not become obsessed with the individual techniques, but rather to use effective methods to move in alignment and harmony with Sanatana Dharma -- as Natural Law at every moment -- to gain genuine momentum.
Q: Is this book for`academic scholars or those who wish to study its academic exegesis?
A: No. When someone asks me to teach the Yoga Sutras, I now have to ask them why? What is their objective? What do they want to learn? If they say, that they want to learn the Yoga Sutras, I must point them elsewhere, because I will not be able to help them pass standardized tests or conform to traditional authoritative interpretations. If they say that they want to learn authentic yoga, and use the "Yoga Sutras-As-It-Is" as a guide to their own personal practice, then I will make my time available.
Q: Is the Yoga Sutras a system of morals?
A: No, the Yoga Sutras are based on self realization via practice. It is not based on conceptual theories and philosophies such as deciding correct or incorrect actions via ethics. Unlike many moral religions, such as the popular Middle Eastern religions, Yoga is not as simple as simply following various rules. There, if you follow/conform to a rule you are rewarded with heaven when you die, but if you break a rule you will become punished. Many people who have become intimidated, inhibited, alienated, and disenfranchised from their innate wisdom through negative conditioning may simply want to know what to do. They may say: "Just tell me what to do, and I will follow". Tell me what to believe and I will believe it. That is not authentic yoga, but conformity, memorization, and belief. Real yoga is not blind belief, memorization, conformity, obedience, follow the leader, nor ideology, although charlatans try to play that trick on unwary students who are seeking for guidance.
In authentic yoga, practice leads to wisdom, insight, inner light, and direct perception (brought about by the cessation of the citta-vrtti). Then one sees directly the universal principles of natural law (often referred to as Sanatana Dharma) reflected in all beings and things. Ignorance is defeated by practices that result in pure vision. Delusion and self deceit is defeated by truth. Truth tells us that we are all One big Family. Justice is realized through the union of truth and compassion, as ahimsa, and satyagraha. The wisdom eye is opened through practice which in turn results in wise and compassionate activity naturally. Hence the goal is to not use good actions to go to heaven, but rather to practice in order to discover the innate goodness inside (Buddhanature, Bodhicitta, Maheshvara, isvara, Siva, or inherent Christ-nature) and then express that naturally in spontaneous good actions. Authentic yoga practitioners find that efficient yogic practices bring such out in all one's relations. Such light and love are marks of an accomplished yogi. Hence, the eternal law lays inside the yogi, while the yoga practice is designed to bring that into direct awareness. In authentic yoga, practice invokes awareness, not belief in mechanically following model behavior, in hopes of a future reward/salvation in a distant heaven.
In Pada II of the Yoga Sutras Patanjali describes ashtanga (eight limbed) yoga, which starts with yama and niyama. There is nothing like that in the West, so most translators attempt to translate yama as prohibitions ("like thou shall nots"), and niyama as "thou shall do); i.e., as moral codes or commandments, but it is nothing like that. Rather, yama means the end of of something, as in death, referring to cessation of an activity. Patanjali says that if one stops doing some things and begin to do other things in body, speech, and mind, like harming others (ahimsa), refrain from deception (satya), be honest and act in integrity (asteya), act to promote peace (santosha), honor the creative/generative force (brahmacharya), surrender to the transpersonal transconceptual self (isvara pranidhana), and so forth then quick progress in yoga will be had. One will stop falling backward in one's practice. That is not because some one is keeping record of good and bad actions, rather that is because these activities reflect universal law which is clearly gleaned in samadhi. As a two way street as practice accelerates and is more continuous, then yama and niyama become more natural and spontaneous expressions. Thus such activities (yama and niyama) do not come from restraint nor mechanical force. They are not codes of conduct. Their rewards are in the moment, which also carry on to the future. That happens, because the innate true unconditioned nature of a transpersonal self (swarupa-sunyam) reveals itself as the obscurations are tamed and cease.
Having said that, the Yoga Sutras reflect that underlying inherent universal truth. It acts as its mirror/reflection disclosing through our alignment with Universal Law (the mahavrata), where we are intimately aligned, where our balance is found, and how to feel and move in harmony on all levels in loving kindness, compassion, sympathy, and equanimity. Yoga teaches what principles may be in operation in our lives, what is to be given up/abandoned, what practices may be wise to undertake, and what exactly is just and loving in body, mind, and speech. Through practice the yogi knows this experientially. and directly.
Q: Yoga often is regarded as a system of jumping through hoops, obeying scripture, obeying external teachers, conforming to tradition, and external authority. How do you justify that?
A: That cannot be justified. Such is a perversion by control freaks, power mongers, and institutionalized oligarchies. What you said is true; i.e., that many take yoga to be a religion or ideology that requires conformity, obedience, and external guidance. That is definitely NOT what Patanjali teaches. Patanjali teaches a system where *inner* guidance is brought to the forefront, leads, and is integrated into each and every moment. Patanjali teaches a system of voluntary *self*-discipline, not external discipline. In this system we assume that the student passionately wants to learn as genuine spiritual aspiration. The teacher then inspires the student further and teaches them some practices depending on the students karma and ability, which are designed to awaken the student's own dormant wisdom, power, and light. The student comes back to the teacher, only when the student needs. That is progress. The teacher's goal is to free the student from dependence upon any external religion, guru, or even practice. Eventually even meditation (dhyana) has to be abandoned, once the student crosses the shore to nirbija samadhi.
Following the leader is not a skill, but rather a bad habit to break. When the student starts to connect with siva/shakti, there is spontaneously and effortlessly more interest and self motivation involved in their practice. Functional practice is designed to open up the student's innate potential for samadhi and nothing short of that. Traditional, authoritarian, institutionalized religious systems tend toward contributing to mechanized robotization/authoritarian structure, as opposed to fostering a creative, loving, just, and sensitive human being capable of insight and more. In short, I don't think that the natural brightness that we see in the young, has to dim in the adult. Yoga should contribute to the ongoing development of the young student, not pervert, repress, or distract it. In numerous places Patanjali describes an innate self-illuminating insight or inner wisdom. It just requires space and attention to shine forth.
Hence, yoga does not translate as externally imposed discipline, rather it is a practice that connects the practitioner with their highest potential. Patanjali provides a path of non-attachment to results (letting go) more than any other self-discipline. He called it vairagya. It is the dominant theme in sutras I.12-19 and also in III.50. In III.50 Patanjali says that vairagya leads to kaivalya, as absolute unconditional natural freedom.
Tapas does not connote an externally dictated discipline either; rather it means the cultivation of inner heat. Swadhyaya does not memorizing scriptural verses; rather it is self study. Motivation and dedication in yoga is due to inspiration (fed by authentic tapas, swadhyaya, and isvara pranidhana). As mentioned isvara is the inner teacher, the seed essence contained in all beings and things. Patanjali describes isvara pranidhana in eight sutras (I.23, 24, 25, 26, 27 and II.1, 32, and 45), thus he obviously felt that dedication and surrender was an important teaching. Clearly, he is not saying surrender to fate or abandonment of self-discipline in general. Surrender as such is much more specific, surrender to isvara only. Consult with isvara as your ever present and infallible guide always.
In ancient Himalayan culture, before there were books on yoga, yogis lived free from societal constraints in caves, forest hermitages, along river banks, and other mostly remote places. Yoga was then learned from living embodiments, and passed down to seekers. Thus to some extent the teachings were preserved by this so-called oral tradition, which could be more correctly described as a direct living transmission from realized masters to sincere and dedicated students. In that situation, as long as the teacher was pure, being dedicated toward liberating the student (rather than controlling, exploiting, or addicting them to externalities, this system worked. Such students recognized the profound love, light, and kindness emanating from their teacher. Today however, that pure system has become severely undermined and perverted. Succinctly, yoga is essentially an inner self-discipline that which leads to the opening of the third eye. It activates the dormant evolutionary potential innate in all beings. The dissolution of any thought construct that upholds an individual "self" is essential in the process absorption (dhyana) that precedes samadhi. This process of dhyana is resisted by the ego, and thus must be titrated and not forced, depending on how strong the egoic delusion has become.
Q: What is your own bias, if any in your translation and commentary of the Yoga Sutras? Can you offer a short self-critical auto-commentary?
Firstly, all commentaries and translations suffer from an element of interpretative bias, due to pre-programmed conditioning, predilections, and preferences. The classical commentary of Vyasa, is also interpretative. We can differentiate between a critical commentary that opposes or contradicts Patanjali's sutras, in contrast to a commentary that attempts to elucidate the sutras as written. One will find that Vyasa's commentary is critical and contradicts Patanjali's own words in many places. It is a filtering within a samkhya predilection. That is fine as far as it goes. However, the Yoga Sutras As-It-Is" is an attempt to honestly interpret Patanjali on the basis of his own statements, while showing its modern day applications when possible.
The agenda in "the Yoga Sutras-As-It-Is is to liberate yoga from the intellectual, reductionist. academic, epistemological, philological, religious and grammarian bias, which has attempted to hold yoga captive. Hence, this translation and commentary challenges various samkhya assumptions on many levels, while allowing the modern reader a fresh and challenging new perspective aligned with the primordial purpose of the yoga tradition. Yoga is not endlessly reductionist, negative, nor based on negation. rather it is integrative, wholesome, and limitless, leaving nothing more to be included or excluded. Because yoga has a powerful potential to help human beings and the planet when stripped of antiquated and limited philosophical filters and practiced with true devotion and passion in the 21st century, that agenda has guided the development of this translation and commentary. One valid objective weakness in this translation are the regrettable Sanskrit language errors, which were unavoidable. An additional fault is this translators lack of wisdom and ability, thus the work suffers in many ways. Even where there may be errors, it is my hope that such will help stimulate critical and original thought and add to one's overall realization of samadhi and its expression.
Q: Your commentary equates "shakti" for "prakrti", while seemingly emphasizing the feminine aspect. Would you say that your commentary is a biased feminine interpretation?
A: This commentary and translation is an attempt for balance (sattva). For centuries the Indian orthodox religious and philosophical interpretations occurred within a very rigid patriarchal tradition, which was decidedly unbalanced. In that system (up until the advaitic and tantric periods) prakrti and purusa were formulated as isolated and independent forces never to meet. In yoga-tantra, consciousness (cit) and shakti (nature) are married. That is represented by the inseparable union of shiva and shakti (tantra) or in some schools of Vedanta that both hides and reveals Brahman.
Q: Your commentary regards nature as the path, while most other commentaries regard nature as dead phenomena from which to isolate/dissociate one's self. Are these not two opposing vectors?
A: Yes. There is an idea in the land of Bharat (India), which is named Sanatana Dharma. The best definition of Sanatana Dharma is natural law, as the natural order of the multi-verse, of the kalpas, of all-time and all-space. This is the natural unconditioned path, free from bias and prejudice. Free from even anthropomorphic bias.
That is perhaps why the commentary for The Yoga Sutras As-It-Is, is so long and unique. The traditional interpretation laces yoga within the samkhya philosophical framework that sticks to a very primitive, dualistic, and pre-tantric contextual analysis. What they describe as viveka-khyatir is only a first phase in a much larger process, where differentiated consciousness and undifferentiated consciousness are experienced as inseparable, interconnected, interdependent, and non-dual. It is impossible to explain to philosophers who have lost their feeling sense and subjective ability to deeply know something which is truly incomprehensible -- which is beyond the ability of the human intellect to grasp. Simply said there is a very large difference between non-attachment and ungrasping on one hand, and on the other indifference, detachment, escapism, fear, and aversion. That is nirvikalpa, free from grasping onto thoughts. That is what Patanjali insists the essential practice of yoga. Patanjali says this many times, that such can only be approached via practice. Intellectuals can not accept that. That is why they are called intellectuals. The chapter "Making Patanjali Accessible" goes deeper on this very subject. It is a slippery slope to dwell on what Yoga is *not*, no matter how popular. I don't wish to take the sincere seeker down that route if I can help it. But, yes, by all means, be aware of the pitfalls made by ideologues. They are avoidable. To reiterate, the yogic path is not negation, escapism, exclusivity, or aversion. Yoga, rather, is all inclusive/integrative.
Samkhya is brilliant, but not yoga. It begins and ends in duality. where Yoga ends in union. Samkhya is only reductionist; while yoga is both analytical and integrative. Samkhya was a useful analytical tool of discernment during the Mauryan Age, which also parallels the dawn of the Golden Age in Greece. Indeed the conscious principle requires to be recognized, witnessed, and isolated from phenomena at first, as it is true that we understand phenomena through our own mind, while the colorings of the mind will affect how we understand phenomena. The conditioned mind (mental function) itself is indeed phenomena. Hence, the conflation (which is asamyoge as an isolated identification) could be considered the first stage also in Jungian individuation, where one inquires as to the true nature of mind, consciousness, awareness, or self (purusa). Hence, a necessary disillusionment from prior conditioning needs to be undergone, but that is only the beginning. At best this dissolution of the world could be considered the nirvana of early Buddhism, or else we can limit it as Arhantship (isolation or withdrawal from nature). Hence, samkhya ends in karma and attempts to deconstruct it intellectually (the intellect being the tool). The futility there is that the intellect is not capable of seeing outside the intellect (buddhi), phenomena (the gunas) or an isolated sense of Prakrti; hence, it is not a suitable tool for the stated task.
One step in the development of awareness is to understand that we are not alone. Another step is to know that the human being is the creation of billions of years of very intelligent co-evolution. Here a more transpersonal identification can be established. Eventually we find mind-essence as ubiquitous and innate inside all phenomena, but it requires viveka khyater (a heightened sense of non-dual interdependent awareness). As we start to learn about who we truly are, we have a chance to create a healthy environment, community, culture, society, nation, and planet that is in harmony with the universe, rather than in conflict. Most non-initiates are living in a very primitive stage of conscious evolution, and hence are in need of letting go of limited identification which reaches far beyond the prisons of limited data, human intellectual processes, or sequential time..
"Poetry may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves . . . I am myself and what is all around me, and if I do not save it, it shall not save me."
José Ortega y Gasset
Stage two of viveka-khyatir is to be able to consciously recognize the all pervading Cit in Sat (in Sat Cit Ananda) in all of creation. That is the basic inseparable conscious recognition of the unity of form (ever changing creation) and the formless (non-changing eternal) as inseparable. That is not to say that form is void, or void is form, but rather together they form an inseparable interactive whole. This is the state mentioned above where differentiated consciousness and undifferentiated consciousness (relative and absolute truths are experienced as inseparable. Here one witnesses shiva and Shakti as the players in all one's relations.
Stage three is the tantric realization that father/mother (shiva and shakti), primordial awareness and intelligent evolutionary power form an interactive partnership. That is not to say that shiva is the same as shakti, rather they are inseparable in reality. Here the yogi consciously interacts as an active expression of the unification of evolutionary force and primordial wisdom as a healing agent of liberation. This is where errors are made. What is being dissolved is the egoic self, not shakti. Rather the yogi becomes absorbed into shakti and there meets shiva. Then there is union/yoga, not isolation.
It is in this way we can understand the Yoga Sutras as an invaluable evolutionary link between primitive samkhya philosophy, Buddhist Madhyamika and non-dual Vedantic philosophy, and later Hindu and Buddhist tantric practices which lead to the crown of Medieval Indian greatness which peaked at the time of the Moghul invasions.
It is no coincidence that these graduated steps in awareness and clarity occur in stages within the evolutionary cycle of human evolutionary history from its beginningless source, as well as within one human lifetime as long as the human being does not become stuck or imprisoned at any stage. In short the human being in one lifetime has an innate capacity to evolve throughout the entire evolutionary history of creation as well as being capable of evolving to full evolutionary realization, except in the very last phase where all beings together form a living enlightened interactive community.
The Archetypal Template
1. The first stage is subjective interactivity devoid of self awareness or conscious will. The subjective sensibility here can be very deep and magical. This is the frequent realm of the infant child as well as most animals and living things where there is constant exploration of differentiated reality and learning. Here there still exists a sense of self awareness (Buddhanature), but it is mostly dormant. In fact most of the universe is asleep until the trumpeter awakens it. This mystical statement has been made for reasons of brevity as well as to encourage the reader to embark upon the spiritual path where all awakens.
2. As the child continues to explore innocently and becomes more aware of the universe (external world), they eventually also become aware of the explorer to an extent. That extent of both is an ongoing deepening process profound process of mutuality That is, as the explorer increases their awareness of the bodymind, then they are able to deepen their experience of the universe. Life becomes rich in its diversity. the wisdom that embraces happiness over powers completely grasping and fearful minds.
Spiritual growth in this sense can be a delight, however the more common error is to label and box in the world in conceptual categories, hence limiting it while deadening ones own magical interactive relationship with it. This second stage of evolutionary development thus often involves the awakening of self awareness as being separate from the material universe. To an extent this is true, but such an awareness must be as a phase in an overall process of evolution, unless the child becomes imprisoned in conceptually based stasis. The positive activity is that this stage of evolution is the beginning of conscious action allowing for the human being to take responsibility for one's actions. It is mirror like consciousness in that it not only entails the awareness of the physical body, but also the workings of one's own mind and mental processes. The latter awareness of the mind, emotions, and karmic propensities is a deeper recognition than mere awareness of physical action and hence moral behavior. Such awareness is recognized in gradients (viveka khyatir).
Such a process begins past infancy, but on an advanced level it is the recognition of Cit (the pure conscious principle) as witness consciousness which appears to lie independent from the rest of phenomena. As mentioned above that is the realm of pure witness consciousness, the Conscious eternal formless's I-AM of pure awareness, the Arhant, or old school nirvana. Many do not reach this advanced level of subtle awareness and those who do often think it is the end or absolute culmination of consciousness being turned back upon its source, knowing itself. Rather that awareness still has contained in it impurities with subtle connotations of limitations and should not be grasped upon or clung to. On the human evolutionary time table, this corresponds to the Greek Golden Age of awakening as well as samkhya philosophy and early Buddhism, Pure witness consciousness is not an independent entity, thing, or ego in distinction from the entirety of the universe. Likewise the entirety of the universe is not an independent entity, thing, nor ego regardless if it is being observed or not. So it would be a self defeating and self limiting identification to identify self with awareness as an independent ego.
3. The next stage is the awareness that this conscious principle rests as the all pervasive foundation of all beings and things. It is not only within the observer, but also within the observed. Simultaneously, it is not only within the Universe, but also within oneself. Here non-dual and transpersonal realization is experienced, which occurred after dawn of Jesus, Patanjali, the Madhyamika, and non-dual Vedanta (as the Mauryan era sunset). Here Sat (as pure subjective experience) and Cit (As pure conscious awareness) are re-integrated in Sat-Cit-Ananda. The paradise lost of childhood has become refound in transconceptual non-dual realization. Such a realization forms the basis of true civilization, community, culture, peace, healing, consciousness, truth, justice, virtue, and abundance. Mankind has not yet widely recognized and embraced this beacon en masse.
4. Evolutionary activity or heralding in Shambhala is the next step. It is the phase of the trumpeter simultaneously blowing down the prison of the mind while revealing the hidden community of New Jerusalem. The trumpeter here does not have to use a trumpet, sounds, or words but magically transforms the coarse into beyond even the most subtle unending awareness. There are no separate independent selves. Within the boundless enlightened mind all things are bound together. It is is essentially the non-dual tantric culmination. It has already happened fully and completely in the realms of timeless space, but it remains yet to be embraced by human beings. It will be trumpeted in by the hands and legs of the agents of evolutionary power and primordial wisdom. It is the template that human beings have naturally been evolving toward, albeit having experienced much stasis and embarked upon many dysfunctional distractions along the way.
"And did those feet in ancient time,
Walk upon England's mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England's pleasant pastures seen !
And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills ?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills ?
Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold:
Bring me my Chariot of fire !
I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England's green & pleasant Land."
William Blake, "New Jerusalem", 1804, London.
Human beings have yet to become "those feet of ancient time" lighting up the "Clouded Hills" with "Countenance Divine"; i.e., pure channels, Christ-like heralders of the dawn, empowered Bodhisattvas, and so forth.
New Jerusalem: Heaven on earth; Shambhala. Similarly, "In England's green & pleasant Land" refers to the marriage of heaven and earth; i.e., the crown and root chakras.
Chariot of Fire: the evolutionary force as the fire of kundalini
"Mental Fight" as well as all conflict ceases when confusion (Mara) is defeated through final liberation. Hence this is a reference to aligning primordial wisdom with human purpose and intent, as one with our will and actions in the great integrity of body, speech, and thought. That is what the spiritual struggle is all about, according to Blake.
New Jerusalem is the primary DNA-like template forged by the pristine mind, and requires recognition and natural expression.
Table of Contents: Link to the index page to all four chapters, this introduction, a forward, a FAQ page, and other adjunctive material
I. Samadhi Pada - Absorption, Mergence, Linking, Getting in Touch, Union through realizing Harmony, Interconnectedness, Integrity, and Indigenous Belongingness -- the Reality of ALL OUR RELATIONS
II. Sadhana Pada - Practice, Methods, and Technique
III Vibhuti Pada - Proficiency, Progress, Fruition, Success, and Ability
IV. Kaivalya Pada - Complete, Unconditional, and Absolute Liberation
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 http://www.swamivenkatesananda.org 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 http://dailyreadings.com/sutras_1.htm 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 www.bindu.org or swamiveda.org
"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 iHanuman.com
Table of Contents: The Yoga Sutras As-It-Is
Yoga Sutras an Introduction
Patanjali's Yoga Sutras Made Accessible: An Essay Designed to rescue the Yoga Sutras from excess intellectualization/elaboration
Plain Language Short Translation
An Ashtanga (Eight Limbed) Yoga Meditation Practice
An Essay on Tapas and Addiction
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 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.
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
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
A Short History of the Yoga Sutras
HeartMind Yoga Pages
Rainbow Body Network Home
Proceed to Chapter One of the Yoga Sutras: Samadhi Pada