31 Aug

Patanjali and the Yoga Sutras

Lissa Coffey

Lissa Coffey

Lissa Coffey

Patanjali is the author of the “Yoga Sutras.”  He is also thought by many scholars to be the author of various ancient texts on Ayurveda and Sanskrit grammar.  Others think that the name Patanjali represents a group of people who came up with these writings.  Sutra in Sanskrit translates to “stitch” as in a thread of knowledge.  The Sutras provide a thorough and consistent philosophical basis for yoga, and they also clarify many important concepts in Indian thought.  Patanjali divided his Yoga Sutras into four chapters or books (“pada” in Sanskrit).

-Samadhi Pada (51 sutras): Sanadhi refers to a blissful state of Oneness.  This book contains the famous verse “Yogas citta vritti nirodhah” which translates to “Yoga is the restraint of mental modifications.”

-Sadhana Pada (55 sutras): Sadhana is the Sanskrit word for practice or discipline.  In this book, Patanjali talks about Kriya Yoga (also called Karma Yoga) and Ashtanga Yoga (Eightfold Yoga).  Ashtanga Yoga describes the eight limbs that together constitute Raja Yoga.

-Vibhuti Pada (56 sutras): Vibhuti is the Sanskrit word for power or manifestation.  The sutras explain that the focus should be on liberation, and not on the attainment of power.

-Kaivalya Pada (34 sutras): Kaivalya as used in the sutras means emancipation and liberation, which is the goal of Yoga.  This book describes the nature of liberation and the reality of the transcendental self.

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