Patanjali Yoga Sutra
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali succinctly outlines the art and science of Yoga meditation
for Self-Realization. It is a process of systematically encountering, examining, and
transcending each of the various gross and subtle levels of false identity in the mind
field, until the jewel of the true Self comes shining through.
This is an interpretive translation of the Yoga Sutra, expanding the number of English
words, so as to allow the practical instructions to be clearer. The
practices of the Yoga Sutras are extremely practical, though it can seem quite
complicated when trying to sort through the language. By providing expanded,
interpretive translations, the practical meaning of the suggestions more easily comes
through. The individual transliterated Sanskrit words also have a large number of
English translations, so as to give a more thorough understanding.
Commentaries on the Sutras are on www.SwamiJ.com, as well as other learning aids.
These include an extensive Introduction, a Main page presenting a visual outline and
summary of the entire Yoga Sutra, and a list of Reminder Questions, which serve as a
When Patanjali codified or compiled the Yoga Sutras
It was not that a new system
was created, but rather, the ancient practices were summarized in an extremely
organized and terse way. While the Yoga Sutras are thought to be as old as 400 BCE,
archaeological evidence and other texts suggest that the methods described in the
Yoga Sutras were being practiced as early as 3000 BCE. Oral tradition states that the
period may be even longer.
Yoga means union of the parts of ourselves, which were never divided in the first
place. Yoga literally means to yoke, from the root yuj, which means to join; it is the
same as the absorption in the state of samadhi. Sutra means thread, and this thread,
or multiple threads weave a tapestry of insight and direct experience.
Swami Rama explains, “There have been many scholarly commentaries on the Yoga
Sutras, but all the commentaries miss something very practical. Such commentaries
can only satisfy the intellect, but do not actually help you beyond that: ‘yogash chitta
vritti narodha’–yoga is the control of the ‘modifications’ of the mind. Narodha means
control; there is no other English word for it. Control doesn’t mean suppression, but
channeling or regulating.”
In the tradition of the Himalayan masters, Yoga, Vedanta, and Tantra complement one
another, leading one systematically along the path to Self-realization. The aspirant
clears the mind through the practice of Yoga meditation as codified in the Yoga Sutras
of Patanjali, does self-enquiry of Vedanta, and then breaks through the final barrier
with Tantra, experiencing the heights of kundalini awakening.