"The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali" by Sri Swami Satchidananda
"The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali" is a classical text on the philosophy and practice of yoga. It is attributed to the sage Patanjali, who is considered the compiler of the Yoga Sutras. Sri Swami Satchidananda, a renowned spiritual teacher and yoga master, has provided a well-known commentary on the Yoga Sutras, offering his insights and interpretations.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is divided into four chapters or sections, known as padas. These padas cover different aspects of yoga, including its purpose, the practices involved, the obstacles encountered, and the ultimate goal of yoga.
The first chapter, Samadhi Pada, introduces the concept of yoga and describes the state of Samadhi, which is the highest state of meditation and self-realization. It explores the nature of the mind and the various types of thoughts that arise, emphasizing the need for stilling the mind to attain clarity and inner peace.
The second chapter, Sadhana Pada, delves into the practical aspects of yoga. It outlines the Eight Limbs of Yoga, known as Ashtanga Yoga, which provide a comprehensive framework for the practice of yoga. These limbs include ethical principles (yamas and niyamas), physical postures (asanas), breath control (pranayama), sense withdrawal (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and absorption (samadhi). Swami Satchidananda's commentary provides practical guidance on integrating these practices into daily life.
The third chapter, Vibhuti Pada, explores the various powers and accomplishments that can arise from dedicated yogic practice. It discusses the ability to concentrate, the development of psychic powers, and the potential pitfalls and challenges that come with these abilities. The emphasis is on using these powers for spiritual growth and self-realization rather than for personal gain.
The final chapter, Kaivalya Pada, addresses the ultimate goal of yoga: liberation or enlightenment. It examines the nature of the self (purusha) and the various elements of existence (prakriti). It explains the process of transcending the limitations of the mind and ego to realize the true nature of oneself and attain liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
Sri Swami Satchidananda's commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali offers a contemporary interpretation of these ancient teachings, making them accessible to a wide range of readers and practitioners. His insights and explanations provide valuable guidance for those seeking to deepen their understanding and practice of yoga.