G.L. Verma was born in 1932 at Ssrimadhopur, Rajasthan. He was educated at Maharaja’s College and University Law College in Jaipur. He served the Govt. of Rajasthan for about 8 years starting as Panchayat Extension Officer and in various other capacities till 1966.
G.L. Verma had the privilege of being associated with the LARRDIS Divisions of the Lok Sabha Secretariat, Parliament House, New Delhi as Sr. Assistant, Research Assistant, Research Officer, Assistant Director and Deputy Director, the last three being positions of class I status. In this capacity his main responsibility was to provide information needs of the Members of Parliament of both the Houses along with the Members of the Union Council of Ministers for 25 years.
Following his superannuation in January, 1991, he carried on legal assignments and enrolled himself as an Advocate and practiced at Delhi High Court till 2005.
He has now shifted to Jaipur and is currently pursuing his astrological studies and research. He enjoys fabulous reputation as an astrologer and is known for his correct predictions.
Vedic Upanishads represent the profound essence, the succulent juice and the perennial spiritual philosophy of the Vedas, expounded and elucidated to make them practical and accessible for spiritual aspirants. They are magnificent, stupendous, forceful and powerful instruments in the hands of true seekers that provide spiritual foresight and vision of the ultimate Truth and Reality.
The Upanishads are integral part of the Vedas; each Vedas has a number of Upanishads in it. The present series classifies these Upanishads in true Vedic tradition, i.e. they are listed and separated into different volumes strictly according to the Vedic sequence and the Vedas they appear in.
In this edition each verse of each Upanishad has been extensively explained using simple language supplemented by elaborate notes so that these profound metaphysical treatises can be made accessible to even a lay man. Towards the end of each volume, extensive appendices have been added to elucidate the different concepts in simple worlds. Concepts such as OM, Naad, Naadis, Chakras, Yoga, Atma, Viraat, Moksha etc. are all elaborately explained in these separate appendices. A Mantra index in Romanized version is also included in each volume.
Yoga is one of the most valuable contributions to the rest of the world. swami Satyananda Saraswati has rightly said that “Yoga is not an ancient myth buried in oblivion. It is the most valuable inheritance of the present. It is the essential need of today and the culture of tomorrow”. It is so because of the present deepening crisis resulting into institutional decay, erosion of values, social disorder, unbridled violence, wide-spread turmoil, global turbulence, uncontrolled materialistic and consumeristic tendencies. In the midst of such inhuman, hostile, external environment an individual naturally feels lost and uprooted from his spiritual and cultural heritage. This adversely affects his body and mind creating imbalance in his life. This imbalance obstructs the harmonious functioning of his organs, muscles and nervous system. Ultimately, the individual falls prey to various fatal diseases, both physical and mental. Yoga brings the different physical and mental functions into perfect co-ordination leading finally to the harmonious union of the individual consciousness with the cosmic consciousness. In sum today yoga is being increasingly perceived as an art and science of right living, working miraculously, on al aspects of human life-the physical, mental, spiritual, psychic and emotional.
It is a matter of great pleasure and satisfaction that Shri G.L. Verma, with his deep study, rich experience and penetrating insight into this precious spiritual knowledge, has done a commendable work by meticulously translating and lucidly explaining the prestigious Patanjali Yoga Sutra in the simplest possible language. This would be of immense help to the common man as well as to the practitioners of yoga who are keen to improve their quality of life by internalising and inculcating the serenity of thought and spiritual heritage.
Shri Verma deserves our heartiest congratulations for having completed this stupendous work with his in-depth knowledge of the subject and his scholarly interpretation. The book is not only worth reading but also worth preserving.
The present translation of “Patanjali Yoga Sutra” is reflection of my inspirational instinct conceived since long but could not be transformed into practical shape earlier. The compelling reason which forced my inner urge to attempt this task at the earliest is to present this translation in a simplified and easily understandable version so as to be useful for an average person since the scholarly expositions so far produced in the form of translation are beyond the understanding level of a layman. The common man cannot grasp the essence of condensed form of Sutra being complex and difficult, hence keeping this aspect in view, I have tried to make the explanation of each Sutra as easy as possible which is within the normal level of understanding and intellect.
In order to facilitate complete understanding of the concept of a Sutra, a glossary of terms used in this translation has been added along with the simplified and suitable explanation in the context in which the term has been used.
Efforts have been made to exclude all the difficult words of Sanskrit language in this rendering and in their place suitable English equivalent words have been substituted. However, essential Sanskrit words in transliterated version find place with easy English equivalents ‘()’ parentheses and vice-versa. Besides, an index of the original text of Sanskrit Sutras (Sutranukra-manika) with page numbers at the end of the book has also been provided so as to be convenient for a reader to have a quick look with regard to a particular Sutra.
The ‘Yoga Sutra’ of Patanjali contains 196 Sutras which have been presented in a condensed form comprising essential philosophical concepts and yogic techniques in a scientific and systematic manner. His philosophy is not a new one but simply gives a new face by co-ordinating all the existing systems into a single treatise. His ‘Yoga’ is a discipline for controlling the mind and the body in order to attain liberation from the material world.
Patanjali deals with the theory of Klesas (afflictions) which gets reflected in the prevailing conditions of human life of account one suffers as the same are born out of avidya (ignorance) which is root of all miseries. By avidya he does not mean “no knowledge” but the lack of true knowledge or reality. He emphasizes that true knowledge can be gained through the steady and stabilized mind. The mind is like a mirror, it gathers dust while reflects. In other words, when one’s mind attains unmodified state, one develops the discriminative knowledge which causes the ignorance to disappear and paves the way for removal of the cover which blocks the light of the ‘Purusa’.
In order to get unmodified state of mind, Patanjali has suggested to practice the ‘Astanga Yoga’ which ultimately leads one to attain the ‘Dharma-megha-samadhi’ resulting in liberation of ‘Purusa’ from the clutches of ‘Prakriti’. This state of ‘Purusa’ has been termed as ‘Kaivalya’ by Patanjali in which it is no more bound to the ‘Karmas’, nor is affected by time, space, cause and effect of this phenomenal world.
Thus, it is crystal clear that the ‘yogic discipline’ prescribed by Patanjali is most suited and relevant even today for an ordinary individual which is a panacea for all human miseries since this discipline is still continued to be rated as the most authoritative and scientific.
In this undertaking many persons have helped me. Foremost has been, as always, Gurudev Shri Shri Govind Shastriji, an eminent scholar possessing comprehensive background of Hindu religious scriptures and Shastras, scanned every Sutra painstakingly and made very valuable suggestions without whose inspiration and encouragement, the completion of this endeavour would not have been possible.
I must in the end, also express my sincere thanks to my son Mr. Inder Prakash and my daughter-in-law Smt. Prem Lata Verma for going through the proof of the manuscript and assisting me at all stages in this task as and when I felt their need.
Shri Devashish Taylor, my grandson also deserves my sincere thanks for carrying out all the typing work concerning the manuscript in question.
The word "Yoga" is a familiar one not only in India but also in other parts of the globe. But its inherent meaning still remains illusive to a majority of the people. Some view it as mere physical posture (Asana), whereas others link it to the spiritual discipline. Basically, it is a product of the traditional Hindu thought which has since been prevalent from the beginning. In accordance with the Hindu tradition, 'Yoga' is one of the approaches of philosophy and it is reckoned as the last one among the six different systems of philosophy.
'Yoga' in common parlance signifies the sense of union. The word 'Yoga' originates from a Sanskrit root 'Yuj' which means to unite or join. It implies the existence of more than a single thing which are to be joined. No single entity can form a union or the so called 'Yoga'. To form the 'Yoga', at least two entities are essential which are 'Jivatma' (soul) and 'Paramatma' (Supreme Soul) that are brought about to be joined together by the practice of 'Yoga'. Though the human soul and the Supreme soul appear to be two different entities, yet they are one and the same and still the "[iodima' being subjectively separated from ' Paramatma' yearns to get united by virtue of 'Yogic' practices. And so union with ' Paramatma' is, indeed, union with oneself. This state 0f unification of two attained through discipline and mental proces is termed as 'Yoga'.
In the discipline of 'Yoga', Maharishi Patanjali's undertaking to expound it through his treatise "Yoga Sutra" stands on the highest pedestal. He was one of the greatest seers endowed with rarity of insight. His contribution to the 'Yoga philosophy' has installed him at an exalted position. The principal object of Patanjali's "Yoga Sutra" is to enlighten the humanity through constant meditative practice to enable the mortals to dispel their ignorance (Avidya) and to make them aware about the reality which is the ultimate aim of their existence. In other words, he recommends the systematic and disciplined practice of 'Yoga' as explained by his various Sutras. As a result of this constant practice for a long time, one can attain the state of "Kaivalya" meaning, total isolation of soul from the nature (Prakriti). Once the Soul gets completely isolated from the 'Prakriti' by virtue of meditation (Samadhi), it becomes liberated from the bondage of the cycle of life and death and finally merges into the Supreme Soul. Attaining this particular stage is the ultimate aim of Patanjali's 'Yoga'.
In order to realise one's ultimate aim, Patanjali's approach of stabilising human psychological system appears most systematic. However, he did not devise a new system of 'Yoga' but simply co-ordinated it systematically.
According to him, 'Yoga' is inhibition of the modification of mind (Yoga chitta vritti nirodha), In other words, the 'Yoga' restrains the tendency of modification of mind and resultantly one's mind becomes steady through its constant practice. The tendency (Vritti) of modification in the nature of the mind is an acquired one and is superimposed on its real nature. To get the mind free from all such superimpositions is the real purpose of 'Yoga' and when it is attained, the self (Purusa) is established in its own nature.
The 'Yoga Sutra' comprises as many as 196 Sutras and these have been compiled in four different parts under each separate heading, namely, Samadhi Pada (meditation), Sadhana Pada (practice); Vibuti pada (accomplishments) and Kaivalya Pada (absolute isolation).
1. Samadhi Pada (meditation) : It consists of 51 Sutras (aphorisms) which deal with various aspects of Samadhi (meditation). It contains the definition of 'Yoga' which has been defined as inhibition of the modification of mind (yoga chitta vritti nirodha). Five kinds of mental modifications have been described which cause painful and non-painful experience on account of attachment and desires. Patanjali has suggested the remedial measures to overcome them.
In this Pada, the impact of the Gunas (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas) has been described and the Sutras suggest the ways as to how this impact can be demolished by having gained the true knowledge of the Supreme Soul. Also, provides the guidance for attaining the state of dispassion in order to get rid of the avidya (ignorance) which is the root cause of all sufferings and miseries.
It mentions about the Samprajnata Samadhi and its four forms It is a Samadhi (meditation) with wisdom wherein there is a distinct recognition of an object. In this state, the mind ponders over the distinct object. This Samadhi is also termed as Sabija Samadhi.
Next, this pada highlights about the Asamprajnata Samadhi wherein the distinct recongnition gets lost and the Samskara Shesha (ramnant impressions) of one's previous life appear to exist in the mind but in incapacitated state.
A brief description has also been made regarding Videhas (bodiless) and Prakritilayas who despite having achieved great power fail to realise the Purusa due to lack of knowledge. Some of the aphorisms show the ways for achieving one's goal by way of constant meditation with dedication, energy, past experience and high sense of knowledge depending upon the level 0f intensity of desire. The intensity of desire has been styled as mild, moderate and deep since the level of intensity of desire differs from one to another.
The Pada describes about the 9 obstacles and their 4 companions which come in the way of attaining the Samadhi namely, disease, dullness, doubt, carelessness, laziness sensuality, delusion, non-attaining of concentration, instability and grief, dejection, nervousness and irregular breathing respectively. In order to demolish these, Patanjali has suggested for deep devotion to God and to chant the pranava 'OM' for establishing direct contact with Him.
Apart from the above, the other modes suggested by him for getting them destroyed are to adopt the harmonious attitude, observance of pranayama, to pursue the goal with sincerity of purpose, through brilliance emanating from within oneself, by concentrating the mind on great souls, by association of supporting knowledge and experience gained during sleeping and dreaming states and finally adoption of any method preferred by one. Concentration on the subtle object by these modes leads one to attain limitless knowledge.
The pada also contains the details about the Savitarka (argumentative), Nirviarka (non-argumentative), Savicara (deliberative) and Nirvicara (non-deliberative) states of Samadhi through which the aspirant passes one after the another. After passing through all these stages, one's mind gets purified and becomes capable to distinguish, which results in attaining the knowledge full of truth called Ritambara.
Further, the pada describes about the emergence of the potential impression produced in the Nirvicara (non-deliberative) Samadhi pursuant to the knowledge of full truth (Ritambara) which demolishes the existing mental impressions (Samskaras) inherited from one's previous life due to past Karmas (actions). Finally, the last aphorism of the Samadhi Pada suggests that the final stage of the Samadhi (meditation) can be achieved by controlling even that potential impression and on achieving this state, one is said to have attained the Nirbija (seedless meditation) Samadhi which is the last stage of Asamprajnata Samadhi that leads to emergence of consciousness into the plane of soul where the Purusa abides in its own nature.
II. Sadhana Pada (Practice of Meditation) :
This Pada comprises 55 Sutras which highlight the various practical aspects of the meditative practice to be carried out by an aspirant.
The Sadhana Pada begins with the 'Kriya Yoga' which is one of the essential ingredients for realizing one's Yogic ideal. Austerity, self-study and surrender to Ishvara, these triple essentials constitute the practical 'Kriya Yoga' which is a preparatory self-discipline of an aspirant.
Further, it describes the five kinds of Klesas (afflictions), namely, ignorance, egotism, attachment, aversion and clinging to life which surface in one's mind in four-fold ways. Certain Siutras of this pada suggest the ways as to how these Klesas can be reduced and destroyed.
It also describes as to how one's class of birth, span of life and experiences with regard to pleasures and pains are determined with reference to one's past deeds and karmas (actions), whether good or bed.
Patanjali has suggested in this Pada by means of an aphorism that the pain or misery that has not yet come should be avoided. Describes the nature of Gunas and explains the manifestations of specific, non- specific, characterised (Linga) and non- characterised (Alinga) stages of these Gunas. The specific manifestations of Gunas include 5 organs of perception (ear, skin, eyes, tongue and nose), 5 organs of action (speech, grasp, movement, excretion and reproduction), 5 natural elements (space, air, fire, water and earth) and the mind called Viseshas. The ego and five subtle elements (sound, touch, form, flavour and smell) called tanmatras come under the category of non- specifics (Aviseshas). In Linga and Alinga stages, the objects are clearly visible and non- visible respectively.
Next, he says the Prakriti exists for the sake of Purusa. Their unity is the all source of misery. The object of their union is to create awareness about their respective natures which brings right knowledge leading to liberation of the soul. The union of Purusa and Prakriti is destroyed by the discriminative knowledge which springs up on elimination of ignorance. When the Prakriti has fulfilled its purpose, it gets destroyed in respect of that very particular soul but survives for others.
Further, Patanjali observes that the 'afflictions or impurities (klesas) continue to hide the light of the Purusa till one attains the discriminative knowledge which emerges only on the destruction of afflictions. He recommends the observance of Astanga Yoga on account of which the afflictions get destroyed as a result of which the spiritual radiance springs up that leads one to the manifestation of reality.
In order to attain the true state of Samadhi (meditation), Patanjali has suggested observance of the following eight-fold path of 'Yoga',
(i) Forbearance (Yama); (ii). Self-discipline (Niyama); (iii). Yogic Posture (Asana); (iv). Pranayama; (v). Restraint (Pratyahara); (vi). Attention (Dharana); (vii). Contemplation (Dhyana) and (viii). Meditation (Samadhi). He has also suggested the ways to counteract the evil thoughts and impediments occurring in one's mind while observing these Yamas-Niyamas .
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