Patanjali's Yoga Sutras is a celebrated ancient text hailed the world over as a significant milestone in the history of Yoga. This enormously influential work, comprising of a set of 195 pithy aphorisms, is as relevant in today's world as it was when it was written a few centuries ago.
Only a living Master, who has himself experienced the Truth and effortlessly lives his life according to the wisdom of Yoga, can unravel the penetrating insights offered by Patanjali's Yoga Sutras in simple, easy-to-understand terms. This book, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Talks by Dr. Jayadeva and Smt. Hansaji, does just that. Indeed it makes the eternal wisdom of the Yoga Sutras come alive for ardent sadhakas.
Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra was born on April 27, 1929. He completed his MA (Hons.) in Sanskrit and Prakrut from Wilson College, Mumbai. He stood first in the Bombay University. He did his Ph.D. in Samkhya and Yoga in Moksa Parvan in 1965. He has worked ceaselessly at The Yoga Institute, Mumbai, India, which was founded by his father, Shri Yogendraji in 1918. He has conceived and launched many educational and therapeutic programmes. Dr. Jayadeva was appointed by the Government of India as the Governing Body member of the Central Council for Medical Research in Indian Medicine and Homoeopathy. He was also Member, Scientific Advisory Board of Yoga.
Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra is a prolific writer and has edited several books and edited the Yoga Cyclopaedia series. He has also edited Yoga Today, Yoga in Modern Life, Yoga Therapy in Asthma, Diabetes and Heart Disease, etc. He is presently the Editor of the journal Yoga and Total Health, which was founded in 1933. He is currently the President of The Yoga Institute, Santacruz, Mumbai India.
Smt. Hansaji Jayadeva Yogendra is the President of the International Board of Yoga, and Director of The Yoga Institute, Mumbai. She was born in 1947 in Mumbai completed her education from the Nanavati Girls High School, which was run on Gandhian principles. She then went on to complete her B.Sc and LL.B (G). She is a popular orator and has authored several books like Yoga for Back and Joint Disorders, Pregnancy Parenthood and Yoga, Yogic Life (control of Diabetes, Thoughts on the Gita, Insights through Yoga, Dincharya, etc. She has also hosted a television series on yoga on the national network.
Hansaji is the Vice President of Indian Yoga Association. She is the founder member of the Council of Yoga Accreditation International. She is the chairperson of the Yoga Quality Council of India. She was awarded the Woman of the Year title by The American Biographical Institute in 2000.
The International Association of the Yoga Therapists presented a special award to Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra and Hansaji Jayadeva Yogendra in recognition of The Yoga Institute's pioneering contribution to the field of Yoga education, therapeutics and research.
Yoga is ancient. When you read Yogic literature, you are surprised at the wisdom of the Yogis, their knowledge of the details of the human body, mind, and their attainment of the higher levels of consciousness. Yoga is a science of living, and the path is explained very systematically in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The Yoga Institute relies on experiential data as corroborated by the Yoga Sutras and as obtained by Shri Yogendraji from Paramahamsa Madhavadasaji, Basically, the spirit of Yoga is enshrine in spiritual awareness that becomes available to a practitioner through the very processes of Yoga. All that the theoretical exposition of Yoga or practical training does is to remove obstructions to the unfolding of this awareness that is inherent in us all. We cannot infuse spiritual awareness in a person if it isn't already there in him. Classical Yoga claims for itself the ability to get rid of the obvious limitations that cloud our consciousness. In this sense, Yoga theory and practice should be evaluated from the point of their ability to overcome materialistic limitations that come in the way of spiritual evolution. If the asanas are done just for display and competition, if the kriyas are carried out to cure a particular symptom, or if a psychosomatic process is gone through to overcome disease conditions or for recreation and merely physical relaxation, it is certain that none of the obstacles (that are the handiwork of kleshas) to spiritual awareness will be overcome. In fact, such acts only strengthen the kleshas.
The Yoga Institute has been constantly stating that mechanical processes by themselves do not constitute the essential Yoga. Attitudes of the right kind, elevating experiences that add to a comprehensive understanding of life, expanded awareness that directs itself are essential and the Yoga practitioner must move in that direction.
The thoughts on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali have been presented in this book in a simple manner; they are a rendering of the talks by Dr. Jayadeva who has experienced Yoga and is known to practice what he preaches.
Yoga is one of the six systems of Indian philosophy. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are a milestone in the history of Yoga; the book is a set of 195 aphorisms (sutras), which are short, terse phrases designed to be easy to memorize. Though brief, the Yoga Sutras are an enormously influential work and are just as relevant for Yoga philosophy and practice today as they were when they were written. To understand the work's title, it is necessary to consider the meanings of its two component words. The Sanskrit word Yoga, as used by Patanjali, refers to a state of mind where thoughts and feelings are held in check. Sutra means "thread". This is a reference to the thread of a mala (necklace) upon which, figuratively speaking, the Yoga aphorisms that make up the work's contents are strung like beads. For this reason, the title is sometimes rendered in English as the. Yoga Aphorisms The Padma Purana defines a sutra as: ": sutra should have few alphabets (alpa-akshara), an unambiguous meaning, be full of essence [sara-yukta], said only after considering all arguments for and against it, infallible, and without blemish." Traditionally, the most prominent commentary is that of Vyasa, to whose work Vachaspati Misra has contributed an explanation.
Philosophical Roots and Influences
According to scholars, the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali were written around 200 B.C. or even earlier. S.N. Dasgupta, a renowned scholar, is of the view that this is the same Patanjali who authored the Mahabhasya, a treatise on Sanskrit grammar. The sutras are built on a foundation of Samkhya philosophy and the Bhagavad Gita. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali prescribes adherence to eight "limbs" or steps i.e. Ashtanga Yoga, to quieten one's mind and merge with the infinite. These eight limbs not only systematized conventional moral principles expounded by the Bhagavad Gita, but elucidated the practice of Raja Yoga in a more detailed manner. The Yoga Sutras not only provide Yoga with a thorough and consistent philosophical basis, but, in the process, also clarify many important esoteric concepts (like karma) common to all traditions of Indian thought.
Patanjali - Codifier of the Yoga Sutras
Patanjali codified, or compiled in a systematic way, the art and science of Yoga in the Yoga Sutras. The Yoga Sutras succinctly outline the art and science of Yoga for Self- Realization. Nothing new was created with the Yoga Sutras; they merely summarized the ancient practices in an extremely organized and terse way. While the Yoga Sutra itself is ancient, archaeological evidence and other texts suggest that the methods described in the Yoga Sutras were being practiced as early as 3000 BC. Oral tradition suggests that the date may even be older. Scholars estimate that Patanjali lived sometime between 400 BC and 200 AD, though they are in disagreement about these dates.
Patanjali divided his Yoga Sutras into four chapters or padas, containing in all 195 aphorisms divided as follows:
SAMADHI PADA (51 sutras)
Samadhi refers to a blissful state where the Yogi is absorbed into the One. The author describes Yoga, and then the means to attaining Samadhi. This chapter contains the most famous verses: "atha yoga anushasanam" (Yoga begins with discipline) and "Yogah chitta vritti nirodhah" ("Yoga is control of "chitta vrittis" - i.e. thoughts and feelings or the whole personality-complex).
SADHANA PADA (55 sutras)
Sadhana is the Sanskrit word for "practice. Here, the author outlines two forms of Yoga: Kriya Yoga (Yoga of Action) and Ashtanga Yoga (Eightfold Yoga). Kriya Yoga, sometimes called Karma Yoga, is reflected in the philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3, where Arjuna is encouraged to act without attachment to the results of action. It is the Yoga of selfless action or, as some have observed, of service.
Ashtanga Yoga or the Yoga of Eight Limbs
The eight "limbs" or steps are: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. A number of commentators break these eight steps into two categories:
Bahiranga Yoga - yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, and pratyahara. The second category, called Antaranga Yoga, consists of dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. These last three - dharana, dhyana and samadhi - are not bound by time or succession; that they exist independently and also exist simultaneously. Anyone, two, or three can exist at the same time. When the three stages exist simultaneously they are called samyama, the "simultaneous existence".
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