The yoga sutras of patanjali: satchidananda, sri swami

Sage Patanjali (c. 200 BC), the greakiểm tra yoga master of all times, the author of the principle text on yoga — The Yoga Sutras, in whom is present the soul of all great masters of yoga who practiced, taught and lived yoga in their lives. Our homage to the successive tradition of all masters through which the yogic wisdom has reached us to lớn enlighten our world with the noble principles of non-violence (ahimsa), friendliness (maitri) & karuna (compassion).

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Sage Patanjali in the Patanjali Yoga Kendra. In March 1998, different Pujas were performed for the purification of the new, enlarged Yoga Hall & for the installation of Sage Patanjali.

His Life

Patanjali, undoubtedly the greathử nghiệm expounder of Yoga, lived sometime between 500 & 200 B.C. The life of Patanjali is an enigma khổng lồ modern historians, & almost nothing is known about this great Master who epitomizes Yoga. It is only with the help of legends that one can draw inferences about him. Undoubtedly he was a great Yoga adept và was perhaps the head of a school in which “Swadhyaya”, study of the Self, was regarded as an important aspect of spiritual practice.

Indian history is presumptive of several individuals by the name of Patanjali. Three of them were well-known; the first one being the famous grammarian who wrote the commentary on Panini’s Ashtadhyayi (the Mahabhashya) & compiled the Yoga Sutras, the classical text on Raja Yoga. The Mahabhashya symbolises the perfection of the discipline in grammar. The object of grammar is to supply rules for control of current speech (laukika) for the preservation of the integrity of the Vedas and the comprehension of proper meaning. The second person named Patanjali wrote the Nidana-Sutras, considered indispensable for the study of the Vedic ritual literature; while the third was a well-known teacher of Samkhya Philosophy. The above three people, in the historian"s view, happen to come from different time periods and are considered khổng lồ be different personalities. The Indian Tradition however, differs in opinion strongly & advocates that the above sầu different treatises were done by a single person và even further, attributes various medical treatises to hlặng.

In the Indian tradition, Patanjali is said lớn be self-born, swayambhu. He was a highly-evolved soul who incarnated of his own will in a human khung lớn help humanity.

He is also considered an incarnation of Ananta, the source of all wisdom (Jnana) and of Shesha, the thousand-headed ruler of the serpent race, which is thought to lớn guard the hidden treasures of the earth. Ananta depicts a couch on which God Vishnu reclines. He is the Lord of serpents and his many heads symbolize Infinity or Omnipresence. Many yogis bow to Ananta before they begin their daily yogic practice.

In one of the legends, it is said that Lord Vishnu was seated on Adishesha, the Lord of serpents as His couch, watching the enchanting dance of Lord Shiva. Lord Vishnu was so totally absorbed in the dance of Lord Shiva, that His toàn thân began lớn vibrate lớn its rhythm. This vibration made Hlặng heavier and heavier, causing Adishesha to feel so uncomfortable that he was gasping for breath and was on the point of collapse. The moment the dance came khổng lồ an kết thúc, Lord Vishnu’s body became light again. Adishesha was amazed & asked his master the cause of these stupendous changes. The Lord explained that the grace, beauty, majesty và grandeur of Lord Shiva’s dance had created corresponding vibrations in His own body toàn thân, making it heavy. Marvelling at this, Adishesha professed a desire to lớn learn dance so as to lớn exalt his Lord. Vishnu then became thoughtful, & predicted that soon Lord Shiva would grace Adishesha to write a commentary on grammar, và that he would then also be able to lớn devote himself to lớn perfection in the art of dance. Adishesha was overjoyed by these words và looked forward khổng lồ the descent of Lord Shiva’s grace.

Adishesha then began lớn meditate lớn ascertain who would be his mother on earth. In meditation, he had the vision of a yogini by the name of Gonika who was praying for a worthy son to lớn whom she could impart her knowledge and wisdom. He at once realized that she would be a worthy mother for hyên, and awaited an auspicious moment to become her son.

Gonika, thinking that her earthly life was approaching its kết thúc, và that her desire of finding a worthy son would remain unfulfilled; now, as a last resort looked to lớn the Sun God, the living witness of God on earth & prayed khổng lồ Him lớn fulfil her desire. She took a handful of water as a final oblation to lớn Hyên ổn, closed her eyes & meditated on the Sun. As she was about to lớn offer the water, she opened her eyes & looked at her palms. To her surprise, she saw a tiny snake moving in her palms, who soon took on a human khung. This tiny male human being prostrated to Gonika và asked her lớn accept hyên ổn as her son. This she did and named hyên ổn Patanjali because her hands had been in the prayerful gesture (anjali) và he had fallen (pat) from heaven.*

Compiled from “Light on Patanjali Yoga Sutras” by Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar.


Another incidence is said lớn have happened in Chidambaram (also known as Thillai ) located about a hundred miles from Madras. Chidambaram is considered khổng lồ be one of the holiest temples in India. In this temple, Lord Nataraja is present in his cosmic-nhảy đầm size. The story goes that once in Darukavaphái mạnh, Shiva wished khổng lồ teach a lesson lớn the Rishis who were proud of their learning. Shiva took the khung of a mendicant with a begging bowl in h&, accompanied by Vishnu disguised as Mohini. The rishipatnis (wives of the Rishis) were attracted by the sight of this beautiful pair.

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The Rishis grew angry and tried to lớn destroy the pair. They performed a sacrificial fire and raised a tiger from the fire, which sprang at Shiva. Shiva pealed off the skin of the tiger & wrapped it round his waist. Then again the Rishis sent a poisonous serpent & Shiva tied it round his neông chồng. Then the Rishis sent against Shiva an Apasmara Purusha, Muyalaka, whom Lord Shiva crushed by pressing hyên ổn to lớn the ground with his foot.

At this, the Rishis confessed defeat và Shiva started lớn dance before all the Gods and Rishis. Lord Adishesha heard the description of Shiva’s dance at Darukavaphái nam from Vishnu và requested Vishnu to lớn allow hyên ổn lớn witness the dance himself. Vishnu agreed to lớn this. Adishesha performed penance và prayed khổng lồ Shiva khổng lồ allow hyên ổn lớn see the dance. Being pleased with his penance, Shiva appeared to him và promised that he would dance at Tillai (Chidambaram). Accordingly, Adishesha was born as a human being, as Patanjali, và went to the forest of Tillai.

At this time a certain sage, Vyaghrapada, also lived in this forest. Vyaghrapada was the son of Madhyandimãng cầu Rishi who lived on the banks of the Ganga. He came to the South under the directions of his father và started praying khổng lồ the Swayambhulinga under a banyan tree near a tank in this Tillai forest. He used to lớn collect flowers for puja and he prayed for the boon of getting tiger’s feet & claws, so that he could easily climb up the trees and pluchồng plenty of flowers. He also prayed for the eyes of bees, so that he could collect the flowers before any bee could taste the honey in them. His prayer for these two blessings was granted, and since he had the feet of a tiger, he was called Vyaghrapadomain authority.

Each constructed his own hermitage, Patanjali at Ananteeswaram and Vyaghrapada at Tirupuleeswaram in Chidambaram. They started worshipping Shiva in the size of the Swayambhulinga in Tillai forest. Days passed & when the time came for Shiva to lớn give them Darshan, the guardian Goddess of the place, Kalika Devi, interfered and did not allow Shiva to give sầu His Darshan.

Shortly afterwards, Shiva and Devi agreed that they should participate in a dance contest and that the winner should have undisputed possession of Tillai. So the dance started. At one moment during the dance, the Lord’s earrings fell down, but the Lord took them up from the floor in such a way that notoàn thân could notice the loss & the recovery. This dance is called Urdhva Tandavam in which Shiva defeated Kalika Devi.

Now Nataraja performed the Ananda Tandavam, i.e. the Dance of Bliss, in the presence of Shivakamasundari và all the Gods và Rishis, & at the same time fulfilled the wish of the two devotees, Patanjali và Vyaghrapadomain authority, by allowing them khổng lồ witness it and thus satisfying them.

Another story tells that once upon a time Nandi, Shiva’s carrier, would not allow Patanjali Muni khổng lồ have sầu Darshan of Lord Shiva (Nataraja of Chidambaram). In order to lớn reach Lord Shiva, Patanjali, with his mastery over grammatical forms, spontaneously composed a prayer in praise of the Lord without using any extended (Dirgha) syllable, (without Charamãng cầu và Shringa) i.e. leg và horn, to lớn tease Nandi.

Shiva was quickly pleased, gave Darshan lớn the devotee và danced to the lilting tune of this tuy vậy.

These three short legends throw some light upon Patanjali & his greatness. Today unfortunately even Patanjali’s lineage does not appear khổng lồ exist anymore. Patanjali’s life is obscure, with precise details about his place of birth, life and personality missing; this uncertainty however does not detract the great merit of the Patanjali Yoga-Sutras. It is the most condensed traditional outline of the yogic path & should be studied in depth by all serious students of Yoga. Yogacharya B.K.S Iyengar, who is definitely one of the greademo exponents of Patanjali Yoga Sutras, is responsible for shedding much light on the greatness of Patanjali & his writings. It is his great vision that brought to lớn the forefront, the science of Patanjali Yoga Sutras & its benefit to lớn our daily lives.