The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali is a classic Sanskrit treatise consisting of 195 "threads," or aphorisms, describing the process of liberation through yoga. Although little is known about Patanjali (most scholars estimate that he lived in India circa 200-300 b.c.), his writings have long been recognized as a vital contribution to the philosophy and practice of yoga. This new, expert translation of the original Sanskrit text of Patanjali's best-known work presents his seminal ideas and methods in accessible, plain-language English.
Patanjali organized the sutra into four parts: Samadhi (absorption), Sadhana (practice), Vibhuti (supernatural powers), and Kaivalya (liberation). Each represents a step in breaking free of our limited definition of consciousness and training the mind to achieve oneness with the universe. Geshe Michael Roach, one of the most respected teachers of Tibetan Buddhism in America and a renowned scholar of Sanskrit, provides authoritative commentary on each of the sutras. His notes and clarification are straightforward and highly readable, untainted by obscure, academic terminology or New Age jargon. The first edition of the Yoga Sutra to present a Buddhist perspective, this paperback original will be welcomed by students and spiritual seekers alike.
Patanjali's Yoga Sutra is a foundational ancient text that examines the purpose and practice of yoga. Longtime American Buddhist teacher Roach, who holds the distinguished title of geshe (comparable to a Ph.D. in Buddhist religious studies), provides commentary to McNally's fresh translation of this aphoristic text from ca. 250 B.C.E. Yoga means union, and this interpretation unites the ways of Buddhism and yoga, making it useful for students of either practice. Roach's commentary reveals the text's logic and organization, unpacking its density in 108 short sections, each devoted to a few lines of the text. An index of important ideas in the sutra is helpful. Like any classic sacred text, this one is deceptively simple, inviting study, as Roach notes ("Now that you've read this book, you need to use it"). The text is dense and the commentary short, so this is not a book for beginners. The subtitle is misleading: as how-to books go, this is fairly abstract ("Everything we see around us is either at work or at rest"), lacking real anecdotes or examples to illustrate ideas. But for more experienced students and those interested in the intersection between yoga and Buddhism, this is a stimulating presentation of an influential text. (Aug. 16)
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Three Rivers Press
December 26, 2005
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