Intro to The Yoga Sutras
A Step by Step Approach to Inner Peace
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali were compiled approximately 2,000 years ago by the sage Patanjali from an oral tradition reaching back into unknowable antiquity. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are a systematic guide on liberating the the mind from a never ending stream of illusionary thoughts and distractions. Once the distractions of the mind are eliminated, we find liberation (Kaivalya) from the suffering caused by not knowing the essence of our true Selves: that we are more than the body, emotion, mind and intellect.
Through the study of the Yoga Sutras it is revealed that the distractions of the body and the mind prevent us from seeing ourselves for the true blissful beings that we are. Identification with the ego, likes and dislikes, constant comparison, attachments and fears are the cause of all suffering. This ancient collection of aphorisms provides guidance to find liberation from suffering and to connect with our highest Self.
Sutras – ‘Threads of Knowledge’
A collection of 196 statements, the Yoga Sutras provides a philosophical guide for dealing with the challenges of being human. The Sutras provide us with the practice of meditation, focusing on the cessation of the turnings of the mind, in order to experience the blissful experience that is our truest nature.
Sutra is the Sanskrit word for “string” or “thread.” Reading one or two sutras will surely give you some insight into the deeper meanings of Yoga but it is not until you begin to weave the threads together that the full mandala of Yoga is revealed. Patanjali speaks primarily from a point of view of the “Samkhya Philosophy of Duality” and the meditative ‘Raja Yoga Path’, giving us much of the Sanskrit vocabulary we see in the sutras.
The Yoga Sutras provide a systematic approach to find liberation from the mind and to thus connect with our true blissful nature. The Yoga Sutras outline ‘Eight Limbs of Yoga’ as a path to liberation. While term “yoga” appeared in the Vedas long before Patanjali lived, the Yoga Sutras stand in history as the first comprehensive treatise on the method of yoga and liberation
Path of Inner Discovery
Patanjali tells us that the pure blissful inner Self is already attained and all that is required is to lose interest in that which is not the Self. This is pretty straight forward, and we learn all we need to know in the first three sutras. Presuming we will not get it the first time, he goes on to detail the nature of the Self, the practices that will awaken us, the attainments that arise from the practices and then explains about the state of final liberation…..
Stay tuned in to our monthly newsletter to continue this exploration of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and deepen your understanding of yoga philosophy!
The Sacred Paths Yoga Sutras Blog is written by, translated word by word from Sanskrit to English and features commentary by Sacred Paths Yoga founder Darin Lehman.
Appreciation for Patanjali, Dennis Hill, Brahmananda Saraswati, Satchitananda, The Sanskrit Dictionary https://www.learnsanskrit.cc/ and all those keeping the light of the yoga sutras relevant in todays world.