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The Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali


Works are often credited to their writers and so does Ashtanga Yoga. Although around 3200 years ago Pantanjali is regarded as the one that put together and assimilated all previous works of yoga into one manageable system called Ashtanga Yoga - The Eight Limbs of Yoga. See the picture above for a copy. It is also considered that there were more contributors to the same book. The myth goes that Lord Vishnu was seated on Adishesha watching a dance. The Lord was absorbed in the dance and his body vibrated to the rhythm making him heavy as he gasped for breath. The end of the dance led him to regain lightness again. Given that this change was caused by the dance, Adishesha desired to dance to exalt his Lord and therefore began to meditate of his mother to be on earth.

Gonika was a yogini who prayed to get a son to impart the knowledge and wisdom she had since she was approaching her end. Adishesha identified her as a worthy mother and thus when she was meditating to the sun, a tiny snake was felt in her palms which took the form of a human being. The tiny male sought of Gonika to take him as her son. She took him in and named him Patanjali.

More myths have been documented to the explanation of Patanjali. However, they all attest to the supernatural being of the sage. Thus Patanjali is presented as a great being. The works and text of yoga present a significant practice in life. His life is however not entirely brought to the light, an aspect that may remain obscured even in the future but the yoga text is well defined and presented for the life of humans, if well practiced and in devotion.

References

Feuerstein, Georg. The Deeper Dimension of Yoga: Theory and Practice. Shambhala Publications, 2003.

---. The Philosophy of Classical Yoga. Inner Traditions/Bear & Co, 1996.

Naikar, Chandramouli S. Patanjali of Yogasutras. Sahitya Akademi, 2002.

Ninan, M. M. The Development of Hinduism. Madathil Mammen Ninan, 2008.

Ravikanth, B. Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Sanskrit Works, 2012.


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