The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Book Summary - The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Book explained in key points
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The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali summary

Translated and commentated on by Sri Swami Satchidananda

Timeless Teachings for Mind, Body, and Emotional Harmony

4.7 (359 ratings)
25 mins

Brief summary

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, translated and commentated on by Sri Swami Satchidananda, is a guide to the path of yoga, offering insights into the mind and its control, the practice of meditation and its benefits, and the attainment of inner peace and liberation.

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    The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
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    Sri Swami Satchidananda interprets the Yoga Sutras in a way that makes them open to people of any spiritual background.

    Sometime between 500 BC and 300 AD, an Indian spiritual teacher named Patañjali described the core principles of yoga in a series of 196 aphorisms, which are called sutras in Sanskrit. The result became known as the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali

    This is one of the main ancient texts about yoga, so if you want to learn about yogic philosophy and practice, it’s a natural place to start. There’s just one problem: the way it’s written. 

    Each sutra is a short, dense, often cryptic sentence or sentence fragment. Many don’t even have clear subjects and predicates. Some believe that’s because they’re just shorthand notes Patañjali’s students jotted down as reminders of what he said in lectures. As a result, the sutras require thoughtful translation and interpretation. 

    Enter twentieth-century Indian yoga master Sri Swami Satchidananda. 

    The key message here is: Sri Swami Satchidananda interprets the Yoga Sutras in a way that makes them open to people of any spiritual background. 

    As a young adult, Satchidananda studied agriculture, science, and technology, but he grew dissatisfied and eventually gave them up to devote himself to yoga. For years, he regarded the Yoga Sutras as the guiding text of his spiritual journey. In the late 1970s, after becoming an internationally renowned yoga master, he decided to write his own translation and interpretation of the Sutras in order to bring it to a religiously diverse modern audience. 

    Now, the Sutras are considered a Hindu scripture, but Satchidananda didn’t identify himself as belonging to Hinduism or any particular religion. He saw yoga as just one of many ways of expressing, understanding, and applying the same basic truths contained in other religions and spiritual philosophies, such as Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. 

    Consider the word yoga itself. In Sanskrit, “yoga” means “union.” In practicing yoga, you’re trying to achieve union – which raises an obvious question: Union with what? Like the world’s many different spiritual traditions, Satchidananda calls it many different names: God, Puruṣa, Atman, Īśvara, the Seer, and the cosmic mind, among others. But to him, the name isn’t the important thing; it’s the underlying truth that matters. 

    And what is that truth? Well, ultimately, it surpasses the limits of language, but it’s the idea that there’s some sort of spirit, substance, principle, consciousness, being, or force lying beyond and manifesting itself within the material universe. 

    Call it what you will. The point is to recognize it, connect to it, and let its power transform you. 

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    What is The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali about?

    The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (1978) is a classic text on yogic philosophy and practice. Written in ancient Sanskrit, it explains the core metaphysical, spiritual, psychological, moral, and ethical ideas of yoga. It also lays out the principles of how to practice yoga, so you can put those ideas into action and use them to achieve lasting happiness and inner peace. 

    The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Review

    The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (no specific publishing date) offers profound wisdom on the practice of yoga and the art of living a meaningful life. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides timeless teachings that serve as a guide to finding inner peace and spiritual growth.
    • With its practical insights and guidance on meditation and self-discipline, it offers a blueprint for achieving balance and harmony in daily life.
    • The book's accessible language and Swami Satchidananda's commentary make the ancient teachings relatable and applicable in the modern world.

    Who should read The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali?

    • Seekers of wisdom, happiness, and peace 
    • Followers of Eastern spiritual traditions 
    • Anyone interested in those traditions

    About the Author

    Patañjali was an ancient Indian spiritual teacher – or possibly the name of, or given to, a number of teachers. He lived sometime between 500 BC and 300 AD, and his Sutras form one of the foundational texts of yoga. 

    Sri Swami Satchidananda was a twentieth-century Indian yoga master, teacher, and popularizer who helped to bring yogic ideas and practices to a modern Western audience.

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    The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali?

    The main message of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is the path to achieving self-realization through yoga.

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    The reading time for The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just a few minutes.

    Is The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a valuable read for anyone interested in yoga and spirituality. It provides profound insights and practical guidance for personal growth.

    Who is the author of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali?

    The author of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is Sri Swami Satchidananda.

    What to read after The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali?

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