Demystifying Patanjali: The Yoga Sutras: The Wisdom of Paramhansa Yogananda as Presented by his Direct Disciple, Swami Kriyanandaby Paramhansa Yogananda, Swami Kriyananda
About 2200 years ago, a great spiritual master of India named Patanjali described this
What happens as we grow spiritually? Is there a step-by-step process that everyone goes through—all spiritual seekers, including those of any or no religious persuasion—as they gradually work their way upward, until they achieve the highest state of Self-realization?
About 2200 years ago, a great spiritual master of India named Patanjali described this process, and presented humanity with a clear-cut, step-by-step outline of how all truth seekers and saints achieve divine union. He called this universal inner experience and process “yoga” or “union.” His collection of profound aphorisms—a true world scripture—has been dubbed Patanjali's Yoga Sutras.
Unfortunately, since that time many scholarly translators with little or no spiritual realization have written commentaries on Patanjali's writings that have succeeded only in burying his pithy insights in convoluted phrases like “becomes assimilated with transformations” and “the object alone shines without deliberation.” How can any reader understand Patanjali's original meaning when he or she has to wade through such bewildering terminology?
Thankfully, a great modern yoga master—Paramhansa Yogananda, author of the classic Autobiography of a Yogi—has cut through the scholarly debris and resurrected Patanjali's original teachings and revelations. Now, in Demystifying Patanjali, Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Yogananda, shares his guru's crystal clear and easy-to-grasp explanations of Patanjali's aphorisms.
As Kriyananda writes in his introduction, “My Guru personally shared with me some of his most important insights into these sutras. During the three and a half years I lived with him, he also went with me at great length into the basic teachings of yoga.
“I was able, moreover, to ask my Guru personally about many of the subjects covered by Patanjali. His explanations have lingered with me, and have been a priceless help in the [writing of this book].”
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Meet the Author
Paramhansa Yogananda was born on January 5, 1893 in Gorakhpur, India. He was the first yoga master of India to permanently live and teach in the West. Yogananda arrived in America in 1920, and traveled throughout the United States on what he called his 'spiritual campaigns'. His enthusiastic audiences filled the largest halls in America. Hundreds of thousands came to see the yogi from India. At some packed venues thousands were turned away nightly. A national sensation, Yogananda's lectures and books were extensively written about by the major media of the era, including Time Magazine, Newsweek, and Life. He was even invited to the White House by President Calvin Coolidge. Yogananda continued to lecture and write up to his passing in 1952.
Yogananda's initial impact was truly impressive. But his lasting impact has been even greater. Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi, first published in 1946, helped launch a spiritual revolution throughout the world. His message was nonsectarian and universal. Yogananda's Guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, sent him to the West with the admonition, "The West is high in material attainments, but lacking in spiritual understanding. It is God's will that you play a role in teaching mankind the value of balancing the material with an inner, spiritual life."
Yogananda brought clarity to hundreds of thousands of people regarding the ancient teachings of India - previously shrouded in the cultural assumptions and terminology of an era long past. These teachings include the path of Kriya Yoga, which Yogananda called the 'jet-airplane' route to God, consisting of ancient yoga techniques to hasten the spiritual evolution of the student.
"The true basis of religion is not belief, but intuitive experience. Intuition is the soul's power of knowing God. To know what religion is really all about, one must know God," said Paramhansa Yogananda in the book "The Essence of Self-Realization". He further wrote that "Self- Realization is the knowing in all parts of body, mind, and soul that you are now in possession of the kingdom of God; that you do not have to pray that it come to you; that God's omnipresence is your omnipresence; and that all that you need to do is improve your knowing."
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I wrote the bit below for our bookstore's magazine, but I'll add a few more personal comments as well. This was the last scriptural commentary Swamiji wrote before his passing, and it's a nice feeling of completeness to get Patanjali covered in that collection finally. Very different feel to this book compared to, say, The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita. By this point, Swami seems to have been writing in a much more informal flow, almost like he's just talking to you about it all in his living room. And so that's sort of sweet, though the insights are still as spiritually deep and valid as in any of his other books. I don't relate to Patanjali as much as to the other masters and scriptures that are more directly related to our path (speaking as a Yogananda devotee), and so I don't have this on quite the same pedestal as some of Swami's other books. But if you want to know what Patanjali was all about, this is the thing to read. - - - magazine review - - - For the past 2,200 years, Patanjali’s yoga sutras have provided humanity with a non-sectarian roadmap to the entire spiritual path. However, few are able to grasp the subtleties of these teachings, and the many translations and commentaries over the years have more often confused than clarified them. It was the great yoga master Paramhansa Yogananda who brought the ancient teachings into the modern age through direct revelation. Now, direct disciple Swami Kriyananda shares his guru’s insights with his trademark clarity, compassion, and humor, in a guide for seekers of all paths.
I have found this book very helpful, it has an innate* wisdom that is beyond words, just have to read it *in·nate [ih-neyt, in-eyt] Show IPA adjective 1.existing in one from birth; inborn; native: innate musical talent.