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Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: With Great Respect and Love

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: With Great Respect and Love

by Mukunda Stiles (As Told by)

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Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a concise English rendering of the classical text on yoga and meditation. Patanjali is to Yoga what Buddha is to Buddhism. His sutras--defined literally as "the path to transcendence"--are a means to self-realization. With over thirty years of spiritual yoga practice, Mukunda Stiles has written a translation and interpretation which is


Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is a concise English rendering of the classical text on yoga and meditation. Patanjali is to Yoga what Buddha is to Buddhism. His sutras--defined literally as "the path to transcendence"--are a means to self-realization. With over thirty years of spiritual yoga practice, Mukunda Stiles has written a translation and interpretation which is precise and insightful. He provides a clear understanding of Patanjali's works for students of yoga, Eastern philosophy, or psychology, who want to use the sutras for spiritual practice or further study. Also inlcuded is a complete Sanskrit/Englishe keyword section. Text: English (translation)

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Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

By Mukunda Stiles

Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC

Copyright © 2002 Mukunda Stiles
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-57863-201-5



On Being Absorbed in Spirit

I, 1

With great respect and love,
now the blessings of
Yoga instruction
are offered.

I, 2

is experienced
in that mind
which has
to identify itself
with its
vacillating waves of perception.

I, 3

When this happens,
then the Seer is revealed,
resting in its own essential nature,
and one realizes
the True

I, 4

At all other times,
the Self
to assume the form
of thought's
and the True Self

I, 5

The vacillations
are of five types,
which may be either
or not painful.

I, 6

The five vacillations are
correct perception,
and memory.

I, 7

The sources of correct understanding are
direct perception,
inference, and
derived from
reflections on the scriptures,
or from the testimony
of one who knows.

I, 8

Misconception is an
illusory knowledge
founded on an unreliable appearance
lacking its own inherent integrity.

I, 9

Imagination is a
fluctuating knowledge
created by relying upon
the sound of language alone,
and words that are
empty of objective truth.

I, 10

Sleep is a
vacillation of understanding
dependent upon the
absence of mindfulness.

I, 11

Memory is a
vacillation of knowledge
created by
not allowing the objects of
sensory experience
to escape.

I, 12

The vacillating waves of perceptions
are stilled through
consistent earnest practice
dispassionate non-attachment.

I, 13

Of these two,
is the continuous struggle
to become firmly established
in the stable state
of the True Self.

I, 14

That practice
is indeed firmly grounded
when it is pursued incessantly,
with reverence,
for a long time.

I, 15

is the mastery of consciousness,
wherein one is free from craving
objects of enjoyment,
whether they have been perceived
or imagined from
promises in scriptures.

I, 16

The ultimate state of non-attachment
arises from self-realization,
in which there is indifference
to the primordial forces of desire,
as everything
and everyone
is experienced as one's
own True Self.

I, 17

Thorough knowledge
is accompanied by inquiry
into its four forms
analytical thinking about an object,
meditative insights on thoughts,
reflections into the nature of bliss,
and inquiry into one's essential purity.

I, 18

Another form
of thorough knowledge
is preceded by resolute practice
to completely cease
identification with the contents of the mind.
As a result,
only subliminal impressions remain
and their residue
has no impact on the mind.

I, 19

Thorough knowledge
may arise from one's disposition at birth
as in the case of illumined souls
who experience only
their incorporeal state,
merged with nature.

I, 20

For others
who are not born
with this thorough knowledge,
being absorbed in Spirit
is preceded by faith,
indomitable vigor,
and a mindfulness
that is always concerned
with the wisdom
of Oneness.

I, 21

For those who have
an intense urge for Spirit
and wisdom,
it sits near them,

I, 22

For those who have an urge of varying degrees—
mild, moderate, or intense—
due to these differences,
there also arise distinctions
in their sense of closeness
to Spirit.

I, 23

The end of spiritual practice
is only attained
by placing oneself
in the Lord.

I, 24

The Lord
is a distinct Self,
by any form of affliction,
by karma and its effects,
or by the latent impressions
of past actions.

I, 25

In that Self
is the unsurpassed
source of omniscience.

I, 26

That Self
is also unlimited by time,
and is the guru
of the most ancient spiritual teachers.

I, 27

The sound denoting
that Self is
the eternal vibration Aum,
which manifests the
grace of the
divine presence.

I, 28

By constantly repeating
that sacred sound
with great respect and love
and reflecting
upon its meaning,
one attains spiritual wealth.

I, 29

From that practice
arises the attainment of
inward-directed consciousness,
and also
the obstacles
to success

I, 30

These obstacles
to self-knowledge
disrupt and scatter the mind—
they are
dissipation resulting from excess craving,
lack of achieving the concentration
necessary to achieve
higher consciousness,
and instability.

I, 31

these distractions are
and disturbed inhalation and exhalation.

I, 32

In order to prevent
these obstacles from arising,
you should habituate
yourself to meditation
upon a
single principle.

I, 33

By cultivating attitudes
of friendliness
toward happiness,
toward suffering,
toward virtue,
and equanimity
toward vice,
thoughts become purified,
and the obstacles
to self-knowledge
are lessened.

I, 34

Or the obstacles
can be lessened
by forcibly exhaling,
then retaining the prana
during the pause
following the exhalation.

I, 35

Or another way
to steady the mind
is by binding it to
higher, subtler
sense perceptions.

I, 36

Or the mind
can also find peace
by contemplating
the luminous light,
arising from the heart
which is the source of
true serenity.

I, 37

Or another way
is to make the mind's object
a self-realized being
who has transcended
human passions and attachments.

I, 38

Or serenity
can come by
letting the mind be grounded
in knowledge
that has arisen from dreams
or from
the dreamless state of
deep sleep.

I, 39

Or another way
is persistent meditation
in harmony with your
religious heritage.

I, 40

Mastery of tranquillity
extends from the
most minute particle
to the largest,
the form of the entire cosmos.

I, 41

whose vacillations
are steadily diminishing
experiences the mind
as transparent,
just as a high-quality gemstone
reveals the form of objects
placed near it.
They attain
a state of absorption
wherein the knower,
the experience of knowing,
and the object of knowledge
into one

I, 42

There is another
state of absorption
in which an object's qualities—
name, meaning, our knowledge of it,
and our assumptions about it
become blended together,
so that thoughtful distinctions
cannot be made.

I, 43

When the
storehouse of memories and impressions
is completely purified,
perception is
empty of vacillations,
and only the object's
true essence
shines forth in
thought-free perception.

I, 44

Specifically by this process
of absorption with reflection
and absorption beyond reflection,
is the perception of
subtle objects is explained.

I, 45

The process of subtle perception
extends to that
which is without form
and is pure consciousness.

I, 46

These absorptions
are also
accompanied by objective goals,
and are called
absorption with seed.

I, 47

From skillfulness in maintaining
an undisturbed flow
of reflection without seed,
arises illumination of the Inner Self.

I, 48

dwells a luminous wisdom
that upholds the
essence of truth.

I, 49

From this
luminous wisdom
arise unique insights
distinguished from those gained
from scriptural study or inference,
as they serve
a special purpose.

I, 50

Born of this
luminous wisdom is a
subliminal impression
that prevents other impressions
from arising.

I, 51

When the mind
becomes free from obstruction,
all vacillations cease,
and the mind becomes
absorbed into spirit
without producing future seeds.
Thus a new mind is born
of this wisdom,
free of ignorance.



On Practices for Being Immersed in Spirit

II, 1

The practical means
for attaining higher consciousness
consist of three components:
self-discipline and purification,
and devotion
to the Lord.

II, 2

These practices
cultivate an attitude conducive
to being absorbed in Spirit
and minimize
the power
of the primal causes of suffering.

II, 3

There are five
primal causes of suffering:
of your True Self
and the value of spirituality;
and its self-centeredness;
to pleasure;
to pain;
and clinging to life
out of fear of death.

II, 4

is the fertile soil,
and, as a
all other
obstacles persist.
They may exist in any state—
or fully operative.

II, 5

is the view
that the ephemeral,
the impure,
the pain of suffering
—that which is not the Self—
is permanent,
and the True Self.

II, 6

Egoism is the
enmeshing function of the
mind as an instrument
of perception,
as if it were
the Seer's
power of consciousness.
II, 7

is the dwelling upon

II, 8

is the dwelling upon

II, 9

Clinging to life
and the fear of death
are sustained by an intrinsic force
in the same way
that the other primal causes of suffering persist
dominating even the wise.

II, 10

When these
primal causes of suffering
exist in a subtle yet potential form,
they are to be reduced, then destroyed
by the process of involution,
returning them to their source,
the True Self.

II, 11

Their variations
are reduced or overcome

II, 12

The reservoir of subliminal impressions
is the root of the
primal causes of suffering,
producing obstacles and experiences
both in the present
and in unforeseeable
future lives.

II, 13

As long as this
karmic root exists,
the obstacles continue to mature,
predetermining one's
social status, life-span, and experiences.

II, 14

These results may be
joyous or sorrowful,
depending upon one's
merit or demerit.

II, 15

To the discriminating person,
all actions result in only pain.
This pain can arise as a
direct consequence of an action,
in the form of
anguish from unfulfilled desires
and torment from the unwanted
or as a subliminal impression.
Pain can also arise as
a conflict
between thought's vacillations
and the primal
natural forces of desire.

II, 16

The suffering from
pain that has
not yet arisen

II, 17

The cause of that
avoidable pain
is the illusory union
of the Seer with the seen,
so that one does not possess
discriminative knowledge of
the True Self.

II, 18

The seen has the qualities of
luminosity, activity, and stability.
It is embodied through the elements
and the sense organs.
It exists
for the dual purpose of
sensory enjoyment
and liberation
of the Self.

II, 19

The stages of manifestation
of the primal forces of desire are fourfold:
specific differentiation of subject and object,
nonspecific fusing of subject and object,
with form, an awareness of an object's essence,
and without form, a state of superconsciousness.

II, 20

The Seer is
pure consciousness only.
Even though
it appears to see
by directing thoughts and concepts,
it remains unchanged
by the mind's operations.

II, 21

For the sake
of that Self alone
does the seen world exist.

II, 22

Those who know the True Self
have fulfilled life's purpose.
For them, the seen world
ceases to exist,
although, to others
who share the common mind,
it does exist.

II, 23

The association
of the Owner
with its possessions
is for the purpose of obtaining
the power of both
and, through discrimination,
realizing one's
essential nature.

II, 24

of the True Self
is the cause of this illusory union.

II, 25

By the elimination
of that ignorance,
the illusory union
also disappears.
This is the remedy
for the Seer's
absolute freedom.

II, 26

The means for this remedy is
the cultivation of unbroken
discriminative awareness.

II, 27

Through this process,
wisdom progresses through
seven phases,
until it extends to
its fullest realm.

II, 28

By sustained practice
of all the component parts of yoga,
the impurities dwindle away
and wisdom's radiant light
shines forth
with discriminative knowledge.

II, 29

Yoga's eight component parts
are self-control
for social harmony,
for personal discipline,
yoga pose,
regulation of prana,
withdrawal of the senses from their objects,
contemplation of our true nature,
meditation on the True Self,
and being absorbed in Spirit.

II, 30

consists of five principles:
freedom from stealing,
behavior that respects
the Divine as omnipresent,
and freedom from greed.

II, 31

These are called the
great universal vows
when they are extended unconditionally
to nurture everyone,
regardless of status,
place, time, or circumstance.


Excerpted from Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Mukunda Stiles. Copyright © 2002 Mukunda Stiles. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Mukunda Stiles has been a student of yoga since 1969 and living and teaching in ashrams in both India and America. He has been on the board of directors of several international yoga organizations and has directed residential yoga centers in California, Massachusetts, and most recently the Yoga Therapy Center near Boulder, Colorado. Stiles is the author of Structural Yoga Therapy.

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