As a Yogi, the Yoga Sutras are the primary text of our path. We do not know when it was created, but we do know that it was codified somewhere between 300- 500 CE by a being name Patanjali. The historians of yoga are not clear if this was the name of a person or a general title given to the messenger as a semi-god and codifier.
In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are all the answers we seek. The brilliance of this gem is not in the words of the 196 Sutras but the reflective space each Sutra offers the Yogi to self-reflect, self-understand and self-empower.
The word Sutra has two meanings:
1. To bind, to bring together for understanding and knowledge, like a suture binds the skin together so that it may heal.
2. A good tool. “Su” means good and “Tra” means tool. Therefore, Sutra means it is a good tool.
Patanjali has divided the Yoga Sutras into four chapters. The first chapter is titled “Pada Samadhi”. Often in philosophical texts the ultimate path is offered at the beginning and sub sequential chapters offer more adaptable and accessible paths on this journey. The first 16 sutras gives purpose to all the remaining 180 sutras that follow. We can even narrow it down to the first 3….
Sutra 1.1 atha yoga anushasanam
NOW Begins the Exploration of Yoga
Sutra 1.2 yoga citta vritti nirodhaha
Yoga quiets the swirls in the mindfield that hinder the process of developing clarity and clear perception.
Sutra 1.3 tada drashtuh svarupe ‘vasthanam
Then the seer abides in its true essence… Then the seer has a clear perception of itself.
Every Sutra is comprised of just a few words, the intent was that this journey would be embarked upon with a teacher and the sutras would offer guidance for the teacher to advice the student. With this in mind, as you read the sutras don’t jump too quickly to interpret and give meaning, sit with it and take time to understand them and concurrently understand yourself.
Enjoy the journey home fellow travelers, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is an amazing Guide Book for Life.
As much as we strive to understand you
your nature is now elusive to us
We call you Editor and Codifier
We call you Diety and Guru
You are nameless and undefinable
We simple bow humbly to you
With Gratitude for the Yoga Sutras
Which guide us Consciously on the Path
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