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Yoga Sutras By Patanjali (Ashtanga Yoga) - Samadhi Pada Sutra 1

By Yogacharya Vishwas Mandlik

Yoga Sutra - 2

Yoga Sutra - 3

Yoga Sutra - 4

Yoga Sutras by Patanjali were written to explain the process and systematic analysis of practical methods for awakening and expanding the higher faculties of mind, intellect, quality of consciousness. It explores the true potential of human mind beyond the limits of time and space, a sure way eventually going beyond the mind.

This is an ancient but basic text on Yoga as written by Sage Patanjali 400 years B.C. As the printing technology was not available at that time, this text has been transferred through generations by oral recitations (Shruti). That is why the whole knowledge of yoga is very concisely packed in total 196 lines or Sanskrit Sutras by Patanjali so that students can easily remember these sutras...

The language used for these sutras is Sanskrit, it is little difficult to understand. But still it is interesting journey in understanding these Sutras and to know the basic principles of science of yoga. Sanskrit is called the language of Gods, grammar is very accurately maintained in Sanskrit. The constructions can be very concise and precise meaning.

The total 196 Sutras are divided in 4 chapters, 1st chapter is Samadhi Pada which consists of 51 Sutras, basic definition of yoga, importance of yoga and different types of states of Samadhi are described in this Sutras and ways to achieve states of Samadhi.

Patanjali starts with the first Sutra
Atha Yoganushasanam || (1-1)

Atha - now, Yoga - science of Yoga, Anushasanam - Discipline or set of instructions Now, (start with) the discipline of yoga

If you are given a book, then the first question in your mind will be "What is this book?". Knowing the question of the reader or starter in yoga, Patanjali answers this question in first sutra. He says, now I am explaining the discipline / instructions of science of yoga. There are 3 words in the first sutra, Atha, Yoga and Anushasanam. It is a very old tradition in Indian scriptures to use word Atha in the beginning of every text or every important process. Hence Patanjali wants to mention that he is starting the explanation of Yoga. The literary meaning of Atha is "Now" or "Hereafter". Patanjali expects that the reader has studied many philosophies and now he is starting to study the philosophy of Yoga.

After the meaning of first sutra, next question is there in the mind of every reader and that is What is Yoga? Patanjali explains this in next sutra which we will discuss in the next session.

References -

1. Science of Yoga - I.K. Taimini
2. Four Chapters on Freedom - Swami Satyananda Saraswati
3. Yoga Sutra - Mr. K. K. Kolhatkar
4. Yoga Sutra - Original Sanskrit Text