Tuesday, August 17, 2010
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali trans and interpreted by Sri Swami Satchidananda
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Sri Swami Satchidananda is a translation (with transliteration) of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, a classic text on the practice of yoga and the eight branches of yoga. As with any commentary by a single person, the perspective is narrow. These are one man’s opinion of what the aphorisms mean and how to interpret them in our own lives.
There are times when Satchidananda can be a bit flippant in his explanation, sort of dumbing the text down to make is accessible for the masses. I can see how some people would read this and find it almost insulting to one’s intelligence.
It all depends on where you are in your yoga practice. If you are new to yoga philosophy, a more simplified explanation of Patanjali’s text is probably welcome. I wonder if some people who are familiar with The Yoga Sutras might not also benefit from a more simple explanation. After all, we tend to intellectualize spirituality and yet all of the great teachers have taught that these things are easy. Sometimes it is a good thing to step back from the cerebral and just look at these things from a different angle.
Albeit, I think I was/am ready for more depth which is why I can’t say I loved this book. I have another translation and interpretation to read and I’m eager to begin it but I’ve already committed to reading something else first. And I’m going to hold onto this book. When I’ve read one or two other interpretations, I may want to set them up side-by-side and do a comparison. Like reading different translations of the Bible and commentaries by various theologians, it is always interesting to see how different teachers present and share the same text.
Or it is to me anyway. I’m rather perverse like that.