The sutras of the great sage Patanjali, which together constitute a landmark text in yoga spiritualism, are available here in this classic translation by theosophic scholar Charles Johnson.
Historically the most translated of all ancient Indian texts, Patanjali's sutras have since the beginning of the 20th century enjoyed an ever-increasing audience within and outside India. The translator Charles Johnson was one of Ireland's celebrated theosophists, with a great interest in the religious and philosophical texts of old. This edition originally appeared in 1912, and was responsible for introducing the yoga traditions to Western audiences.
The sutras explain the tenets of various yoga, and how the yogi is able to absorb energy and strengthen thereby. The means of gradually attaining a serene mental state known as Kaivalya as a precursor to the blissfulness of samadhi is detailed. The constant practice and disciplined honing of the bodily senses, and the differing forms of yoga used to achieve a state of perfection in each pillar of the practice, are greatly discussed. Patanjeli, mindful of the need to instruct future generations in the yoga disciplines, offers the receptive reader a wellspring of serene wisdom.
Although the sutras of Patanjali are responsible for the rapid uptake of yoga as a popular tradition, the text itself was buried in obscurity for about seven hundred years, with interest only revived in the late 19th century thanks to the efforts of Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda.
This edition contains illustrations of yoga icons, art and yoga poses. The sutras are a perfect companion to be read between yoga sessions, and double as a superb and engaging introduction to the tradition for the uninitiated.
The third installment in Bell Tower's attractively packaged Sacred Teachings series, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali offers a modern translation of a 2,300-year-old Indian meditation text. Translator Alistair Shearer gives a somewhat ethereal introduction ("Yoga is the transformation into the Divine, and of the Divine into everything") that is too long-winded at 80-odd pages. Still, the sutras are beautifully rendered. ( Jan. 8)