Thursday, March 6, 2008


The thin blue book in the lower center of the photo is a well-worn copy of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali that I bought after my mother died in 1994, at which time I made a deeper commitment to my yoga practice. This translation and commentary by T.K.V. Desikachar is titled "PATANJALI'S YOGASUTRAS: AN INTRODUCTION.

Here is what T.K.V. Desikachar wrote about Yoga Sutra 1.2, which in Sanskrit is written:


"What is Yoga? It is a word with many interpretations and connotations. Patanjali defines his understanding of the word."

-- Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively towards an object and sustain that direction without any distractions --

"The object can be a concrete object either external to ourselves or part of ourselves. It can be an area of interest, a concept, or something beyond the level of the senses, such as God."

Although I had bought of copy of B.K.S. Iyengar's translation of the Yoga Sutras sometime in the 1970s, it was not until the 1990s that I was able to read the Yoga Sutras without being annoyed by any mention of "God" or anything that might be what I considered a code word for "God." What helped me with that was the comment of a Tibetan Buddhist teacher, "There is no God and there is no not-God." Since 1994, I have bought and studied five other translations, all as different as are the numerous translations of the Tao Te Ching.

Now that I think of it, it was my mother who introduced me to yoga sometime in the 1960s when she bought this book by Richard Hittleman:

Interesting that the cover design uses the yin/yang symbol.

As my mind goes back to those years, I am recalling that the first time I heard about yogurt was from Jack La Lanne (the "intro" made me laugh with delight) who, along with Richard Hittleman, had a TV show during the time I was growing up.

1 comment:

Zhoen said...

Amazing how cats can look you in the eye from ankle level.