Patanjali Yoga Sutras

Yoga is an ancient but most developed science of India. It is difficult to imagine about Vedic culture and spiritual traditions of India without Yoga. Maharshi Patanjali is regarded as the greatest exponent of Yoga. According to Swami Rama, “Patanjali systematised and organised it by formulating 196 aphorisms, which are called the Yoga-Sutras. Patanjali was the codifier of Yoga science. He was a scientist who practiced and who gathered together the information on yoga and presented it in concise form. Patanjali describes the entire philosophy of yoga science in the Yoga-Sutras, and the first four sutras summarise the most important aspects of this science. Yoga psychology is the most ancient school of psychology, which describes systematically, from the very beginning, how to know, analyse and direct the mind, so that one can attain the purpose of life. The Yoga-Sutras teach not just a philosophy but, most importantly, a specific method to practice. By studying them, a student can understand that he is fully equipped to attain Samadhi, the highest state of tranquillity, the centre of consciousness within. The student acquires self-confidence by studying Patanjali’s sutras because the sutras say that the student can cultivate the power of concentration and use it to remove the obstacles to enlightenment, which cause all suffering.”

Yoga is the heart and soul of Indian spiritual traditions and philosophical achievements. In the words of Swami Veda Bharati, “If all the vast traditions of India’s philosophies and literature were to vanish and the Yoga –Sutras of Patanjali alone were to be saved, each of those philosophies and literatures could in time be created again. They could be created again not because their details or even basic formulas appear in the Yoga-Sutras, but because the sutras form the manual of the yoga practice, the culmination of which is that process of intuitive knowledge which alone constituted the source of almost all of India’s philosophies and literatures. The founders of all Indian sciences such as physics, chemistry, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, archery, polity, poetics, dance, music, dramaturgy, cosmology or metaphysics were all rshis, those who have entered the state of Samadhi and thereafter brought forth a given science of their choice because of their compassion for human beings. It is made very clear in the sutras that through the process of Samadhi one may receive any or all branches of knowledge, which may then be revealed to the world. While thus serving as a conduit for such worldly knowledge one may yet dwell in a Consciousness which transcends such intuitive knowledge. The Yuga-Sutras teach the methods for the mastery of both; therefore one may easily conclude that they contain the seed of Indian sciences and philosophies as well as the Indian spirituality—this last forming the link between science and philosophy.”

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