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How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali Paperback – December 12, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vedanta Press & Bookshop (December 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874810418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874810417
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A rendering at once lively and profoundly instructive of a world classic which ... remains as vividly topical, as realistically to the point, as when it first saw the light. --Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World...The Soul does not love; It is Love Itself. It Does not Exist; It is Existence Itself. It does not Know; It is Knowledge Itself.--- Patanjali --Quoted by George Harrison in his final album. A beautiful translation, and our personal favorite by far. --Books for Inner Development

No matter what his religious belief, a person can only be the richer for having studied this translation of the famous Aphorisms of Patanjali. The language is simple so that anyone can read it and derive spiritual benefit from it if they are open-minded. I can recommend it both for the one who has become familiar with Hindu religion and philosophy and for the one who has not. For the first it is a new and fresh presentation of an old theme; for the second, it is dear, understandable and easy to grasp. It should do much to bring about a meeting of Eastern and Western thought.... There is much in this book to give food for thought and inspiration for spiritual practice. --The Awakener

It is in the fitness of things that one of the celebrated monks of the Ramakrishna Order in collaboration with the well-known writer Christopher Isherwood undertook the task of translating the Yoga-Sutras in English and also providing an illuminating commentary thereon, avoiding the technicalities of the system and putting it in a very lucid manner suited for the modern mind.... This makes the book eminently readable for the modern mind and thereby fulfills the great mission of interpreting the East to the West.... The book should be widely read by all spiritual seekers who want to know what yoga is, what its aims are, how it can be practiced, what powers can be attained by it and finally what liberation of the soul consists in. --Bulletin of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture

About the Author

The translators have written numerous books on Indian philosophy that speak directly to the western audience. Swami Prabhavananda founded the Vedanta Society of Southern California

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I can even go as far as to say that this book changed me.
James McPhate
Much of the commentary is borrowed from greatly esteemed Vivekananda whose deep wisdom and honest razor sharp insight are true gift.
A. Flum
They help to make the concepts very understandable to the average reader.
Enslowe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Brad VanAuken on September 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
The Yoga Sutras (thread of aphorisms) of Patanjali are one of the six darshanas of the Hindu or Vedic schools. "How to Know God" is a beautiful translation of those. The book is relatively short (pocket sized with just over 200 pages) and very readable. It offers one of the clearest explanations of the practice of yoga and meditation that I have read. It is surprisingly practical. I value it almost as much as I do "The Art and Science of Raja Yoga: Fourteen Steps to Higher Awareness: Based on the Teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda" and Osho's "The Book of Secrets: 112 Keys to the Mystery Within" as a practical guide to specific meditation techniques. For those who have a Christian background, the book references familiar Christian concepts, making the book all the more readable for the typical Westerner. While one can read the entire book in one sitting (and maybe this is a useful strategy for its first reading), I prefer to digest it slowly, contemplating and savoring each aphorism. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to enter into a deeper level of spiritual consciousness.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By U. G. Desai on January 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
Swami Prabhavananda has done an excellent job of translating the sutras into understandable sentences - something that surpasses 90% of all other translators, and for this reason alone the book should be in everyone's library. The commentary however reaches neither the depth of of Satchidananda's "Sutras" nor the the burning insights of McAfee's "Beyond the Siddhis". It is obscure and sometimes confusing. All in all, however, an excellent book to add to the true seeker's bag of tricks.
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Orva Schrock on September 1, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
over 1500 years ago the great indian sage, Patanjali, compiled these yoga aphorisms as a help and guide to his fellow humans. in the cosmic scheme of things 1500 years is the blink of an eye, and so it is these wise sayings remain fresh and workable for the modern lover of spiritual wisdom. the aphorisms stand on their own as originally given to the world. succint, vital, the feel of eternal truth is in them. to read and meditate on these sayings is to go another step closer to your own realization that indeed, it is only ignorance which stops us from seeing the reality of the Atman as One with eternal Brahman, the "satchitananda" or existance, conciousness, bliss, the eternal ground of all that is or ever could be. this beautiful classic is further enhanced by the translation and commentaries of the dynamic duo, swami prabhavananda and christopher isherwood. modern ideas about god and truth come and go, this book has stood the test of time and remains ever new because it's true. i highly recommend this little book to anyone interested in the light that comes when Truth is seen.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A. Flum on September 28, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood have collaborated to create this simple and yet poignant translation and commentary of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras.

The Yoga Sutras which were written approximately 2000 years ago and form the basis for the Yogic tradition. Originally, the Sutras were passed down orally (Sutra in Sanskrit means "thread")with commentary from the teacher or master. Isherwood is a masterful writer and clearly captures the essence of this tradition in both the cadence and style of the work. Much of the commentary is borrowed from greatly esteemed Vivekananda whose deep wisdom and honest razor sharp insight are true gift.

There are many translations of the Yoga Sutras, some arguably more literal, scholarly, and technically accurate. However, this work is one of the most accessible, and beautifully captures the essence and wisdom of the work.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By James McPhate on July 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
I never had much interest in Hinduism until I read this book. After, I was fascinated.

I can even go as far as to say that this book changed me. I've always been interested in philosophy and the more philosophic religions like Buddhism, but I've never been keen on religion. After this book, I had a new appreciation for religion, including things I'd previous not liked about Christianity. By stepping outside of western thought and language, I could better understand western religion. The book also draws a lot of parallels between the New Testament and Vedantic thought, directly aiding that understanding.

Isherwood and his companions were the "first wave" Eastern enthusiasts in America, active on the west coast in the forties. The depth of understanding and nuance in the Vendanta was lost somewhat in the new age pop-spirituality of the sixties and the resulting noise in the zeitgeist from that era still makes it hard to find good coverage of that topic. This is book provides great coverage, free from populist noise.

After reading this book, I felt like a committed yogi for a week or so. It is an absolute favorite of mine, joining The Diamond Sutra, The Dhammapada and the Tao Teh Ching. I would love a Shambala pocket edition- I have a "little" library of about 10 of those tiny books now (mostly Shambala).

It's enlightening to read these and then taking a shot at Wittgenstein and other philosophers of language. Then the history of Western philosophy feels like a slow deconstruction of bad ideas that finally leaves you with Vedic truths conceived over 3000 years ago.
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