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His Holiness Sri Swami Satchidananda is one of the most revered Yoga Masters of our time. A much-loved teacher, well known for his combination of practical wisdom and spiritual insight, he gave his life to the service of humanity, demonstrating by his own example the means of finding abiding peace. His message of peace, both individual and universal, has been heard worldwide. Each year, he received hundreds of invitations to speak at conferences, colleges, medical groups, and houses of worship around the globe.
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This is *the* book to refer to get a proper understanding of the philosophy of Yoga. I have gone through other books ( B. K. S. Iyengar , Georg Feuerstein , Swami Prabhavananda ) and some audio cassetes on the Yoga Sutras. This is by far the best book on the subject. The sutras are beautifully explained in layman terms with ample annotations. The sutras in samadhi pada and sadhana pada are covered extensively. Whenever there was a discrepency in the translation among different authors (such as sutras 18,19,33 of sadhana pada, which have been interpreted very differently) I found the translation and explanation in this book to be most logical, intuitive and complete.
Swami Satchidananda's book on the Sutras is one of the best for digging into the background and foundations of the Sutras, and his commentary, unlike Iyengar's and most other eastern commentaries, is clear, simple and easy to understand. Yet I finished the book still feeling that I did not fully grasp it. Swami Satchidananda is clearly in touch with the truth that he is illuminating with this book, and it's also clear from the powerful tone of authority with which he writes that he has reached the state of awaking which is the end purpose of the Sutras, but it seems too immersed in the history and culture of Hinduism to be fully appreciated and grasped by a westerm mind conditioned by concepts, ideas and images that are vastly different from the eastern traditions. So the book does not have a deep and profound illuminating impact as has McAfee's book on the sutras - "Beyond the Siddhis". But it is rich in historical information and its tone is true to the purpose of the Sutras. I would recommend it for for all aspiring yogis.
I gained much from this book. A great book for those who are gaining an interest in yoga as a whole. The author is a monk who has devoted his life to God and it shows through in his writing. Each sutra is written in Sanskrit, then proper pronunciation, then translated in English and then given commentary by Satchidananda. Sometimes he seems to go on tangents and forgets about the Sutra at hand, yet even in those tangents, much is learned. This book will take beginners to the next level of discipline and practice; an extremely useful reference for experienced practitoners. I highly recommend this book.
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How to choose a useful commentary on the Sutras? A rule of thumb is to examine the author's take on the first five sutras. These are the ones in which Patanjali defines what Yoga is and in a nutshell points to what the enlightened state is. Authors who have no idea either don't get this, or are not able to explicate it well. Satchidananda is one of the happy few who are able. An illustrative comment is on P7, in reference to Sutra 3: "You are that true Seer. You are not the body or the mind." The thing that makes the Satchidananda commentary reliable is that he never loses sight of that intrinsic point of the first, definitional sutras. Beyond a certain cultural context, Satchidananda does not abandon "no-body and no-mind" for a moralistic exhortation. He keeps clear sight of the concept-free nature of universal reality.
This version is not as good as the out-of-print The Authentic Yoga Sutras of P Y Deshpande, nor does it have the clarity of Osho's limited commentary - but it is miles ahead of commentaries of some of the more famous names in contemporary Yoga.
I am not a 'follower' of Swami Satchidananda. I have previously studied Indian philosophy from an academic view. That is not the audience for this book. I personally have only tried to make Indian philosophy part of my life when outside sufferings force me to. This is a book for that! Swami Satchidananda's whole style is warm, straightforward and very modern. He never compromises the truth of the teachings, but his tone is beautifully supportive and gentle. If your desire is to try to understand the truth of the Yoga Sutras in your current life situation then I can't imagine a better book.
I have been studying the Vedic scriptures since 1996. And, I must say, out of all the different translations; the bhagavad-gita, the rig-veda and etc....this one by Sri Swami Satchianda is the best!
His hands-on understanding of Vedically grounded Yoga/meditation, qouting the Vedic scriptures and truely knowing intuitively and intellecually Vedic principles is astonishing and inspiring.
The one thing I really like about this translation, is that Swami Satchitanda does not taint the translation with a particular Cult slant, like the hare krishna's bhagavad-gita...which is fill with their particular cult flavor and mistranslation of sanskrit words and phrases.
He also adds wonderful and helpful techniques and tips that have really helped me in my meditational practices.
Since first studying this particular translation, I have grown tremendously from this Vedic scripture and this translation.
It was always interesting, lively to study,and always compelled me to want to study more...a far cry from studying the ISKON/hare krishna translation of the bhagavad-gita, which took me three months to read,which was dry, boring, mistranslation of the sanskrit word and phrases abounded, bashing of other groups and philosophies filled every page and a hard core push for their spin on the vedic literature.
With this translation of the Yoga Sutra....You will not find any of this!....it was such a pleasure to study it and it was soooo rewarding in reading it. It made me feel very good and uplifted to study this book.
I wish that this Swami would have translated more of the Vedic scriptures.
Please take a look at this translation..you will love. I have grown alot from it.