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Four Chapters on Freedom: Commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Paperback – August 19, 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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About the Author

Swami Satyananda Saraswati,author of over eighty Books,is well known to Amazon visitors as a number of his Books,like Asana Prana Yama Mudra Bandha,Yoga Nidra Etc., are best sellers.

He is widely known and respected all over the world for his excellent knowledge,commentaries and ofcourse for his classic Books on the subject of yoga.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Yoga Publications Trust; 9th Re-Print edition (August 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8185787182
  • ISBN-13: 978-8185787183
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Casey on January 16, 2007
I have read more than one translation of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and this, by far, is the best one. Swami Satyananda Saraswati presents a very clear, direct explanation of each sutra in English. There is both a Sanskrit and English version of the Sutras before the English explanation. Each sutra is treated individually with Swami Satyananda Saraswati's insights which illuminate the text so that the most knowledge can be gained from reading about very ancient yet important yoga precepts.

I read a lot of ratings which mark a text down for its "complexity", and I don't know if that is necessary here. I would say the text is thorough, which is what you want when a yogi translates and interprets the text. You want to get both a context and a further foundation for further study, and this book provides both. This is definitely 5 stars, and if you enjoy it, try looking at other works by the same author. He's one of the most intelligent authors I have come across on the subject of yoga.
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Anyone who is truly interested in yoga, and that includes meditation, has to read the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. The sutras are widely regarded as the soul of yoga. The writing also goes by the name of Patanjali Yoga, or raja yoga (royal yoga or path), or the yoga of the mind. They were written in Sanskrit probably around 400 BC. The precise, frugal writing is methodical, logical, and scientific in its presentation. Like all ancient texts it leaves itself open to interpretation and thereby makes itself timeless. The knowledge is believed to have existed long before 400 BC. Since that time, many commentaries have been written. In this review, we focus on the commentary written by Swami Satyananda titled Four Chapters on Freedom: Patanjali's Yoga Sutras as this is a manual on liberation of the mind and liberation from the mind.

This commentary is based on lectures given by Swami Satyananda during the International Yoga Teachers' Training Course at the Bihar School of Yoga in 1967-68. It is a serious and illuminating commentary written by a highly regarded master and is used by many serious yoga teachers. The book is most suitable for advanced practitioners and patient readers. Each Sanskrit sutra is first given and then translated in detail. It is followed by a comprehensive commentary.

"The cow uttered the wisest words [M-o-o-o-o-o-o-o] in the satsang [of pundits discussing yoga]. Unknowingly, or perhaps knowingly, it told everyone, including the pandits, that the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali were not written for intellectual debate and speculation. They were written to explain the process and practical methods of raising levels of awareness, gaining deeper wisdom, exploring the potential of the mind and eventually going beyond the mind.
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In a nutshell, there is a branch of Yoga that derives from Samkhya (one of the most important pshilosophical schools of India).

Many years later that Yoga was about to disappear, until Patanjali took upon himself the task of gathering all te pieces together and reformulate it again, in a way as similar as possible to the original Samkhya Yoga.

He wrote his work down in the book called Yoga Sutras, which have become eversice the "manual" of yoga throughout the world.

The Yoga presented in the Yoga Sutras is called Raja Yoga (i.e., The King of the Yogas) or Ashtanga Yoga (i.e., The Yoga of The Eight Branches).

However valuable (it is indeed a masterpiece) is almost impossible to undesrtand, since the Sutras were practical manulas written in a brief manner, codifyied so as only the initiates could understand it.

Thus the need for commentaries made by people who not only know a lot of yoga, but who have experienced its practices themselves, since many of them cannot be understood no matter who plainly explained the might be, the must have been experienced and lived.

Out of the moder commentaries, i would say that this one, by Paramahamsa Satyananda Saraswati, and the one entitled "Raja Yoga" by Swami Vivekananda are the best approach to this fascinating yet difficul subject: indeed, Raja Yoga is not meant for begginers inasmuch as it is an advanced practice or sadhana.

Yet Satyananda's commentary is extraordinary since it presents:

1) The original sanscrit.
2) The transliteration of that phrase.
3) A translation word for word.
4) A complete english translation
5) A lenghty commetary on tne meaaning of the phrase.
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For beginners, this book is not about asana (postures)and there are very few verses about asana. If one looks for asana, then they should read the book Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha.

This book is for more serious people who are seeking to practice Raja Yoga and desiring enlightenment and self realization. This book talks about how to get into samadhi (Chapter 1: Samadhi Pada) Samadhi meaning higher level of concentrated meditation or dhyana; how to perform sadhana (chapter 2: sadhana pada)Sadhana is a way of discipline in pursuit of a goal; Chapter 3 is Vibhooti pada, which is advanced and discusses about Samyama (Samyama is achieved with the combination of samadhi, dharana (concentration) and sadhana) and final chapter is Kaivalya Pada. Kaivalya Pada is about siddhi (siddhi meaning performing accomplishment and attainment of moksha). Siddhi can also mean miracles and attainment of eternality on one's own.

This book is a commentary not a translation work as written by some reviewers. Yoga Sutra was written by Patanjali more than 25 centuries ago. There were many great people such as Swami Vivekananda, Swami Satchithananda, other than Swami Satyananda Saraswati, had authored books on Yoga Sutras by Patanjali in recent century. How is this book different from other books? Author had implemented Patanjali Yoga Sutras in his life and in his disciples' lives and students lives and had seen the benefits out of them. His real life experience speaks through his commentary work.

By reading this book, will one be able to practice advanced topics such as samadhi and samyama and siddhi on their own? My answer is NO.
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