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The Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali: A New Translation with Commentary (Shambhala Classics) Paperback – April 1, 2003
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"A Yoga Sutra for the twenty-first century . . . translated into plain (but not boring) accessible language. . . . If there's a more succinct explanation of the enduring value of Patañjali's work, I'd sure like to hear it."—Yoga Journal
"Chip Hartranft has given us a fresh, authoritative, and brilliant new translation of and commentary on the Yoga-Sutra, and an entire generation of American yogis should be deeply grateful. His work successfully combines intellectual precision with emotional accessibility—a powerful marriage seldom even attempted with this notoriously difficult text. Hartranft is careful always to leave Patañjali's own genius in the foreground, and as a result the astounding intellectual architecture of the Yoga-Sutra shines through. Bravo!"—Stephen Cope, author of Yoga and the Quest for the True Self
"Much of contemporary yoga in the West has emphasized breathing and the body. These invaluable practices have been separated from the comprehensive ethical and meditative approach of the great teacher Patañjali. Recently there has been an increased interest in correcting this limitation. Chip Hartranft's brilliant new translation of and commentary on Patañjali's masterpiece moves interested yogis decisively in this direction. It is a clear and inspiring work of immense value for all serious practitioners."—Larry Rosenberg, author of Breath by Breath and Living in the Light of Death
Top Customer Reviews
What's different about Hartranft's translation and commentary is that, unlike the versions by Iyengar, Satchidananda, and most others, he doesn't confuse the meditative yoga of Patanjali with the much later gymnastic stuff. It's not that he isn't interested in it - Hartranft himself is apparently a well-known teacher of hatha yoga as well as meditation, and considers them to be complementary - but it is clear he agrees with Patanjali that the primary purpose of yoga is enlightenment. Because the yoga sutras are couched in the often illogical samkhya philosophy, their striking similarity to the Buddha's teaching hasn't been noticed or explained very well by other authors until now. And unlike some of the scholars who have taken a crack at it - Miller, for example - Hartranft's breathtaking insights into the sutras seem to come from profound personal experience, which is the whole point of the teachings. As difficult as they can sometimes be, he manages to render them elegantly, proving that you can plumb their depths without having to wade through the tortured syntax of a literalist like Feuerstein. In short, Hartranft is that rarity, a true yogi who can truly write.Read more ›
I have read the disputes about the authenticity of Hartranft's translation in other reviews on Amazon. I can't split hairs over fine points of translations from Sanskrit, or Hindu philosophy, but as a translator in other languages, I can say without reservation that Hartranft's translation is lucid and beautifully crafted. Also, I find Hartranft's commentaries accessible, palatable, informative, and refreshingly dispassionate. Hartranft frankly, openly, fairly and succinctly addresses the relationship of the Yoga-Sutra to the teachings of other Hindu philosophical systems and of Buddhism, and to modern scientific and historical findings.
I suspect that the breadth of Hartranft's perspective is, in part, what some readers find objectionable. Or maybe it's that he avoids loading down the discussion with references to polytheistic Hinduism. But after all, the Yoga-Sutra is not about that, any more than the writings of Aristotle are about Greek gods.
If you are looking to cloak yourself in devotional yoga culture, look elsewhere. But for a clear and concise introduction to the Yoga-Sutra, or to guide your way in a yoga practice, I highly recommend this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Highly recommended. Easy to understand. The translation is well documented.Published 2 months ago by Francisco J Villalba
The book is written well and is very easy to understand for beginners. It is an excellent source of information.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Really ridiculously hard to read. Jumps all over, very confusing. Sentences that are so complex you can read them over and over again and not know what they're talking about. Read morePublished 6 months ago by susan c
If you’re of a Buddhist bent – a pop Buddhist bent – you’ll doubtless appreciate author Cliff Hartranft’s attempt to frame the Yoga Sutras in a quasi-Buddhist context. Read morePublished 11 months ago by L. Ron Gardner
Very up-scaled vocabulary used in interpretation of the sutras, which made it even harder to understand sometimes. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Carola
A scholarly and insightful treatment of this ancient classic. Unexpected but welcome depth of understanding makes this one hard to put down. Read morePublished 16 months ago by whittler