FREE delivery: Wednesday, March 29 on orders over $25.00 shipped by Amazon.
Ships from: Amazon.com Sold by: Amazon.com
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.95 shipping
100% positive over last 12 months
+ $3.70 shipping
94% positive over last 12 months
Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Learn more
Read instantly on your browser with Kindle for Web.
Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.
Follow the Author
The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali: A New Edition, Translation, and Commentary Paperback – July 21, 2009
Enhance your purchase
A landmark new translation and edition
Written almost two millennia ago, Patañjali's work focuses on how to attain the direct experience and realization of the purusa: the innermost individual self, or soul. As the classical treatise on the Hindu understanding of mind and consciousness and on the technique of meditation, it has exerted immense influence over the religious practices of Hinduism in India and, more recently, in the West.
Edwin F. Bryant's translation is clear, direct, and exact. Each sutra is presented as Sanskrit text, transliteration, and precise English translation, and is followed by Bryant's authoritative commentary, which is grounded in the classical understanding of yoga and conveys the meaning and depth of the su-tras in a user-friendly manner for a Western readership without compromising scholarly rigor or traditional authenticity. In addition, Bryant presents insights drawn from the primary traditional commentaries on the sutras written over the last millennium and a half.
“A superb contribution to the secondary literature on yoga. Critically grounded in the scholarship on yoga and the rich textual history of the tradition, Bryant nevertheless succeeds in transcending both the excessively technical approaches to yoga scholarship as well as much of the popular nonsense about yoga in the proliferating ‘schools' in the New Age marketplace. Bryant impressively communicates the essentials of yoga philosophy and practice to the thoughtful but non-specialist general reader. His translations from the Sanskrit are precise and well-grounded, and his interpretations are provocative and persuasive. His book will surely be welcomed by both serious scholars and responsible practitioners.” ―Gerald James Larson, Rabindranath Tagore Professor Emeritus of Indian Cultures and Civilizations, Indiana University, Bloomington, and Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
“Dr. Bryant's translation of and commentary on Patañjali's Yoga Sutras reveal the rich tapestry of schools and viewpoints that form the background for the yoga tradition. Dr. Bryant teaches us to delight in the diversity of ideas and commentaries that come along with the equally diverse practices of yoga. He helps us to look deeper into a universal pattern of all practices, taking us out of the fundamentalism and exclusivity of our own schools. Grounded in an unbiased sense of ancient history, he clears away any confusion about the meaning of and the connections between different yoga philosophies. His book is a well-rounded and inspiriting course on the real connections between ideas, practices, and direct experience. I enthusiastically recommend it.” ―Richard Freeman, author of The Yoga Matrix
“Edwin Bryant has provided us with a sweeping, kaleidoscopic overview of this essential yoga text. His clear and engaging prose brings Patañjali's aphorisms to life, taking his reader on an amazing journey through the history of yoga philosophy.” ―David Gordon White, Professor of Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of Sinister Yogis
“Edwin Bryant unpacks the layers of history and traditional commentaries that are in the suitcase of the Yoga Sutras. Through his depth of understanding and research rendered in this detailed map, we are able to travel a little closer to our soul. I will be reading and referring to his text for a lifetime.” ―Rodney Yee, author of Moving Toward Balance
“The greatest strength of Edwin Bryant's work on the Yoga Sutras is that he has taken the most abstruse commentaries and made of them a fluidly readable work. He has made an academically serious study into a presentation of most symmetrical beauty. He has brought together the views of different schools of philosophy and made them rhyme as though in poetry. We need more of such works of serious and yet readable philosophy.” ―Swami Veda Bharati, D. Littl, Chancellor, HIHT University, Dehradum, India
“Bryant's meticulous study of the Yoga Sutras examines its reception throughout the past fifteen hundred years by a variety of commentators. Understanding that all religious books operate in the context of lived communities, Bryant suggests that the worship of Vishnu as taught by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita has played an important role in how the practice of yoga has been understood and communicated, particularly for the past five hundred years. For practitioners of yoga, this book provides a fresh look at a complex philosophy of applied spirituality.” ―Christopher Key Chapple, Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology, Loyola Marymount University, and author of Yoga and the Luminous
“What I like about Edwin Bryant's edition is that it serves as a concordance of commentaries, a commentary on the commentaries without which this text (or any other compendium of sutras) is unintelligible. It is a pleasure to watch as Bryant uses the commentaries to show how thinking about the Yoga Sutras shifted and evolved over the years.” ―Dr. Robert Svoboda, Ayurvedacharya
About the Author
- Publisher : North Point Press; First edition (July 21, 2009)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 672 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0865477361
- ISBN-13 : 978-0865477360
- Item Weight : 1.28 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.75 x 1.7 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #25,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #2 in Hindu Sutras
- #41 in Yoga (Books)
- #110 in Eastern Philosophy (Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on December 3, 2022
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
About half of the Bryant translations of individual sutras seem to be not quite right, although I know little about Sanskrit. The translations don't even match his own word-by-word vocabulary notes. Here's a random sample, sutra 1.21.
"Tīvra-samvegānām āsannah." [I've missed out a couple of accents which I can't type.]
Here is the Bryant translation.
"[This state of samprajñāta] is near for those who apply themselves intensely."
Here is the Taimni translation.
"It (Samādhi) is nearest to those whose desire (for Samādhi) is intensely strong."
But Bryant writes that "tīvra" means "keen", and that "samvegānām" means "for those with intensity", while Taimni says that "Tīvra-samvegānām" means "of those whose wish is extremely strong". But Bryant has inserted the word "apply", which gives a rather different meaning. Intense application is not the same as intense desire.
This would be a very minor matter if this was rare. But my comparison of the two translations suggests that the Bryant version has avoidable inaccuracies for roughly 50% of sutras. The word-for-word translations of both authors are very similar, but the Bryant whole-sentence translations do not match so well with his word-by-word translations.
Let me give another example, probably the most important of the sutras, in my humble opinion, namely sutra 1.2.
"Yoga is the stilling of the changing states of the mind."
"Yoga is the inhibition of the modifications of the mind."
The Taimni translation seems preferable and more accurate to me. It seems fairly clear that Bryant has done a bit of modernizing and personal interpretation in the translations. Of course, the commentary is whatever the commentator wants to say. But the translation should be accurate. My number one principle of translation is that the translator should try to give readers the same understanding that they would obtain if they were fluent in the source language.
The Bryant commentary (as opposed to the translation) seems very good and useful to me. He refers to multiple interpretations by named authors, and makes cross-references to other Indian literature, which the Taimni commentary does not do very well at all. My personal suggestion would be that anyone who wants to make sense of Patañjali's yoga sūtras should read both translations and commentaries side by side. They are so different that by combining them, I think it should be possible to get much more meaning than with either one.
The Taimni translation and commentary is currently available on Amazon as a second-hand copy of the exact edition which I have, and as various editions published by " Quest Books, 1961 ", " Quest Books, 1999 ", and " Theosophical Publishing House, 2007 ".
For those who found this commentary dry or impenetrable, I wonder if they read the great introduction that explains the Yoga sutras in context of the philosophical systems of ancient India or in other words, the greater historical culture of the Yoga sutras. There are also convenient chapter summaries that are collected at the end of the book that you can read to get into the mindset for reading a chapter.
I particularly like how Bryant commits to the repeated uses of the Sanskrit terms and doesn’t depend on English words that fail to catch the subtle differences of meaning between the two languages. This encourages the reader to leave at the door their presuppositions and prejudices that they carry unknowingly being dependent on English.
Another great thing is that Bryant explains not only the standard Vyasa commentary, but also connects it to many other commentators including the previously mentioned Shankara, who was a Vedantin and not a Yogin. Bryant will even connect the Sutras in similarity and contrast to Buddhism. Giving context to the different commentaries is essential because in the classic commentaries themselves there are a lot more esoteric and foreign references to scripture, mythology, and other thinkers that aren’t as explicitly explained.
I think this book is most valuable for those who might not have been aware of the philosophical depth of the culture of Yoga. Bryant is oftentimes critical of the mass commercial culture that has appropriated Yoga and I think his translation and commentary is perfect for those who want to take the time and explore the ideas unique to Western thought and develop a deeper understanding of what goes into any action, practice, or lifestyle.
For those who just want a feel good shallow explication of Yoga that satisfies the minimal threshold of what it is to be “cultural”, then reading any set of Sutras and their commentary is going to disappointing anyway. And for all their complaints about it being too academic, I think that based on a certain prejudice of what “academic” is to them. Because this does not read at all like a philological text or western philosophical treatise.
Top reviews from other countries
The sutras are broken down word for word as well as translated as an unbroken statement before being “unpacked” as the author puts it, through references to various commentators.
The commentaries, which make up the meat of the book are not excessively academic, nor do they appear to lack grounding. On the contrary, the references to the various commentators are beautifully weaved together in a readible and concise form, without compromising or watering down the content.
The various concepts are carefully built up over the course of the book (starting with the elaborate introductory chapters), never leaving the reader lost at any stage.
I would highly recommend this book .