The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Sri Swami Satchidananda

“In mind, God; In the hand, work.”

This book is on the suggested reading list of Yoga With Adriene’s Adriene Mischler. It’s the fourth book on the list that I’ve read.

While this book is called The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, it does not include all of Patanjali’s yoga sutras. Instead, it contains select sutras, as well as commentary on most of the select sutras. Sri Swami Satchidananda provides the translation and commentary.

Sutra literally means “thread”, but here its used more to mean yoga aphorisms.  And yoga here is not hatha yoga (physical yoga, poses), or at least that’s not the focus. The book is more focused on raja yoga. In my limited (but growing!) understanding, raja yoga is the science/philosophy/cosmology/practice of yoga, with the ultimate goal of yoga being union with what the translator calls “the Absolute,” and a serene mind in all conditions.

These kinds of texts have a lot of offer, so any summary will be incomplete. However, for the sake of giving potential readers an idea of what to expect, here are some select quotes:

“The practice of meditation is not done just for your own peace but is done because with a peaceful mind you can go into the world and serve well,” (p. 26).

“What does a candle burn and melt away? To give light. Why does an incense stick burn to ash? To give fragrant…Why should we human beings alone lead selfish lives? We are here to give and give and give,” (p. 26).

“Every time you do something, feel, May this be dedicated to God,” (p. 78).

Paraphrase: Your true Self doesn’t need yoga; your Ego does. Your Ego needs to be taught that to be happy; serve others. Lead a dedicated life (p. 222).