Review of Patanjali Yoga Sutra by Swami Prabhavananda

Post By: Published on: July 24, 2017 Reading time: 2 minutes

Review of Patanjali Yoga Sutra by Swami Prabhavananda

patanjali Yoga Sutra

Front fact of Patanjali Yoga Sutra

Patanjali (around 400 BCE) – Author of Patanjali Yoga Sutra

Patanjali Yoga Sutra by Swami Prabhavananda is a translation of a seminal work on Raja Yoga of Guru Patanjali. However, Swami Patanjali is a source of much speculation. Some say that he is also the author of a very respected book on Sanskrit grammar while others dispute this. Thus, it is possible that the Patanjali who wrote the book on grammar is different from the one who wrote on Yoga. 

This book or sutra (strand of verses) on Raja Yoga is split into 4 major chapters – first on liberation, second on practice, third on manifestation and fourth on isolation. The old Sanskrit of the book makes translation and understanding difficult. Also, the numerous translations have  added to the confusion, so one should be careful during interpretation of the verses.

However, Patanjali Yoga Sutras are a “Must Read”for anyone seriously interested in progressing on RajaYoga.

Swami Prabhavananda (December 26, 1893 – July 4, 1976)

Swami Prabhavananda was born in India and joined the Ramakrishna Mutt after completing his graduation from Kolkatta University. After initiation, he moved to USA in 1923 to set up ashrams there. Under his administration, the Vedanta Society grew to be the largest such society in the West.

Patanjali Yoga Sutra

Swami Prabhavananda

His translation of the Yoga sutras can be described as expansive. Swami Prabhavananda tends to expand the translation of the verses into related aspects of philosophy, sometimes not a directly related to the verse. So, one ends up reading the Sutras as an extension of Swami Prabhavananda’s own experiences with the truth; not necessarily as a direct translation of the Patanjali Yoga Sutras.

However, the commentaries are earthy and simple. So whether the book can be termed an accurate representation of the Patanjali Yoga Sutra or not, it a short, simple and effective primer on Yoga.

Review by Vishwanath Iyer

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