- Paperback: 114 pages
- Publisher: Bantam Books; unknown edition (March 2 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553374281
- ISBN-13: 978-0553374285
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 0.9 x 20.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 113 g
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #174,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Yoga: Discipline of Freedom: The Yoga Sutra Attributed to Patanjali Paperback – Mar 2 1998
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
From the Inside Flap
Dating from about the third century A.D., the "Yoga Sutra distills the essence of the physical and spiritual discipline of yoga into fewer than two hundred brief aphorisms. It is the core text for any study of meditative practice, revered for centuries for its brilliant analysis of mental states and of the process by which inner liberation is achieved. Yet its difficulties are legendary, and until now, no translation has made it fully accessible.
This new translation, hailed by "Yoga Journal for its "unsurpassed readability," is by one of the leading Sanskrit scholars of our time, whose "Bhagavad Gita has become a recognized classic. It includes an introduction to the philosophy and psychology underlying the "Yoga Sutra, the full text with explanatory commentary, and a glossary of key terms in Sanskrit and English.
From the Back Cover
The Yoga Sutra, dating from about the third century A.D., distills the essentials of a complex system of physical and spiritual discipline into not quite two hundred brief aphorisms. Yoga is at the heart of all meditative practice in Asia, yet until now there has been no first-rate English version of this primary text. Barbara Stoler Miller's translation admirably fills that gap - her clear, strong style and sensitive phrasing convey every nuance of Patanjali's words, and her commentary offers invaluable guidance to anyone seeking to understand how yoga describes our relation to the world. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Her use of the word "spirit" in the third aphorism is an example: "When thought ceases, the spirit stands in its true identity as observer to the world." The Sanskrit word she is translating is "drashtri" which is usually "seer" although it can also mean "soul," according to B.K.S. Iyengar. When one reads the next aphorism, "Otherwise, the observer [seer] identifies with the turnings of thought" it becomes clear that the seer is not spirit; indeed "spirit" is a confusing word in this context since it has no clear cognate in the dualistic yoga philosophy. The closest equivalent would be "purusha" but that would be inappropriate since that refers to the entire non-material consciousness (as opposed to "prakriti," which is what is manifested). Perhaps I should simply say that "soul" in yogic philosophy is not the same thing as "spirit."
Another example would be her translation of vairagya in I.15 as "dispassion" which is technically correct but misses the larger meaning of the non-attachment that comes from renunciation, which is the point of the aphorism.
I could also quibble with her use of the word "contemplation" as the equivalent of the Sanskrit "samadhi." But it is really impossible to translate the last three limbs of yoga: dharana, dhyana, and samadhi into English, and the contemporary practice is to simply use the Sanskrit terms themselves. And, at any rate, there is considerable controversy about the experience of these states. Miller follows the established practice of rendering them respectively as concentration, meditation, and contemplation. Yet it is clear that samadhi, especially "nirbija samadhi" or seedless samadhi, is beyond contemplation. Georg Feuerstein actually defines samadhi as "ecstasy."
Another strength of the book is the translation itself--once one puts aside the quibbles about some of the terms and looks at the forest, as it were, of the entire expression. Miller has worked hard to make the text readily accessible to the general reader by using familiar terms in familiar sentence structures. She also groups several related aphorisms together and comments on them as a whole, giving each group a title. For example, aphorisms I.17 - I.22 are labeled, "Ways of Stopping Thought." This organization works well in helping the reader to a good overall understanding of Patanjali with only a first reading. Miller has not simplified the text or dumbed it down in any sense. What she has done is to give the pithy statements a sort of liquidity that makes for easy reading.
Her subtitle: "Discipline of Freedom" is an apt description of Patanjali's yoga in the sense that this yoga employs technique and practice to reach liberation whereas other yogas might employ faith and devotion, selfless service, or knowledge as ways to transcend this earthly existence.
I would recommend that this text be studied in conjunction with Iyengar's Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (1993) since that book contains a more detailed exposition of Patanjali's text and has more extensive commentaries.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com