Yoga Philosophy

Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutra

If anyone cares to read it, here is my final paper on Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutra.

I’ll post a condensed summary of it shortly for those who don’t want to read a 20+ page paper filled with academic jargon.

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2 thoughts on “Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutra

  1. Interesting paper. Thanks for posting it.

    From your remarks, it seems that you respect the view that the Yoga-Sutra can be read as a kind of living document, in a way not dissimilar from Constitutional interpretation accepted by some and rejected by others. Is that a fair reading?

    In reading your thoughts, I wondered whether you find the Yoga-Sutra to be too ambiguous to be capable of empirical application? IOW, might there not be a valid method of interpretation of the document that is based upon the actual experiences of those who implement its praxis? To my (unschooled) way of reading it, the Yoga-Sutra teaches specific actions, even given its aphoristic and memnonic shorthand. If those actions result in something that can responsibly be perceived by practitioners and described as samadhi, might there not be validity to evaluating the nihilism or positivism of the text in light of those empirical results?

  2. Woops. One other thought I forgot to include. While I agree that sutra 1.2 can be read to imply something that sounds rather nihilistic, I don’t believe that stilling the patterning of consciousness is the same as “eliminating consciousness.”

    Insofar as I’ve experienced nirodha, it reveals not “nothing,” but rather it reveals that the Witness or the Seer or whatever we choose to label that portion of perception that is prior to patterns and judgments is still and unitary — capable of perceiving the fluctuations, but that is distinctly separate and different from them.

    Of course, it may be that what I have experienced as stillness (nirodha) is still merely foam at the top of a different kind of wave at the top of a different kind of sea.

    So tomorrow I’ll practice yoga and sit in meditation and see what I see.

    Thanks again for sharing the paper.

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