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About Patanjali

It is believed that Maharishi Patanjali was the avatar of Adi Shesha - the Infinite Cosmic Serpent upon whom Lord Vishnu rests. He is considered to be the compiler of the Yoga Sutras, along with being the author of a commentary on Panini's Ashtadhyayi, known as Mahabhasya. He is also supposed to be the writer of a work on the ancient Indian medicine system, Ayurveda.

Scholars consider the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali formulations as one of the foundations of classical Yoga philosophy of Hinduism


Yoga Sutra

Patanjali divided his Yoga Sutras into four chapters or books (Sanskrit pada), containing in all 196 aphorisms, divided as follows:

Eight components of yoga


Yamas are ethical rules in Hinduism and can be thought of as moral imperatives. The five yamas listed by Patañjali in Yogasutra 2.30 are

  1. Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): Nonviolence, non-harming other living beings
  2. Satya (सत्य): truthfulness, non-falsehood
  3. Asteya (अस्तेय): non-stealing
  4. Brahmacārya (ब्रह्मचर्य): celibacy, non-cheating on one's partner
  5. Aparigraha (अपरिग्रहः): non-avarice, non-possessiveness

The second component of Patanjali's Yoga path is called niyama, which includes virtuous habits, behaviors and observances (the "dos"). Sadhana Pada Verse 32 lists the niyamas as

  1. Sauca: purity, clearness of mind, speech and body
  2. Santoṣa: contentment, acceptance of others, acceptance of one's circumstances as they are in order to get past or change them, optimism for self
  3. Tapas: persistence, perseverance, austerity
  4. Svadhyaya: study of Vedas (see Sabda in epistemology section), study of self, self-reflection, introspection of self's thoughts, speeches and actions
  5. Isvarapraṇidhana: contemplation of the Ishvara (God/Supreme Being, Brahman, True Self, Unchanging Reality)

Patanjali begins discussion of Asanas (आसन, posture) by defining it in verse 46 of Book 2, as follows,


Translation 1: An asana is what is steady and pleasant.

Translation 2: Motionless and Agreeable form (of staying) is Asana (yoga posture).

Source wikipedia