Re: Patanjali's Road Map to Liberation
- --- In email@example.com, freyjartist@a...
> For those interested, this came acrossHi Freyja:
> my path. It's a short interview
> with Chip Hartranft, translator of
> the Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali.
This is a really good introduction to Yoga Sutra.
It may also be noted that Patanjali wrote books on medicine and
language and was considered the greatest dancer in India in his time.
> The Yoga Sutra is one of those classic texts
> that many people have heard of but that almost
> nobody has actually read. Chip Hartranft's aim,
> through his new translation of the work, with
> commentary, is to make it possible for more
> people to dip into the Yoga-Sutra and to really
> understand what it's about. Chip was gracious enough
> to answer a few of our (Shambhala Publications www.shambhala.com)
> about the great workstep
> for us in this interview.
> SB: What is the Yoga-Sutra?
> Chip Hartranft: One of the most remarkable and enlightening
> spiritual documents of all time. It was composed by the Indian sage
> Patanjali during the second or third century as an attempt to weave
> together all the strands of yogic wisdom that had been developing
> over a period of several millenia.
> SP: It's not very long.
> CH: No, only 196 lines, but each line or grouping presents
> ideas of enormous depth and importance, terate, could
> memorize and reflect on a vast body of knowledge. In fact,
> sutra means thread.
> SP: Why should a person be interested in the Yoga-Sutra
> especially if they have no particular interest in yoga?
> CH: Patanjali and his yogic forebears like the Buddha
> were intent on awakening to the nature of reality and achieving
> freedom from suffering. They took introspection to heroic
> new levels, blazing a trail for the rest of us. So, most of
> their findings about the mind and heart are universal
> and give each of us a path to insight and happiness that we
> can explore in our own lives.
> SB: You've called the Yoga-Sutra a "road map to consciousness."
> CH: Patanjali takes us from here to there by providing a step-by-
> guide to the process of enlightenment. He explains how our everydaysame
> consciousness is too turbulent and conditioned by experience to
> render the present moment accurately. This causes us to lose sight
> of the fact that knowing, or pure awareness, is acutally not the
> as the experience unfolding before it on the screen ofconsciousness.
> He then describes with great precision how this confusion--and theblend of
> suffering it entails--dissolves little by little in the unique
> mastery and surrender he calls yoga.script
> SB: Is the yoga of Patanjali different from the yoga with which
> we're all familiar with today?
> CH: Yes and no. If Patanjali walked into a modern yoga class
> he wouldnt recognize most of the movements--and certainly
> not the leotards! He actually might feel more at home in a
> meditation hall. What he would relate to, i think, is the spirit
> of self-awareness and exploration that continue to inform and
> revitalize yoga. His approach was simple, direct, meditative
> and much less concerned with energy flow than the later
> tantric practices we think of as yoga today.
> Patanjali's path was based primarily on non-doing, on the
> naturalness with which illumination occurs when we are willing
> to let it.
> SB: So in a sense, one doesn't actually "do" yoga?
> CH: Like the Buddha, Patanjali is careful to distinguish right
> effort from the conventional way we go about chasing what
> we want, which is sure to produce suffering. For Patanjali,
> insight and freedom are already at hand. We may look
> outside ourselves for the precious, he says, but the jewel
> is within.
> In order to enhance the reader's appreciation of the astounding
> subtlety of Patanjali's language and thought, scholarly materials
> are available at www.arlingtoncenter.org. These include:
> the Sanskrit text of the Yoga-Sutra, in both devanagari and roman
> with diacritical markings; a pronounciation guide; a word-by-word
> Sanskrit-English translation; a cross-referenced glossary; and,
> a bibliography including on-line resources. Designed for serious
> students and scholars of yoga and Buddhist meditation, but
> accessible to the general reader, the Yoga-Sutra shows how precious
> the timeless teachings of Patanjali are: direct, profound and
> utterly relevant.