Tag Archives: yoga

Retying Yoga timeless tradition to its spiritual core

Suggested reading:

Patanjali Yoga Sutras – Translation and Commentary in the Light of Vedanta Scriptures

by AK Aruna 

A book that has been just published and that is really worth reading as it brings together the tradition of Yoga back to its’ spiritual core’ which is the Upanishads.
To know more about its content, the author and buy it on line, you can visit
Note that a preview of the first pages is also available on this website.
Excerpts from Web Page of Pothi.com
(with the permission of the author)
Description of “Patanjali Yoga Sutras”

Composed over two millenniums ago, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali remains the philosophical thread that unites the ancient and current world of yoga. Yet, its many translations are underwhelming, lacking connection to reality and practicality.

Innumerable forms and sects of yoga have come and gone in between. Obsessed with gaining special powers over mind and body, yoga’s re-tellers have clouded its history in a mystical mist of fantastic claims. It is human nature to crave powers to radically change our lot in life. These layers of dazzle and glitter have over the centuries led us further away from yoga’s spiritual core. The sutras’ clear, logical, and practical path has been blurred and lost.

Radically breaking with this mystical tradition, A. K. Aruna seeks to reclaim for us this fountainhead of yoga by retying the understanding of these sutras to the even more ancient source of spiritual knowledge and yoga—the Upanishads.

Unlike the yoga tradition infected by desires for powers over the mind, body, and the world, the Upanishad tradition has remained essentially true to yoga’s spiritual core rejection of seeking any glory or power in the world. Glories and powers are time-bound. They fade and disappear with their seekers. They are not different from the gatherings of wealth and power of anyone in the countless generations of our ancestors. When the body dies, the temporal gains are lost. If there is an afterlife, the surviving gains are cashed out in equally time-bound heavenly rewards.

The Upanishads eschewed limited pursuits in order to seek an ultimate goal that was not time-bound. In this still pure form of the yoga of seeking ultimate, timeless truth, the words of Patanjali become crystal clear and practical. Yoga shines in timeless relevance.

A. K. Aruna’s Patanjali Yoga Sutras: Translation and Commentary in the Light of Vedanta Scripture has brilliantly refocused the light on the Yoga Sutras. This is a must read for those who wish to understand and to carry on yoga’s timeless tradition unclouded by the distractions of the past.

Four basic concepts at the core of Indian spirituality, Mircea Eliade

 

Yoga: Immortality and freedom by Mircea Eliade

An insightful passage  from Mircea Eliade, in the ‘Point of departure’ of his book Yoga, Immortality and freedom.

He explains in this introductory passage how any historical study of Indian philosophy has to discuss these four basic concepts and explain their relationship. Obviously, the various systems of Indian philosophy (Samkhya, Yoga, Vedanta, etc.) and we might also include here the Buddhist traditions, will differ on the definition they give to the concept of Nirvana or Moksa, absolute freedom. That will have consequences on the Yoga, the ways or techniques which have necessarily to be in keeping with the ultimate goal to be reached. Eliade ends by emphasizing that the pursuit of truth by the Indian sage is for achieving liberation or freedom from the limitations of human condition, which distinguishes him from a western philosopher.

Four basic and interdependent concepts, four “kinetic ideas,” bring us directly to the core of Indian spirituality, They are karma, maya, nirvana, and yoga. A coherent history of Indian thought could he written starting from any one of these basic concepts; the other three would inevitably have to be discussed. In terms of Westem philosophy, we can say that, from the post-Vedic period on, India has above all sought to understand:

(1 ) The law of universal causality, which connects man with the cosmos and condemns him to transmigrate indefinitely. This is the law of karma.

(2) The mysterious process that engenders and maintains the cosmos and, in so doing, makes possible the “eternal return” of existences, This is maya, cosmic illusion, endured (even worse- accorded validity) by man as long as he is blinded by ignorance (avidya).

(3) Absolute reality, “situated” somewhere beyond the cosmic illusion woven by maya and beyond human experience as conditioned by karma: pure Being. the Absolute, by whatever name it may be caIled—the Self (atman), brahman, the unconditioned, the transcendent, the immortal, the indestructible, nirvana, etc.

(4) The means of attaining to Being, the effectual techniques for gaining liberation. This corpus of means constitutes Yoga properly speaking.

With these four concepts in mind, we can understand how the fundamental problem of all philosophy, the search for truth, presents itself to Indian thought. For India, truth is not precious in itself; it becomes precious by virtue of its soteriological function, because knowledge of truth helps man to liberate himself. It is not the possession of truth that is the supreme end of the Indian sage; it is liberation, the conquest of absolute freedom. The sacrifices that the European philosopher is prepared to make to attain truth in and for itself: sacrifice of religious faith, of worldly ambitions, of wealth, personal freedom, and even life—to these the Indian sage consents only in order to conquer liberation. To “free oneself” is equivalent to forcing another plane of existence, to appropriating another mode of being transcending the human condition. This is as much as to say that, for India, not only is metaphysical knowledge translated into terms of rupture and death (“breaking” the human  condition, one “dies” to all that was human); it necessarily implies a consequence of mystical nature: rebirth to a non conditioned mode of being. And this is liberation, absolute freedom.