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*** over the next couple of weeks we plan to showcase the Yoga Sutras of Maharshi Patanjali


The Study and Practice of Yoga, an exposition of the Yoga Sutras of Maharishi Patanjali by Swami Krishnananda, Divine Life Society, Rishikesh


Download eBook contents below:
pdf Study and Practice of Yoga, Yyoga Sutras explained by Swami Krishnananda – volume 1
pdf Study and Practice of Yoga, Yyoga Sutras explained by Swami Krishnananda – volume 2

The Study and Practice of Yoga, an exposition of the Yoga Sutras of Maharishi Patanjali by Swami Krishnananda, Divine Life Society, Rishikesh

Publisher’s Note

This is a compilation of the 110 lectures that Swami Krishnananda delivered from March to August in 1976 on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are a manual on mind control, meditation and mental discipline—a manual for spiritual freedom. Crisp and pithy in rendition, the sutras have an aphoristic quality and urge deeper reflection and dedicated application. Across various philosophies the denotation of yoga varies. Patanjali uses the term ‘yoga’ to denote a complete cessation of mental modifications so that consciousness rests within itself in the state of moksha or liberation. This teaching has been delivered through emphasis on practice rather than mere philosophy. This is verily a manual for us to operate the mind and thus our life. The Yoga Sutras are divided into four padas or chapters. The first chapter, the Samadhi Pada on which this volume is based, focuses on concentration of the mind and the practical aspects necessary for attaining meditative absorption. The second chapter, the Sadhana Pada, is about attaining and holding that single-pointedness through reining in the agitations of the mind by cultivating dispassion, discrimination and dedication. The third chapter, the Vibhuti Pada, focuses on the technique of samyama which is the combination of concentration, meditation and communion for the liberation of the spirit, while the fourth chapter, the Kaivalya Pada, is a metaphysical disquisition which deals with various subjects as a sort of explanation of some of the themes dealt with in the earlier chapters.

It is fitting to draw the reader’s attention to the clarity and simplicity with which Swamiji Maharaj comments on these sutras. Swami Krishnananda was the living embodiment of that awareness to which the sutras and all spiritual texts guide. It is commonly said that Sanskrit, the language of the Gods, is by far the only one that has transcended, to some extent, the limitations of vivid expression and bears in it the ability to express the nuances of spiritual processes and the resultant experiences that the great Sages and Masters have experienced and conveyed to us. That Swamiji Maharaj is able to bend the limited English language to yield to his knowledge is a completely humbling experience.

These Yoga Sutras of Patanjali spoken by Swami Krishnananda are being made available to the public for the first time. It is our desire to retain the original lectures in their spoken form to a large extent. The are some unique twists of phrases and application of words that are uniquely Swamiji in origin and it has been sought to allow those to be as they were intended, without undermining the reverence to the English language. Consequently the lectures have been edited in very few places to render them the way Swamiji Maharaj himself spoke them.

Chapter 1 – THE AIM OF YOGA

The whole of our life is a successive series of efforts – whether it is the effort that I put forth, or that which someone else puts forth. All these efforts have a common background, although the efforts of human beings are variegated and there is also an apparent diversity of the aims behind the efforts. The farmer’s effort is towards producing harvest in the field; the industrialist’s effort is towards production of goods and such other items in his field; the effort of the schoolmaster or the professor is in another direction; and so on and so forth. We have an apparent diversity of aims, motivated by a diversity of efforts.

But this is a great illusion that is before us, and we live in a world of illusions which we mistake for realities. The illusion arises on account of our inability to see beyond a certain limit of the horizon of our mental perceptions. The farmer forgets that the production of the harvest in the field is not the only aim, or rather the ultimate aim, of his efforts. It has another aim altogether connected with certain others, and so on and so forth, in an endless chain which cannot easily come within the comprehension of an untutored mind. The stomach does not eat for its satisfaction. We know very well why the stomach eats. The stomach may say “I eat”, but it does not eat; the eater is somebody else, though it is thrust into the stomach. The legs do not walk for their own sake. What do the legs gain by walking? They are walking for some other purpose – somebody else’s purpose, not their own. Nor do the eyes gain anything by seeing; the eyes see for somebody else.

Likewise, there is an inherent and underlying basic aim which is transcendent to the immediate purpose visible in front of any particular individual who puts forth effort, just as the legs do not walk for their own sake, the eyes do not see for their own sake, the stomach does not eat for its own sake, and so on, and they seem to be functioning for some other purpose. They can miss this purpose, and then there is what we call dismemberment or disintegration of the personality. When the aim is missed, the effort loses its motive power and it becomes a fruitless effort, because an effort that has missed its aim cannot be regarded as a meaningful effort. Also, it may be possible that we may be conscious of an immediate aim before the effort, but the aims that are further behind or ahead may not be visible to our eyes.

I will ask a question. We eat food every day so that we may be alive. But why do we want to be alive? Is there a purpose behind it? This question we cannot answer. Here is a question which is beyond ordinary logic. Why should we work so hard, and eat, and maintain ourselves, and exist? After all, we are doing all this for existing. Why do we want to exist? Suppose we do not exist; what is the harm? These kinds of questions will be pressing themselves forward when we go deep into the aims of the different activities of our life. Finally, when we press the aim to its logical limits, we will find that the human brain is not meant to understand it.

We are limited individuals, with limited capacities of understanding, and we can have only limited aims in our life – but we have unlimited desires. This is a contradiction. How can unlimited desires be fulfilled with limited aims? Life is a contradiction; it has begun as a contradiction, and it ends as a contradiction. This is the reason why not one has slept peacefully, or woken up peacefully, nor lives peacefully. There is a subtle contradiction in sleep and a pressing contradiction when we wake up, and an annoying contradiction throughout our daily activities, so that there is only contradiction. There is nothing else in life; and all effort is meant to remove this contradiction. But if the very effort at removing contradiction is itself involved in a contradiction, then we are in a mess, and this is exactly what has happened to Tom, Dick, Harry, X, Y, Z, A, B, C, D – whoever it is.

The whole difficulty is that the structure of life is arranged in such a pattern that the depth of human understanding is incapable of touching its borders. We are not simply living life – we are identical with life itself. One of the most difficult things to define is life itself. We cannot say what life is. It is only a word that we utter without any clear meaning before our eyes. It is an enigma, a mystery – a mystery which has caught hold of us, which extracts the blood out of us every day, which keeps us restless and tantalises us, promising us satisfaction but never giving it. Life is made in such a way that there are promises which are never fulfilled. Every object in the world promises satisfaction, but it never gives satisfaction – it only promises. Until death it will go on promising, but it will give nothing, and so we will die in the same way as we were born. Because we have been dying without having the promise fulfilled, we will take rebirth so that we will see if the promise can be fulfilled, and the same process is continued, so that endlessly the chain goes on in a hopeless manner. This vicious circle of human understanding, or rather human incapacity to understand, has arisen on account of the isolation of the human individual from the pattern of life.

This is a defect not only in the modern systems of education, but also in spiritual practices – in every walk of life, in every blessed thing. When the individual who is living life has cut himself or herself off from the significance of life, then life becomes a contradiction and a meaningless pursuit of the will-o’-the-wisp. Why do we cut ourselves off from the meaning of life and then suffer like this? This is the inherent weakness of the sensory functions of the individual. The senses are our enemies. Why do we call them enemies? Because they tell us that we are isolated from everything else. This is the essence of sensory activity. There is no connection between ourselves and others, and we can go on fighting with everybody. This is what the senses tell us. But yet, they are double-edged swords; they tell us two things at the same time. On one side they tell us that everything is outside us, and we are disconnected from everybody else and everything in this world. But on the other side they say that we are bound to grab things, connect ourselves with things, obtain things, and maintain relationship with things.

Now, these two things cannot be done simultaneously. We cannot disconnect ourselves from things and also try to connect ourselves with them for the purpose of exploiting them, with an intention to utilise them for our individual purposes. Here again is an instance of contradiction. On one side we disconnect ourselves from persons and things; on the other side we want to connect ourselves with persons and things for our own purposes. The ancient sages and masters, both of the East and the West, have deeply pondered over this question, and one of the most magnificent proclamations of a solution to these problems is found in the Veda. Among the many aspects of this solution that are presented before us by these mighty revelations, I can quote one which to my mind appears to be a final solution – at least, I have taken it as a solution to all my problems – which comes in the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda and the Atharva Veda. In all the four Vedas it occurs: tam eva viditvā atimṛtyum eti nānyaḥ panthā vidyate ayanāya. This is a great proclamation. What is the meaning of this proclamation? There is no way of escape from this problem, says this mantra, other than knowing ‘That’. This is a very simple aphoristic precept that is before us: Knowing ‘That’ is the solution, and we have no other solution. Now, knowing ‘That’ – what is this ‘That’?

Download eBook on contents above:
pdf Study and Practice of Yoga, Yyoga Sutras explained by Swami Krishnananda – volume 1
pdf Study and Practice of Yoga, Yyoga Sutras explained by Swami Krishnananda – volume 2

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Calendar of Events 2020

Video clips on Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda

Rare Documentary on Swami Vivekananda
Sri Ramakrishna and the Great Disciplines
Ramakrishna Paramahansa – Documentary
Sri Ramakrishna & the Kali temple Documentary


Swami Vivekananda – Laws of Life 1
Swami Vivekananda – Laws of Life 2
Navami Homa during Durga Puja on 29 Sept. 2017
Ramakrishna Aratrikam (Vesper Service of Ramakrishna Order)





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Charaiveti (??????? – Go ahead)
Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama (Narainpur)
Swami Vivekananda – Life Story
Chicago Speeches Of Swami Vivekananda


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