The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is the greatest of all the classical text of Indian philosophy. It was written in 200+ BC. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali usually employs brief, concise and precise union of essential techniques and points. The techniques were originally taught by word of mouth being passed on from the teacher to his students. It is a meditative discipline of Yoga, also called royal Yoga that follows the eight steps of Yoga. The 1st step is restraint, 2nd is observance, 3rd, posture, 4th, breath control, 5th, sublimation, 6th, attention 7th, concentration and 8th is meditation.
Yoga Sutras were written originally in Sanskrit, the oldest text of Indo-European language that is still being used actively today. Indian and some other Asian languages are still using some Sanskrit words today. Since Sanskrit is hard to translate in English, translation of Sanskrit is done in two ways. First, words are written in its spelling and the reader would then just decipher what that word really means and the other way is to write the statement and then explaining what that statement really means so readers can understand the phrase. Thus, some words or phrases are lost through translation. Thus, ancient texts of Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are not translated completely into what we know today but its essence is still successfully captured by every chapter of the texts.
Yoga is a meditative practice and the word literally means union. The Yogi, or the practitioner of Yoga, is taught how he/she can achieve the “Union” or the absorption of his/her spirituality with God as the Supreme power. With Yoga Sutras, we are taught that what we know as our self is not the human form that we know but the soul that lives inside our body. We should overcome the illusion of our identity and focus on the essence of our self.
The Yoga Sutras texts by Patanjali are divided into four chapters that contain 196 aphorisms in all. The 4 books are Samadhi Pada, Sadhana Pada, Vibhuti Pada and Kaivalya Pada. The Samadhi Pada chapter has 51 sutras and refers to a state of bliss of the Yogi. The Sadhana Pada has 55 sutras and refers to the discipline of the Yogi. Vibhuti Pada has 55 sutras and refers to the power while Kaivalya Pada has 34 sutras and refers to isolation.
The version of Yoga Sutras today is not completely similar to the Yoga Sutras ancient texts in Sanskrit. The Yoga Sutras texts have wordings that are just presumption of what the original texts implies. The interpretations have views that may already be subjective to the ones of the original version but still presume the same reasons. Even with this discrepancy in interpretation, the point of the Yoga as a discipline is to allow the Yogis to have the ability to stretch his/her mind by empowering it and allowing the energy to come into his/her system. It’s a philosophical liberation from what our knowledge understands. Our mind and body are connected to the Universe.