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Patanjali Yoga Sutras


The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali  is one of the most authoritative ancient scripts considered as a practical guide to Yoga and to be the basis to one of the six Hindu schools of philosophy. The book is a  set of 196 aphorisms (sootras), which are short, terse phrases designed to be easy to memorize. It was  compiled around 400 BC by Sage Patañjali, taking materials about yoga from older traditions.


Even though yoga has been mentioned in various ancient texts, including the Vedas, Upanishads, the  Bhagavad Gita etc, the credit for putting together a formal, cohesive philosophy of yoga goes to Sage Patanjali. In his Yoga Sutras, Patanjali has provided the very essence of the philosophy and teachings of yoga in a highly scientific and systematic exposition. The book is divided into four chapters as follows:


The first chapter provides a definition and the purpose of yoga. Various approaches that can be used to achieve the objectives of yoga are provided.


The second chapter contains the practical approach to achieving the goals of yoga. In this chapter the author gives a description of the eight limbs of yoga called Ashtanga Yoga, which is how the yoga sutras are sometimes referred to.


The third chapter focuses on some of the supernatural powers that an adept yogi may be able to attain.


In the fourth chapter the nature of the mind and mental perceptions, desire, bondage and liberation and  what follows it are discussed.


The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are also sometimes referred to as "Raja Yoga".