Today is Patanjali Jayanti where the teachings of sage Patanjali are celebrated. Patanjali codified yoga into 196 terse aphorisms. He took the vast teachings of yoga and condensed them so they can be recited as an oral tradition and passed on from teacher to student generation to generation. To study and live the Sutras will allow your practice to have a sense of direction and give you guidance on dealing with all life circumstances.
I saw that there will be a special class at RIMYI where the entire Yoga Sutras will be recited along with 108 names of Patanjali. It sounds like it will be a very special event.
This is one of my favorite versions of the invocations by Neel Kulkarni. His chanting is comforting and emotional. Just beautiful. See the words below to follow along. Happy Patanjali Jayanti!
Invocation to Patanjali
Yogena cittasya padena vacam
malam sarirasya ca vaidyakena
yopakarottam pravaram muninam
sankha cakrasi dharinam
sahasra sirasam svetam pranamami patanjalim.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra’s are a useful reference for modern yoga practitioners. I find his yoga aphorisms interesting but mostly unintelligible– until after I read interpretations from Sanskrit scholars and yoga historians like David Gordon White, professor at UC Santa Barbara. He’s written several academic books on yoga practice and a biography of Patanjali.
Why “worship” or perform rituals for Patanjali?
The man was a philosopher in 400 CE who compiled other people’s ideas on yoga into a short book of aphorisms that became popular only during the last 50 years. Historians say he wasn’t a yogi or practitioner or yoga. He was an intellectual. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be grateful for his works. We should. Just concerned modern yogis seem to not know who Patanjali, the man, was historically and modern yogis are elevating him into a larger-than-life mythical-spiritual hero.
Thanks Scott. I study the Sutras most days and have found great comfort in them during difficult times in my Yoga practice and in my personal life. Not so much in the lofty siddhi-s or samadhi states, but in the everyday Yama and Niyama practice and recognition of my own Kleshas. I have also found much hope in the Sutras that is independent of just studying them for intellectual purposes.
This day is recognized as a celebration to Patanjali and his teachings. His depiction of half man and half snake has drawn much ire in the West, but it is symbolic of how he conquered the three gunas with each coil representing a state of being.
In my heart, I feel as though it is more of a birthday/special event celebration than a somber religious ceremony. It is bhakti to the teacher of my teachers. I study Iyengar Yoga and the Iyengar family is deeply devoted to Patanjali and his teachings. Many in the West who practice Yoga don’t even know or care about Patanjali, so it nice that there are communities of practitioners who celebrate his lineage. We recite the above invocation before each class to recognize that we are the thread in this tradition. It is along the lines of those who practice traditional martial arts and bow to their teacher before entering the mat, only a bit deeper.
Wouldn’t it be nice in the West if we had special days to celebrate our teachers?
I didn’t realize Patanjali was such an important person in the “lineage” of Iyengar teachers– if I understand you correctly? It is good to be grateful towards ancestors and what they’ve left us to build upon today.
While I was an SRF monk I celebrated the special commemoration days throughout the year that honored the l lineage of our 6 spiritual teachers: Jesus Christ, Krishna, Babaji, Lahiri Mahasaya, Sri Yukteswar, and Paramahansa Yogananda). There were other saints and sages who were respected but these 6 were our unique lineage.
What other “teachers” do you honor in the Iyengar lineage? Maybe you could write about the lineage or about each of the teachers…
Reblogged this on IYENGAR YOGA BLOG.
Reblogged this on The Happy Owl.
Pingback: Sequence as Mantra | Home Yoga Practice