Swami Tattwamayananda’s exposition of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras was given at the Vedanta Society of Northern California, San Francisco (founded by Swami Vivekananda in 1900) from October 10, 2014 to December 21, 2018 in a series of 111 lectures. These lectures include a mixture of philosophy both Eastern and Western, history, psychology, comparative theology, mysticism, classical parables, and simple everyday examples.
Patanjali was a great Indian sage who wrote major treatises on Ayurveda, Sanskrit grammar and Yoga. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali contain 195 sutras organized into four chapters. It gives a complete analysis of the mental system, how to transcend mental conflicts by linking the mind to a transcendental spiritual reality and how to become established in our true nature.
The classes are given from the viewpoint of Vedanta, one of the oldest philosophies of the world, which constitute the universal spiritual essence of the Vedas, the foundational scriptures of Hinduism. During the exposition, the Swami has drawn extensively from authentic Sanskrit commentaries and interpretative works like ‘Yoga-Bhasya’ of Vyasa, ‘Tattwa-Vaisharadi” of Vachaspati Mishra, ‘Yoga-Varttika’ of Vijnana Bhikshu, ‘Raja-Martanda’ of Bhoja Raja, ‘Yoga-Sudhakara’ of Sadashivendra Saraswati, with occasional references from ‘Yoga-Maniprabha’ of Ramananda Yati, ‘Patanjala-Yogashastra-Vivarana’ of Sri Shankara, and interpretations of Yoga-aphorisms by Swami Vivekananda and Swami Hariharananda Aranya.
“By the Vedas no books are meant. They mean the accumulated treasury of spiritual laws discovered by different persons in different times.” “The moral, ethical, and spiritual relations between soul and soul and between individual spirits and the Father of all spirits, were there before their discovery, and would remain even if we forgot them." (Paper on Hinduism, Swami Vivekananda, World's Parliament of Religions 1893)
According to this series of classes, the Yoga system of Patanjali reaches its ultimate fulfillment in the conclusions of Vedanta, that there is one all-pervading, immanent, eternal spiritual reality, which is our own true nature.
In the original text of Patanjali the order is 1. Samadhipada 2. Sadhanapada 3. Vibhutipada 4. Kaivalyapada. But in this exposition of the Yoga-sutra the speaker has followed a different order, which seems to be more logical from the standpoint of actual Yoga-sadhana, i.e., 1. Sadhanapada 2. Vibhutipada 3. Samadhipada 4. Kaivalyapada. To help beginners in the study of Yoga philosophy, the basic definitions from the first few aphorisms of Samadhipada are explained at the beginning.
All Original Content © Vedanta Society of Northern California
111 – Ashtanga Yoga and Freedom | Patanjali Yoga Sutras | Swami Tattwamayananda
Lecture by Swami Tattwamayananda. The eight limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga completely remove the impure inherited tendencies of the mind. First, one practices ethical disciplines and then acquires a good posture for meditation. Then, one is able to obtain an effortless and free yogic concentration. This concentration leads to spiritual insight and the power to break through all bondages of the mind. Verse: II.28
110 – Samskaras: the Mystery of Human Character | Patanjali Yoga Sutras | Swami Tattwamayananda
Lecture by Swami Tattwamayananda. This lecture constitutes a review of the process by which Yoga leads us beyond mental conflicts and to inner contentment. Mental conflicts come from hidden inherited tendencies from past lives - Samskaras. This idea is Patanjali’s major contribution to psychology. By taking care of these samskaras, we can transcend the conflict between intellect and the accumulated habits and memories.
109 – Cloud of Virtue: What the Great Prophets Had | Patanjali Yoga Sutras | Swami Tattwamayananda
Lecture by Swami Tattwamayananda. The mind is not the real I, the real I is Purusha. Reason has its limits but this instinctive wisdom goes beyond this. That’s why great prophets could do things and say things whose meaning only become apparent after a long time. They had special insight. They found the whole foundation of truth within themselves. By not using such power for selfish purposes, we are able to prevent a fall. Then only Prarabdha Karma remains. Verses: IV.28, IV.29, IV.30
108 – The Real Seer is Self-Revealing | Patanjali Yoga Sutras | Swami Tattwamayananda
Lecture by Swami Tattwamayananda. This lecture contains a detailed analysis of the nature of the real seer, Purusha or Atman, according to multiple approaches. Verses: IV.17, IV.18, IV.19, IV.20
107 – The Unchanging Behind the Changing | Patanjali Yoga Sutras | Swami Tattwamayananda
Lecture by Swami Tattwamayananda. Vivarta Satkaryavada in Advaita Vedanta is reviewed. Nominalism of Buddhism is also explained. Advaita, according to Shankaracharya, is a combination of Absolute Idealism and Realism. Verses: IV.15, IV.16, IV.17, IV.18
106 – Objects and Minds in Buddhism and Yoga | Patanjali Yoga Sutras | Swami Tattwamayananda
Lecture by Swami Tattwamayananda. A comparison is made between Buddhist schools of philosophy and Yoga on the question of the relationship between minds and objects. Verses: IV.14, IV.15