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The Yoga tradition is much older, there are references in the Mahābhārata, and the Gitā identifies three kinds of yoga. The Yoga Sūtras codifies the royal or best (rāja) yoga practices, presenting these as an eight-limbed system (ashtānga). The philosophic tradition is related to the Sankhya school. The focus is on the mind; the second sutra defines Yoga – it is the cessation of all mental fluctuations, all wandering thoughts cease and the mind is focused on a single thought.
In contrast to the focus on the mind in the Yoga sutras, later traditions of Yoga such as the Hatha yoga focus on more complex asanas or body postures.
Patañjali defended in his yoga-treatise several ideas that are not the mainstream of either Sankhya or Yoga. He, according to the Iyengar adept, biographer and scholar Kofi Busia, acknowledges the ego, not as a separate entity. The subtle body linga sarira he would not regard as permanent and he would deny it a direct control over external matters. This is not in accord with classical Sankhya and Yoga.
Although much of the aphorisms in the Yoga Sutra possibly pre-dates Patanjali, it is clear that much is original and it is more than a mere compilation. The clarity and unity he brought to divergent views prevalent till then have inspired a long line of teachers and practitioners up to the present day in which B.K.S. Iyengar is a known defender. With some translators, he seems to be a dry and technical propounder of the philosophy, but with others, he is an empathic and humorous witty friend and spiritual guide.
Patañjali (Sanskrit: पतञ्जलि, IPA: [pət̪əɲɟəli]) is a Sanskrit proper name. Several important Sanskrit works are ascribed to one or more authors of this name, and a great deal of scholarship has been devoted over the last century or so to the issue of disambiguation.
Amongst the more important authors called Patañjali are:
– The author of the Mahābhāṣya, an advanced treatise on Sanskrit grammar and linguistics framed as a commentary on Kātyāyana’s vārttikas (short comments) on Pāṇini’s Aṣṭādhyāyī. This Patañjali’s life is the only one which can be securely dated (as one of the grammatical examples he uses makes reference to the siege of the town of Sāketā by the Greeks, an event known from other sources to have taken place around 120 BC).
– The compiler of the Yoga Sūtras, an important collection of aphorisms on Yoga practice, who according to some historians was a notable person of Samkhya, contemporaneous with Ishvarakrishna’s Samkhya-karika around 400 CE.
– The author of an unspecified work of medicine (āyurveda).
(Summary adapted from Wikipedia. org – Attribution: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?t…
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