Yoga Karika

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A presentation of the contents of Patanjali Yogasutra with precise explanations in English while retaining the original Sanskrit sutra and the commentary in verse form, termed as Karika (exegesis). Some say that Kārikā has rendered Sage Vyasa’s commentary in its most abridged or simplified form. This is followed by sarala-tika (simple commentary) by Swami Hariharananda Aranya himself and has tried to further elucidate the concepts which could not be otherwise clarified easily hitherto. Thus, this exposition is purported to unfold the concepts that are not clearly understood from Kārikā.

The book is divided into four pada (chapters) devoted to each pada of Yogasutra. The Karika elaborates on a brief understanding of the concepts in-built in the aphorisms. Sometimes more than one Kārikā verse has been devoted to explain and clarify the concept and practices, therefore the number of Kārikā verses have increased up to 346 from only 195 aphorisms of Patañjali Yogasūtra.

The English translation of the Yoga Kārikā is presented in the following sequence of content:

  1. Original Patañjali Yogasūtra in Sanskrit
  2. Sūtra or aphorism in transliterated form
  3. Meaning of the Sūtra
  4. Original Yoga Kārikā
  5. Kārikā in transliterated form
  6. Meaning of each word of Kārikā
  7. Translation
  8. Special notes (wherever necessary)

It is a well-known fact that Yogasutra of Patanjali is one such sūtra text in the orthodox system of Indian Philosophy which has been commented upon by a maximum number of commentators. This indicates two important facts about Yogasutra – (a) Its practical nature might have attracted the maximum number of commentators towards it, as well as (b) the terse composition of its aphorisms necessitated the elucidation by several commentators. Further, the synthesis of theory and practice is in itself a rare phenomenon in Indic philosophy, and Yogasutra is perhaps the rare example of its kind. In this way Yoga Kārikā carries forward, in modern times, the ancient tradition of Yoga.

In summary, this presentation contains the Patañjali Yogasūtra followed by Kārikā verses (exegesis) on it, which is again followed by sarala-tika (simple commentary) by Swāmī Hariharānanda Āraṇya. Since the Kārikā verses have been construed to explain the aphorisms, they form the essential core of the textual presentation, hence each sūtra has been presented in English translation along with its transliteration and the meaning thereof.

The meaning of each word of the Kārikā is provided as a reference for those who want to know about how the translators have arrived at the translation of the Kārikā. The word meanings that have been provided are not direct dictionary translations of the words but the meanings which are given with reference to context. Readers may also find at various places, the reflection of the simple commentary in the translation of the Kārikā in order to provide better understanding in accordance with the views of Swāmī Hariharānanda Āraṇya.

This work is called Yoga Kārikā, which has a name similarity with that of Sāṃkhya Kārikā. However, the case with Yoga Kārikā cannot be directly compared with that of Sāṃkhya Kārikā, though undoubtedly the word “Kārikā” attracts the scholar's attention. While fundamentally Patanjali Yogasutra has a Sāṃkhya metaphysical foundation, the practical efficaciousness of Yoga is not restricted to it only, which is the reason Yoga has been accepted as spiritual practice by the philosophies with different metaphysical foundations other than Samkhya framework. The uniqueness of Yoga Karika consists in shedding light on both the Samkhya metaphysical thoughts as well as on the subtle practical aspects of Yoga. Only a realized scholar adept of the caliber of Swami Hariharananda Aranya can take up this challenge, which he has presented in this rare and exquisite work.

Title: Swami Hariharananda Aranya’s Yoga Kārikā
Authors: Swami Maheshananda & Dr. B. R. Sharma, Shri G. S. Sahay, Shri R. K. Bodhe
Publisher: Kaivalyadhama, Swami Kuvalayananda Marg, Maharashtra, India
Publication Date: 13 November 2008
Total Pages: 258
Language: English and Sanskrit
Binding: Paperback with colour paper jacket
ISBN: 81-89485-50-4

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