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How to Know God: Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali [Paperback]

Patanjali , Swami Prabhavananda , Christopher Isherwood
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vedanta Press,U.S.; New edition edition (Dec 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874810418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874810417
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.7 x 16.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

A major work on the practice of yoga and meditation. Learn how you can control your mind and achieve inner freedom and peace through methods taught for over 2,000 years. Vedanta Press's most popular title, this book is widely used in yoga classes as an important introduction to Raja Yoga. "A rendering, at once lively and profoundly instructive, of a world classic which ... remains as vividly topical, as realistically to the point, as when it first saw the light." -- Aldous Huxley. "A beautiful translation and our personal favorite by far.... Highly recommended." -- Books for Inner Development. This title is the book spotlighted in George Harrison's final album "Brainwashed."

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to know God indeed. 7 July 2006
Quote from book - "One of the most attractive characteristics of Patanjali's philosophy is its breadth of vision, its universality. There is no attempt here to impose any particular cult upon the spiritual aspirant. God is within us, and it is by the light of his presence- no matter how dimly it shines through the layers of our ignorance- that we fashion our own pictures and symbols of goodness and project them upon the outside world"

How to know God is a collection of yoga aphorisms of Pantanjali written in-between the 4th century B.C and the 4th century A.D. is the best guess by scholars. The translations themselves although limited with our use of language, are very good and full of insights.

Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood have done an excellent job with the commentary and this is where the heart of this book lies, this is where the insights come to life and as well as educating you in several philosophies, they inspire the reader to start meditation.

There is a smattering of humour within this scholarly work, and I cannot stress how flawless the commentary is, well worth reading if you are embarking on a spiritual journey and there is plenty to meditate about within this little gem of a book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Universality of yoga philosophy 12 Oct 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have read this book over and over again. Although there are many commentaries on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali this one is perhaps the best for anyone who originally comes from a Christian background and practises yoga. It might even rekindle your faith. Looking at the faith you are brought up in from a different angle is often quite enlightening and it is worth reading deep Christian literature as much of what is said there is very much along the same lines as the sutras but perhaps not expressed quite so succinctly! Christopher Isherwood gives a deep insight into how the practice of yoga can aid a spiritual aspirant to purify body and mind in order to pursue the spiritual journey and it is fascinating how the commentary refers to the Catholic tradition and draws parallels. The commentary provides guidance on stilling and controlling the mind in order to roll back the veil of illusion and discover the Kingdom of God within ourselves. This book stimulated me to a spiritual search which I might not otherwise have undertaken. Ever grateful to my yoga tutor for recommending this particular commentary. I am now more convinced that yoga is a universal set of tools for the spiritual journey in any tradition. Vedanta appears to be the key.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eastern Spirituality at it's Peak 29 Oct 2002
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Patanjali was a Hindu master who lived sometime between BC400 and 400AD. This 1953 translation is by the Californian Vedantist, Swami Prabhavananda, and Christopher Isherwood - well after saying goodbye to Berlin! There is a superb commentary, which is the purpose of the book.

The book is a treatise on Yoga, divided into aims, practice, powers and liberation. The Swami has a deep understanding of Catholicism (read also his Sermon on the Mount according to Vedanta) and his commentary is spot on for westerners. He explains mind control, purification, non-attachment and the art of meditation and contemplation. There is nothing that would offend Christians and any attempt to use the physical powers of Yoga is discouraged. Read the work, pick a few Christian images, concentrate and remove all the cloying stains of Maya, the illusory world of space and time. This should be obligatory reading in school religious courses; it cannot help but transform your outlook on life.

Of course the depth of spiritual achievement depends on the time available for meditation and contemplation, but even a small amount of time each day devoted to study of the book brings benefit, and one can take on trust the Swami's beautifully clear statements about those things that only the monk has time to discover.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gem! 1 Jan 2011
This is a little gem of a book. It provides inspiration and guidance on Patanjali's ideas. The author obviously has a deep understanding of the subject and delivers it with integrity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Gold 25 July 2012
By x iLeon
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is beautiful in tying Patanjali's classic with modern commentary. The latter includes expositions and explication of the theosophical Hindu background, drawn from the Vedas, the Gita, Sankhya and even Buddhism. It also includes metaphors, anecdotes and practical examples while also explaining differences between various strands and in reference to christian script and practice too. If you have delved in Hinduism, Buddhism, Yoga, meditation and so forth, this is a must. You get to the core of what Yoga is all about and how to achieve it.
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