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4.6 out of 5 stars16
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 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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on 12 October 2010
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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VINE VOICEon 29 October 2002
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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on 25 July 2012
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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on 1 January 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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on 12 February 2012
I am new to yoga and meditating and have bought other books on patanjalis sutras, this book is far and away the best book for a beginner, it is very easy to understand and I have already read it twice.
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on 2 December 2014
Best book about religion that I have read so far as it has a way of connecting with the audience and really gets into teaching techniques to remain balanced and connected with God. Some holy books are sometimes quite tricky to interpret and techniques and teachings and general application of the teachings and principles are often lacking. This book helps bridge the gap. The buddhist eight fold path is also a good read on this note. Highly recommended.
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on 7 June 2015
This explains the process of Patanjali Yoga well though I was trying to find an old book I practiced with many years ago which was authored by 2 people whom I think were Dr Elizabeth Haitch and Iyengar but I cannot be certain of this and that was an amazing book which took me to a far greater level starting on concentrating and meditating on an apple!
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on 24 July 2014
There are many different translations of the Aphorisms and an equal number of approaches to them, this one is particularly clear and very readable whether one is interested in the Samkhya Philosophy from which it stems or Yoga in the more general sense.
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on 20 January 2013
Excellent commentary on a classic of vedantic literature, including the sanskrit for those who might want to see it. With good practical advice for those lacking a current teacher.
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