Yogadarshana, though ancient in origin, is applicable to all irrespective of space, time and clime. It reveals newer meanings after pondering over it and practicing it diligently without a break. It guides us to achieve a balanced state of mind, to explore tremendous capacity that lies hidden within each one of us and to get rid of pain and suffering. It is a teaching of human development and learning which has the capacity to change our life completely. Readers should practice it and see the change in their lives.
It gives me great pleasure to present this book to the students of Yoga. I have been a student of Sanskrit, specializing in Vedic literature. My marriage into the Londhe family opened the field of Yoga to me. My father-in-law late K. V. Londhe was a renowned Yoga teacher of Kaivalyadham, Mumbai. My husband was trained under him and I too got wonderful Yoga training under him. But my father-in-law impressed upon me to undergo the Teachers’ Training Certificate Course from Kaivalyadham, Lonavla in 1981. In this course I was introduced for the first time to Pᾱtanjala Yogasūtras along with practical training. I started conducting practical sessions in Yoga in Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya, Mumbai, where I had already been appointed Professor of Sanskrit.
Being a teacher of Sanskrit, I had been teaching different philosophical systems. My interest in Yoga was mainly for its practical aspect. I could see the benefits my students and others were getting by practicing Yoga. It was my earnest desire to pursue the field which would give relief to the distressed and positively help people lead a better life and also develop myself into a better human being. Hence, I focused mostly on Yoga, both in its practical and theoretical aspects. This prompted me to study Pᾱtanjala
Yogadarshana in detail. I was fortunate to be invited by Kaivalyadham, Mumbai and Department of Philosophy, University of Mumbai to teach Yogadarshana. This strengthened my foundations and deepened my understanding of Yoga. I studied various commentaries and explanations of Yogadarshana which were explained from various viewpoints. I decided to interpret it in the traditional way, following the commentary of Vyᾱsa, combining it with my practical experience.
My teaching of Yoga i. e. Ᾱsanas and Prᾱnayᾱma made me aware of my limitations in understanding the hidden dimensions of Yoga. I was in search of these when I came across a Sanskrit scholar from Pune, Dr. S. N. Bhavsar. He has been a practitioner of Yoga and has knowledge of various disciplines of Sanskrit like Vedas, Grammar, Astronomy, Ayurveda and was quite conversant with Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Modern Medicine as well. He had developed a paradigm called ‘Space-Time-Motion’. My husband and myself studied under him this novel theory which he has been applying to different types of patients. After training under him for six years, I started delivering lectures on this paradigm. We conducted workshops and started treating patients under Dr. Bhavsar’s guidance initially and then independently. We integrated this knowledge with our Yoga training. We could see better results with this integration. My husband Arun Londhe published Dr. Bhavsar’s book in Marathi on this paradigm with theory and cases, on the occasion of the first death anniversary of my father-in-law in 2000. Next year, Dr. Bhavsar wrote a book in English explaining the theory of Space-Time-Motion in detail with case studies. I was fortunate to be the editor of both these books. A book on Shivasvarodaya was also written by Dr. Bhavsar, edited by me and published by Arun Londhe.
We were getting enriched by such studies, but we were also searching for some kind of Yogic discipline which would lead us on the spiritual path. We were fortunate to meet Shri Shibenduji Lahiri, the great-grandson of Lahiri Mahashaya. In 2002, we were initiated by him into the wonderful discipline of Kriyᾱyoga which is propounded by the dynastic lineage of Lahiri Mahashay. Both of us have followed it ardently with guidance from Shri Shibenduji. This helped us reach a mature level in the spiritual field.
We came to know about Mrs. Ujwal Kunte through our acquaintance around 2007. She has scaled the height of spirituality by her sincere and intense practice over 30 years. She has written 11 books describing in simple Marathi language her spiritual experiences. These books guide us to change our attitude and outlook and inspire us to proceed on the path of inner Sᾱdhanᾱ slowly but with firm belief and trust. We acted on her suggestion and translated one of her Marathi books into English. The major workload of translation was borne by Mr. Arun, since I was then pre-occupied with the University work. The translation is titled Essence of Spirituality (2014). We used to meet Mrs. Kunte often at her residence in Thane, and would discuss and improve upon our draft of translation, along with some members of her family. We were lucky to get her company for long hours and to experience her love, care and hospitality as also got inspiration to tread our spiritual path.
Around 2014, we were lucky to meet Dr. Bhavsar’s young friends Dr. Sanjay Phadke, Neuro-Psychiatrist, and Dr. Leena Phadke, Professor of Physiology,
in SKN Medical College, Pune. Both of them in spite of being Medical professionals are fascinated by Pᾱtanjala Yogasūtras and are doing Process Research on the effects of Yoga on Autonomic Nervous System. They introduced us to the connections between ancient Yogadarshana and modern Neuroscience. We did a course under them for two years. This knowledge enriched us tremendously.
This is the path which we treaded together from 1981 to 2017. My husband wanted me to write my interpretation of Yogadarshana which I had been teaching for more than two decades. I am fulfilling his wish and dedicating this book to his memory with deep love and reverence.
My interpretation of Yogadarshana mainly rests on the commentary by Vyᾱsa. I am deeply indebted to Sᾱnkhya-Yogᾱchᾱrya Swami Hariharananda Aranya for his wonderful exposition of Yogasūtras. I rely on his book Yoga Philosophy of Patanjali while interpreting many sūtras. I value his views because these emerge from his practice in Samkhya-Yoga way. I have made use of I.K.Taimini’s book The Science of Yoga while interpreting some sūtras specially from the viewpoint of Physics or The theory of Evolution. I am indebted to both of them and other writers (mentioned in the Bibliography) on Yogadarshana for giving me insight in this ancient yet ever new treatise.
The Appendices contain three of my academic papers on Pᾱtanjala Yogadarshana, which would further enhance understanding of Yogasūtras.
I thank all those who have guided me on this path. My daughter Mrs. Yogini Patwardhan, her husband Mr. Shailesh and grandson Siddharth need special thanks for supporting me through out. My colleagues, friends in the field of Sanskrit and on the path of Yoga have been a great solace in my life.
There is a saying in Sanskrit, ‘Shivo bhūtvᾱ shivam yajet’ which means ‘Be Shiva to worship Shiva’. I have tried to follow the dictum ‘Patanjalih bhūtvᾱ Pᾱtanjalam pathet pᾱthayet cha‘ i.e. read and teach Pᾱtanjala Yogadarshana by becoming Patanjali. Of course, I could not become Patanjali myself, but was constantly pondering over the sūtras and tried to practice Kriyᾱyoga and Ashtᾱnga Yoga diligently and with deep faith. This book is the outcome of my intense and long engagement with Patanjali and I am offering it to the students of Yoga.
I seek blessings of all my revered Gurus and teachers, my parents, parents-in-law, elders in the family and well-wishers. I would like to remain indebted to them forever.
I thank Mr. Jayant Ponkshe (www.bookhungama.com) for neatly formatting and publishing my type-script as an e-book.
Dr. Veena Londhe