Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali are 196 sūtras (aphorisms) that constitute the foundational text of yoga, and in particular of rāja yoga. They present the royal (rāja) yoga in an eight-limbed (ashtānga) system. The text is based on the Sankhya school.
The Yoga Sūtras were written (or compiled) by Patañjali, the opinion of many scholars being that Patañjali was not the creator of yoga, which existed well before him, but merely a great expounder.
Patañjali divided his Yoga Sutras into four chapters or books (Sanskrit: pada) as follows:
- Samadhi Pada (51 sutras): Describes the state of absorption (samādhi) where the yogi becomes one with the object of meditation.
- Sadhana Pada (55 sutras). Describes the practice or discipline that leads to the attainment of samādhi. It includes two forms of yoga: a preliminar one called Kriya Yoga and the first five "limbs" of the eightfold yoga (ashtānga yoga).
- Vibhuti Pada (56 sutras). Describes the three final and central "limbs" of the eightfold system and the psychic powers (Sanskrit: siddhi) that result from the practice of yoga.
- Kaivalya Pada (34 sutras). Describes the process of liberation (Sanskrit: Kaivalya, literally "isolation"), which is the goal of yoga.