Sankara on the Yoga Sutras1 min read

The present work is the first complete English translation of a highly significant historical find, an unknown early Sanskrit sub-commentary purporting to be by Sankara, on the Yoga sutras of Patanjali. It is judged to be a genuine work of Sankara, Indiau2019s greatest riligious and philosophical genius and architect of the non-dual Vedanta school.

This is a sub-commentary (vivarana) to the terse exposition of Patanjali by Vyasa, the earliest surviving classic of the Yoga school. That school differs from Sankarau2019s Vedanta on several philosophical points, but he regarded it as authoritative on meditation practice, which is central to both schools. The existence of this vivarana is of great importance to the study and reappraisal of Sankarau2019s thought and teaching. It is now clear that the many references in Sankarau2019s works to Yoga practice are not mere concessions to accepted ideas of the time, but that it was central to his practice.

The vivarana is written with great originality and confidence. The long commentary on God completely jettisons the narrow sutra definition in favour of a supreme Creator, as evidenced by many ingenious arguments on the lines of the present day cosmological anthropic principle. The doctrine that the future already exists, and that time is purely relative, anticipate the Einstein era.

This study consists of revised editions of Trevor Leggettu2019s two previous volumes, which presented Parts One and Two of the vivarana, and the new translations of Parts Three and Four. The complete work is thus published here for the first time. In the book, the Patanjali sutras (about AD 300) are accompanied by Vyasau2019s commentary (about AD 540-650) and by the Sankara vivarana commentary (about AD 700) to allow full textual and philosophical comparison.