Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Commentary by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

We will begin with a story - the greatest and most effective way of conveying knowledge.

What is Patanjali Yoga Sutras?

Once upon a time long ago, all the Munis and Rishis approached Lord Vishnu to tell him that even though He (incarnated as Lord Dhanvanthari) had given them the means to cure illnesses through Ayurveda, people still fell sick. They wanted to know what to do when people got sick.

Sometimes it's not just physical illness, but mental and emotional illness too that needs to be dealt with. How does one get rid of impurities like anger, lust, greed, and jealousy? What is the formula?

Lord Vishnu was lying on his bed of snakes — the serpent Adishésha with 1000 heads. When the Rishis approached Him, He gave them Adishésha (the symbol of awareness), who took birth in the world as Maharishi Patanjali.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

 

Hence Patanjali came to this earth to give this knowledge of yoga, which came to be known as the Yoga Sutras.

Patanjali said that he was not going to discuss the Yoga Sutras unless 1000 people got together. So, 1000 people gathered south of the Vindhya Mountains to listen to him.

Patanjali had another condition. He said that he would put a screen between him and his students, and told them that nobody was to lift the screen or leave. Everybody had to stay in the hall till he had finished.

Patanjali stayed behind the curtain and transmitted his knowledge to the 1000 people who had gathered, and each of them absorbed this knowledge. It was an amazing phenomenon where the students could not believe how they were getting this knowledge. They could not believe how the master was making each of them understand this knowledge without uttering even a word from behind the curtain.

Everybody was amazed. Each one of them experienced such a blast of energy and enthusiasm that they could not contain it. But they still had to maintain discipline.

One little boy had to go out to attend nature's call. So, he left the room. He thought to himself that he would go quietly and return quietly. Another person became curious, "What is the Master doing behind the curtain? I want to see."

Does the boy lift the curtain? Find out in the next Patanjali Yoga knowledge sheet.

What meaning have you unlocked from this story of Patanjali Yoga Sutras?

There is a lot of depth in this story. The Puranas don't give any explanation, but it is for us to unlock the hidden meaning. So, what is that you all have to find out?

  • How did the master convey the knowledge to everybody without uttering a word?
  • What was the significance of the veil?

Story of Patanjali Part 1