Story of Patanjali and the Gift of Yoga Knowledge - Part 1

Patanjali Yoga Sutras Knowledge Sheet 1

We will begin with a story, the greatest and most effective way of conveying knowledge. 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 ill. They also wanted to know what to do when people got sick.

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

Vishnu was lying on the bed of snakes — the serpent Adishésha with a 1,000 heads. When the Rishis approached Him, he gave them Adishésha, the symbol of awareness, who took birth in the world as Maharishi Patanjali.

So Patanjali came to this earth to give this knowledge of yoga which came to be known as the yoga sutras. Patanjali said he was not going to discuss the yoga sutras unless 1,000 people got together. So 1,000 people gathered south of Vindhya Mountains to listen to him.

Patanjali had another condition — 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 finished. So Patanjali stayed behind the curtain and he transmitted his knowledge to the 1,000 gathered. Each of them absorbed this knowledge. It was an amazing phenomenon and even amongst the students, they could not believe how they were getting this knowledge, how the master was making each of them understand without uttering words from behind the curtain.

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

This is the first in a series of articles
based on Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s commentary on Patanjali Yoga Sutras.

Read introduction to Patanjali Yoga Sutras

Patanjali Yoga Sutras : Commentary by Gurudev

But 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 Wednesday in the next Patanjali Yoga knowledge sheet.

What meaning have you unlocked from this story?

In this story, there is a lot of depth. The puranas do not give any explanation. They just give a story and it is for us to unlock the 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?

<<Introduction to Patanjali Yoga Sutras

Story of Patanjali Part 2>>


(This is part of a series of knowledge sheets based on Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's commentaries on Patanjali Yoga Sutras.)

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