The Study and Practice of Yoga (Volume One)



by Swami Krishnananda

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Hardcover: 573 pages
ISBN: 81-7052-188-2
Book Dimensions: 9.00 x 5.75 x 1.25 inches
Shipping Weight: 760 grams

Volume I | Volume II

Table of Contents

Chapter Title Page No.
  About This Book (Back Cover)  
  Inside Front Cover  
  Inside Back Cover  
  Foreword 5
1 The Aim of Yoga 13
2 The Foundation of the Discipline in Yoga Practice 22
3 A Broad Outline of the Stages of Yoga 32
4 Individuality and Consciousness 42
5 The Practice of Being Alone 53
6 Spiritual Life is Positive, Not Negative 64
7 Initial Steps In Yoga Practice 75
8 The Principle of Self-Affirmation 86
9 Perception and Reality 96
10 Self-Control: The Alpha and Omega of Yoga 107
11 The Integrality of the Higher Self 118
12 Sublimation – A Way to Reshuffle Thought 127
13 Defence Mechanisms of the Mind 139
14 The Indivisibility of All Things 150
15 Harmony with the Essential Make-up of Things 161
16 The Inseparability of Notions and the Mind 171
17 Objectivity is Experience 180
18 The Dual Process of Withdrawal and Contemplation 191
19 Returning to Pure Subjectivity 203
20 The World and Our World 212
21 Returning to Our True Nature 224
22 The Life and Goal of Our Existence 236
23 The Internal Relationship of All Things 247
24 Affiliation With Larger Wholes 261
25 Sadhana–Intensifying a Lighted Flame 272
26 The Gunas of Prakriti 282
27 Problems are a State of Mind 294
28 Bringing About Whole-Souled Dedication 305
29 The Play of the Gunas 316
30 The Cause of Bondage 328
31 Intense Aspiration 339
32 Our Concept of God 351
33 What Divine Love Is 362
34 Surrender to God 375
35 The Recitation of Mantra 386
36 The Rise of Obstacles in Yoga Practice 396
37 Preventing the Fall in Yoga 407
38 Impediments in Concentration and Meditation 419
39 Concentrating the Mind on One Reality 430
40 Re-Educating the Mind 442
41 Becoming Harmonious with All 454
42 How Feelings and Sensation Work 465
43 Harmonising Subject and Object 476
44 Assimilating the Object 488
45 Piercing the Structure of the Object 498
46 The Barrier of Space and Time 509
47 The Rise from Savitarka to Nirvitarka 520
48 Encountering Troubles and Opposition 533
49 The Rise to Savichara and Nirvichara 543
50 The States of Sanada and Sasmita 553
51 Sat-Chit-Ananda or God-Consciousness 564

About This Book

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are aphoristic prescriptions in the form of pithy one-liners for leading the mind into deeper states of absorption in the state of Samadhi, where the individual merges with the Absolute. A tranquil mind is a prerequisite for attaining higher states of awareness and the Yoga Sutras are a graduated manual for the achievement of this goal.

The aphorisms, as they are in their original form, cannot be easily understood. Swami Krishnananda’s commentary in his friendly, lucid style probes into the aphorisms and lays before seekers the approach to understanding the mind and its machinations, and how the hurdles that make meditation difficult can be overcome. The rendition and style with which this has been made possible is a tribute to Swamiji’s love for Truth.

This series of two volumes is an all-encompassing spiritual guide. The teachings are progressive in content and begin where most seekers find themselves when spiritual aspiration dawns and the need for higher understanding is felt. The reader is led gradually through the different aspects of practice and mind management. Volume I, which covers the Samadhi Pada, the first of the four sections of the Yoga Sutras, and provides a good introduction and in-depth understanding of the philosophy and practice of yoga including the levels of consciousness that are attained, has been printed first. Volume II covers the Sadhana Pada, Vibhuti Pada and Kaivalya Pada, which go into further detail about the practice of yoga using the aphoristic rungs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras as a veritable stairway on the path of the ascent of the spirit. Nothing is left unsaid as Swamiji brings the teachings together in two volumes as a complete treatise on this spiritual path.

Inside Front Cover

Swami Krishnananda is a highly respected philosophical writer, especially on metaphysics, psychology and sociology. Swamiji’s books are known the world over as excellent presentations of answers to the questions that arise in the day-to-day confrontations of a human being.

Swami Krishnananda is a direct disciple of His Holiness Swami Sivananda, founder of The Divine Life Society, and was the General Secretary from 1961 until 2001. Swamiji attained Mahasamadhi on 23rd November, 2001.

Inside Back Cover


1. A Short History of Religious and Philosophic Thought in India
2. An Analysis of the Brahma Sutra
3. An Introduction to the Philosophy of Yoga
4. Ascent of the Spirit
5. Attainment of the Infinite
6. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
7. Chhandogya Upanishad
8. Epic of Consciousness
9. Essays in Life and Eternity
10. In the Light of Wisdom
11. Mandukya Upanishad
12. Mundaka Upanishad
13. My Life
14. Philosophy of Life
15. Philosophy of Religion
16. Philosophy of the Bhagavadgita
17. Philosophy of the Panchadasi
18. Realisation of the Absolute
19. Resurgent Culture
20. Sadhana – The Spiritual Way
21. Secret of the Katha Upanishad
22. Self-realisation: Its Meaning and Method
23. Spiritual Import of the Mahabharata and the Bhagavadgita
24. Studies in Comparative Philosophy
25. To Thine Own Self Be True
26. Vision of Life
27. Yoga as a Universal Science
28. Yoga of Meditation
29. Your Questions Answered


This is a compilation of the 110 lectures that Swami Krishnananda delivered on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali between March and August in 1976. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are a manual on mind control, meditation and mental discipline–a manual for spiritual freedom. Crisp and pithy in rendition, the Sutras have an aphoristic quality and urge deeper reflection and dedicated application.

Across various philosophies the denotation of yoga varies. Patanjali uses the term ‘yoga’ to denote a complete cessation of mental modifications so that consciousness rests within itself in the state of moksha or liberation. This teaching has been delivered through emphasis on practice rather than mere philosophy, and this is verily a manual for us to operate the mind and thus our life.

The Yoga Sutras are divided into four padas or chapters. The first chapter, the Samadhi Pada on which this volume is based, focuses on concentration of the mind and the practical aspects necessary for attaining samadhi, or meditative absorption. The second chapter, the Sadhana Pada, is about attaining and holding that single-pointedness through reining in the agitations of the mind by cultivating dispassion, discrimination and dedication. The third chapter, the Vibhuti Pada, focuses on the technique of samyama which is the combination of concentration, meditation and communion for the liberation of the spirit, while the fourth chapter, the Kaivalya Pada, is a metaphysical disquisition which deals with various subjects as a sort of explanation of some of the themes dealt with in the earlier chapters.

It is fitting to draw the reader’s attention to the clarity and simplicity with which Swamiji Maharaj comments on these Sutras. Swami Krishnananda was the living embodiment of that awareness to which the Yoga Sutras and all spiritual texts guide. It is commonly said that Sanskrit, the language of the gods, is by far the only language that has transcended, to some extent, the limitations of vivid expression and bears in it the ability to express the nuances of spiritual processes and the resultant experiences that the great sages and masters have experienced and conveyed to us. That Swamiji is able to bend the limited English language to yield to his knowledge is a completely humbling experience.

These Yoga Sutras of Patanjali spoken by Swami Krishnananda are being made available to the public for the first time. It is our desire to retain the original lectures in their spoken form as much as possible. There are some unique twists of phrases and application of words that are uniquely Swamiji’s in origin and it has been sought to allow those to be as they were intended, without undermining the respect to the English language. Consequently the lectures have been edited in very few places to render them the way Swamiji spoke them.


October 30th, 2006

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