Previous Page
Table Of Contents
Next Page

 

36

BOOK REVIEWS

 

HOW TO KNOW GOD: THE YOGA APHORISMS OF PATANJALI; translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood. Harper & Bros. $2.50

 

THIS LITTLE VOLUME is both inspiring and practical and is a companion edition to the authors' "Bhagavad-Gita." No matter what his religious belief, a person can only be the richer for having studied this translation of the famous Aphorisms of Patanjali. The language is simple so that anyone can read it and derive spiritual benefit from it if they are open-minded. I can recommend it both for the one who has become familiar with Hindu religion and philosophy and for the one who has not. For the first, it is a new and fresh presentation of an old theme; for the second, it is clear, understandable and easy to grasp. It should do much to bring about a meeting of Eastern and Western thought.

 

The book (just the right size for reading in bed!) contains a listing of short, pithy sentences summing up and reorganizing Yoga philosophy and practice previous to the time of Patanjali (300 to 15O B.C.). These aphorisms have been expanded and paraphrased for easier reading. Below each one is a commentary by the translators, who have interpreted them from a Vedantist viewpoint. There is much in this book to give food for thought and inspiration for spiritual practice. I thought it might be interesting, since BABA has recently instructed us to repeat the Name of God, to quote from the author's own commentaries:

 

“The truth is that we are all inclined to flatter ourselves . . . despite our daily experience to the contrary, that we spend our time thinking logical; consecutive thoughts. In fact, most of us do no such thing. Consecutive thought about any one problem occupies a very small proportion of our waking hours. More usually we are in a state of reverie . . . a mental fog of disconnected sense-impressions, irrelevant memories, nonsensical scraps . . . but now, if we introduce into this reverie the repetition of the name of God, we shall find that we can control our moods, despite the interference of the outside world. . . . When the mind is so violently disturbed by pain or fear or the necessities of some physical emergency that it cannot possibly be used for meditation or even rational thought, there is still one thing that you can always do: you can repeat His name, over and over . . . Through constant practice, the repetition becomes automatic . . ."  — M.B.E

 

 

Previous Page
Table Of Contents
Next Page