The first new addition to our library is an introduction to “the Bible of yoga,” the Yoga Sutras or aphorisms by Patanjali compiled before the 5th century AD. We include the Sanskrit recitation from our Sacred Audio Collection, and several English translations and commentaries, to allow for careful study of this veritable survey of the pathways to the Self, towards “truth-bearing knowledge and wisdom distinct from and beyond the knowledge gleaned from books, testimony, or inference,” towards the “new life that begins with this truth-bearing light.”
The yogi differentiates between the wavering uncertainties of thought processes and the understanding of the Self, which is changeless. He does his work in the world as a witness, uninvolved and uninfluenced. His mind reflects its own form, undistorted, like a crystal. At this point, all speculation and deliberation come to an end and liberation is experienced.
• In the 11th century, the great Persian philosopher Al-Biruni, the “father of Indology”, authored a translation of the Yoga Sutras into Arabic, thereby interpreting the Hindu pantheon for Muslim readers and setting a precedent for subsequent comparative studies. We present here a detailed English translation of Al-Biruni’s by Shlomo Pines.
When they were read to me letter by letter, and when I grasped their content, my mind could not forgo letting those who wish to study them share in my knowledge… What is written black on white cannot but constitute a new learning whose knowledge should lead to the attainment of some good and to the avoidance of harm.
• To complete our selection, we present an article by the late John Tavener, a very personal and deep appreciation of Mozart, in “A Celebration of an Unconscious Mystic,” where he explains how “God used this frail man to communicate to the world the eternal vision of childhood, and the divine world of Lila, a Sanskrit term meaning ‘divine play’,” and that “all his operatic characters are paradisal because, like Shakespeare, Mozart has forgiven all, even Don Giovanni.”