Synopses & Reviews
In Glimpses of Raja Yoga, Vimala Thakar introduces the basic concepts of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras by focusing on different sutra, or aphorism, in each of the twelve chapters. In her opening chapter, she presents the historical and cultural background of Patanjali's Raja Yoga. Chapter 2 contains an eloquent invocation of the dimension of Silencethe meditative state that one enters with the stilling of the mind. Chapters 3-6 examine the ethical principles and observances (the yamas and niyamas) that form the foundation of a healthy spiritual practice. Here Vimala discusses the importance of ahimsa (non-violence) and satya (truthfulness), and offers a radical interpretation of brahmacarya based on her understanding of Sanskrit. Chapter 7 concerns the kleshas or causes of suffering such as avidya (ignorance) and asmita (egotism). Chapter 8 discriminates between dharana (meditation with deliberate focus) and dhyana (effortless meditation), and reflects Vimala's own experience. Chapter 9 describes the relation of prakriti (matter) and purusha (spirit) according to Patanjali. Chapters 10-12 describe the ultimate goal of the yogic journeythe absolute freedom of samadhi.
Indian sage Patanjali wrote his famous Yoga Sutras sometime around 250 B.C. and they are still widely regarded as the ultimate text on yoga practice. However, many modern practitioners find his aphorisms too inaccessible, and analysis has tended to obscure rather than reveal their meaning. Vimala Thakar cuts through the mystique by returning to the root meaning of the Sutras' Sanskrit words and reveals, at last, their basic concepts. Glimpses of Raja Yoga provides an in-depth look into the ancient Indian culture that gave rise to the Upanishads and the Yoga Sutras, the dimension of Silence that lies beyond meditation, the yamas (restraints) and niyamas (observances) that form the basis of ethics in yoga, and much more. By demonstrating the direct relevance of the Sutras to modern yoga practice, Glimpses of Raja Yoga opens the spiritual horizons of yoga practitioners everywhere.