The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali
David Gordon White
The rise, fall, and modern resurgence of an enigmatic book revered by yoga enthusiasts around the world
Consisting of fewer than two hundred verses written in an obscure if not impenetrable language and style, Patanjali's Yoga Sutra is extolled by the yoga establishment as a perennial classic and guide to yoga practice—except it isn't. Virtually forgotten in India for hundreds of years and maligned when it was first discovered in the West, the Yoga Sutra has been elevated to its present iconic status only in the course of the past forty years. David Gordon White retraces the strange and circuitous journey of this confounding work from its ancient origins to today, bringing to life the improbable cast of characters whose interpretations and misappropriations of the Yoga Sutra led to its revered place in contemporary popular culture.
David Gordon White is Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies, emeritus, at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His books include Yoga in Practice (Princeton) and Sinister Yogis.