The book Decoding the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, is co-authored by Acharya Kaushal Kumar and Jai Singhania of Vigyan Yoga (tagline: Where Science Meets Spirituality), a Delhi-headquartered organization that aims to bring back the focus to one’s interior life in the post-industrial, materialistic economy.
Decoding the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali seeks to bring out the truth as represented by yoga philosophy. The book contains 195 sutras or rules in Vedic teaching, and is divided into four chapters. Written with the intent to clear any misunderstandings and/or myths about yoga, the authors go about explaining each sutra in the yoga sutras of Patanjali logically, practically, and according to the law of causality.
Acharya Kaushal Kumar has a Master’s in Economics, and a Master’s in Philosophy from Allahabad University. He met his yoga guru Swami Satyananda in 1988 and lived under his tutelage in the Bihar School of Yoga till 1991. Shortly after, he opened his own school of yoga. In 1998, he met his meditation guru, Sage Abhilash Saheb, and stayed in his ashram and learnt the science and inner workings of the mind and body. He has conducted and organized thousands of yoga camps and seminars that have been telecast regularly on various news channels.
Acharya Kaushal Kumar has also authored multiple books on yoga, and has given instruction to India’s various prime ministers and ministers in the central government, as well as major corporations. He has also worked with the Health, AYUSH, and HRD (Human Resource Development) ministries to popularize yoga in India and abroad.
Jai Singhania worked in finance for a few years, eventually founding his own company in India. Through his mentorship under Acharya Kaushal Kumar, Vigyan Yoga was conceived.
Maharishi Patanjali is believed to have written the first book on yoga, called Yoga Sutras. The original book was written in Sanskrit. Sage Vyasa authored the first interpretation of the Yoga Sutras. Subsequently, scholars such as Vachaspati Mishra, Vijnanabhikshu, Raja Bhoja, Nagoji Bhatta, and Narayan Tirth commented on Sage Vyasa’s interpretation.
The book’s authors, Acharya Kaushal Kumar and Jai Singhania, talk to India Currents about their book, and yoga in general.
IC: What was the motivation for you to write this book?
AKK: The first principle of our spiritual language is to get knowledge through the guru. Then you have to practice it, and after some time, it is your duty to give to the society also.
That is why we decided to write this book.
This spiritual knowledge is very vast, and in India there are many scriptures. But this Yoga Sutra is very concise, short and brief. It tells everything in just 195 sutras. Other scriptures are mostly derivatives; some are very good like upanishads but there are many of them. And everyone cannot go through all the upanishads. Yoga Sutra gives a very logical, rational, scientific, and experiential approach. I wrote the book in Hindi, and Jay translated it into English.
JS: When I started studying and practicing yoga, I realized that I started feeling better and gained a vast amount of information about the mind and consciousness. I had never seen such practical knowledge before, so I wanted to share it with the world.
IC: What was the process that you used to write the book?
AKK: The Yoga Sutra was written by Patanjali in Sanskrit, a very scholarly language, which even a simple person even in those times could not understand. I studied Sanskrit with a guru.
JS: While studying all the sutras, we first tried to understand the meaning of each term, then came up with a word that explains it in a way that people today would understand and apply in their lives.
IC: What are some of the myths and misconceptions about yoga?
JS: The third chapter includes supernatural powers one would get [through the practice of yoga]. One of them is that once you have mastered yoga, you can become as small as an atom. Then there are others—you can become very big, like a mountain, and as light as a feather. Or you can change your body into any shape you want to. There is no yogi in the world who has been able to prove such things.
So, we explained the meaning of the sutra and the powers that one gets through them, and then gave our own rational interpretations to them.
AKK: The normal concept of yoga is that yoga means union. Real yoga doesn’t mean union; it means disintegration or the opposite of union. With the practice of yoga, one can tame one’s mind 100% and regulate it. This is the only true miracle.
IC: Tell our readers a little about your organization, Vigyan Yoga.
JS: The whole point of Vigyan Yoga is to explain spirituality to people in a very scientific way. Our Indian texts have a lot of information, but a lot of it is wrong or fraudulent. Many people just read all the scriptures and believe that everything is true. We make sure that everyone gets the correct scriptures, and we explain them in a very scientific way.
We will be writing many more books soon. We will also be teaching courses to people and holding retreats. In the future, we also plan to have an ashram where we will teach people all the techniques and impart all the knowledge about Indian spirituality.