The text translated here is an historical find: an unknown commentary on the Yoga sutra-s of Patanjali by Sankara, the most eminent philosopher of ancient India. Present indications are that it is likely to be authentic, which would date it about AD 700.
The many references to Yoga meditation in his accepted works have sometimes been regarded as concessions to accepted ideas of the time, and not really his own views. If he has chosen to write a commentary on yoga meditation, It must have been a central part of his own standpoint, although he was opposed to some of the philosophical doctrines of the official Yoga school. One would expect a tendency to modify those unacceptable doctrines, if this text is really by Sankara. This turns out to be the case.
For those familiar with yoga meditation, who to go straight into the text, here is the method of presentation:
(1) The Basic text, the Yoga sutra-s of Patanjali (about AD 300), is displayed in large type thus:
Sutra I.1 Now the exposition of Yoga.
(2) Below each sutra is a (mostly brief) commentary by Vyasa (about AD 600). This is printed in italics, and set in from the left-hand margin. Sometimes this commentary is printed in separate paragraphs.
The word Now means that this is the beginning, and the topic now begun is understood to be exposition of yoga.
(3) Below each section of the Vyasa commentary, and sometimes below the sutra itself, is the newly discovered Sankara sub-commentary (technically called a vivarana), printed in roman type and not set in from the margin, thus:
No one will follow through the practices and restrictions of yoga unless the goal and the related means to it have been clearly set out, and the commentator first explains what they were in the mind of the sutra author, so that people may be led to practice.
The structure of the Sanskrit text, which has to be followed in the translation, is that the words or phrase of the original sutra, then of Vyasa's bhasya commentary, have first to be quoted and glossed, in order. In this translation, the sutra or bhasya words being glossed in the main Sankara vivarana are given italics.
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