TTY 2016 Yoga sutras

Yoga Sutras and the act of Translation – BRING YOUR BOOK TO CLASS!

“One cannot understand any work unless one ceases to see it as a finished product.”

-Daya Krishna, “Thinking Creatively About the Creative Act.”

“Translation is a close encounter. Every encounter consists of two, self and other, be it two persons or two cultures; two who strive to meet each other. Each gives something of him [her]- self. Each holds something of the other. Translation is a “realm of between” in the sense that nothing gets lost. The “source” remains the “source”; the “target” is still the “target,” but at the same time a new sphere, where both are transformed, is disclosed.”

-Daniel Raveh, Exploring the Yogasūtra: Philosophy and Translation

yogaś citta-vṛitti-nirodhaḥ, “Yoga is the stilling of the changing states of the mind.”

Yogasūtras: 1.2 (Edwin Bryant, trans.)

This week we begin to explore the seminal text, the Yogasūtras. Composed between 200-400ce, it represents one of the six classical schools of Hindu philosophy and has been interpreted as a central, authoritative text on Yoga for nearly 2,000 years. This is a sūtra text, meaning that you will notice a radically different style from the conversational and/or narrative tone of the Upaniṣads and Bhagavad Gita. Sūtra texts are comprised of short statements that are easy to memorize and generally require a teacher or commentary to understand. For this reason, the act of translation becomes especially important for how the text is read and interpreted.

Required Assignments:

Read “Translating the Other – Reflections on a Fictional Dialogue” by Daniel Raveh

Read the introduction and the first few pages of Chapter 1 from (pgs. 1-33): Yoga: Discipline of Freedom: The Yoga Sūtra Attributed to Patanjali translated by Barbara Stoler Miller.

Optional reading on samkhya by Edwin Bryant: This is for anyone who wants to have a little more background on the Yogasūtras and its underlying philosophy. We will discuss Samkhya in the lectures this week.

Contemplate and Prepare: In your notes write down a brief response to the following questions after you have done the reading. Be prepared to share your response in the class discussion. What is Yoga in the Yoga Sūtras? How is it different from the understandings of Yoga you have already encountered in the course? How do you imagine that this Yoga might be put into practice? Support your idea regarding practice with a page number and reference from the text. Note one section (with page number) from the introduction that you find interesting or that brings up a question(s) for you. And, remember, BRING YOUR BOOK TO CLASS!

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