How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali

ISBN: 0874810418
ISBN 13: 9780874810417
By: Swami Prabhavananda Christopher Isherwood

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About this book

The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali is a major work on the practice of yoga and meditation. Through these ancient aphorisms you will learn how to control your mind and achieve inner peace and freedom. Although these methods were taught over 2,000 years ago, they are as alive and effective today as they have ever been. The 2008 edition has been reset and now has an extensive index for reference.

Reader's Thoughts


I was tempted to begin reading it again immediately - which I've never done. This is lifer book. One to refer to again and again. I have a feeling, that depending on where I'm at in life, I will pick up what I need to pick up or can perceive at the time. A must for anyone that is a seeker.

Chris Marchan

A nice introduction to the Yoga Sutras. Still looking for the definitive commentary. But, really, you have to just sit with the slokas and let the Truth ring within and no commentary is then necessary. Same with all scriptures.

Ann Schweitzer

This book is absolutely indispensable if you want to know the foundation(s) of yogic practice.


A very difficult subject dealt with excellent commentaries by Swami Prabhananda & Isherwood. I am glad that I have read the book and do doubt will go back to this book again and again.

Pamela Laurence

Fabolous book from my perspective. Essential.


I wanted to read the Yoga Sutras, but there are one million translations to choose from and a ton of different commentaries. I really think I made a great choice with this one. I love that one of the authors is Christopher Isherwood! I am fascinated by his life and how he came to be so involved in Indian language, philosophy, and literature. Swami Prabhavananda and Isherwood's commentary on the Yoga Sutras is extraordinary and now I absolutely want to read My Guru And His Disciple.

Kyle Benson

As a product of highly orthodox, Western, religion I found a lot of understanding and spiritual connection to Hinduism and God through this book. My prior experience with Hinduism was exclusively through Yoga. The Aphorisms of Patanjali speak to any soul searcher, and the expounding and pontificating provided by the well versed western translators really brings the messages close to home.Though much of the word choice is esoteric, don't be afraid to push through the first few pages. A lot of clarity will come after you can overcome that linguistic barrier.

Swami Tirtha

one of my top spiritual books - clearly explains soul & life & how to realize you are soul. practical, psychological, spiritual. It is a book I gravitate to every so many years to reread.

Marion Katrina

The yoga bible.

Brad VanAuken

The Yoga Sutras (thread of aphorisms) of Patanjali are one of the six darshanas of the Hindu or Vedic schools. "How to Know God" is a beautiful translation of those. The book is relatively short (pocket sized with just over 200 pages) and very readable. It offers one of the clearest explanations of the practice of yoga and meditation that I have read. It is surprisingly practical. I value it almost as much as I do "The Art and Science of Raja Yoga: Fourteen Steps to Higher Awareness: Based on the Teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda" and Osho's "The Book of Secrets: 112 Keys to the Mystery Within" as a practical guide to specific meditation techniques. For those who have a Christian background, the book references familiar Christian concepts, making the book all the more readable for the typical Westerner. While one can read the entire book in one sitting (and maybe this is a useful strategy for its first reading), I prefer to digest it slowly, contemplating and savoring each aphorism. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to enter into a deeper level of spiritual consciousness.

Gregory B.

This book is an excellent intro into any meditation sessions. The ideas may seem radical to an unenlightened mind, but truly to appreciate its wisdom, one need look past the words on the page and contemplate the ideas that they convey.


An amazing book. I felt at times that every line was integral to the whole and full of wisdom. A must for those on a spiritual path.


I read this as part of my yoga teacher training. I highly recommend for anyone deepening their yoga practice. Pretty slow read - not for the faint of heart!

Dan Gambetta

I had so many "A-Ha" moments from this book, I felt i read it before. Freakin awesome!

Joi Burke Straaten

I have to say, this is a great version of the Sutras. Easy to read, funny & engaging. Not at all what I expected from ANY translation of Patanjalis Yoga Sutras! :-)

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