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Thread: The best commentary on Yoga-sutra

  1. #21
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    Re: The best commentary on Yoga-sutra

    Namaste Sahasranama.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sahasranama View Post
    There is one book in English that is based on the above Sanskrit commentaries written by a professor of Hinduism, Edwin Bryant who is actually sympathetic towards Hinduism and also a devotee of Krishna.
    I am purchasing his commentary that you kindly suggested me to read.
    Although not translated in italian,I found it in an italian book shop:
    http://www.ibs.it/libro+inglese/brya...865477360.html

    I should have the book this week.

    I have a question: are you sure that Bryant is really a devote of Krishna or is he just sympathetic toward "Krishnaism"?
    Does he really practice Krishna-bhakti or is he just academically expert on it?

    Regards,
    Orlando.
    I aspire to be the servant of the servant of Lord Krishna

  2. #22
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    Re: The best commentary on Yoga-sutra

    I have read somewhere that he is both an academic and a devotee. And also a practitioner of yoga. His writings are primarily from an academic perspective. But I wouldn't really worry about it. In his commentary on the yoga sutras he is merely representing traditional views and draws from traditional scriptures to explain the concepts. In this work, he is not making any judgement on these views based on modernist notions. What he personally believes as an academic or "intellectual" is not really important, because he has done a great job in writing this commentary from the perspective of the commentarial tradition itself and the larger context of Hinduism in general.
    Last edited by Sahasranama; 09 December 2012 at 01:45 PM.

  3. #23

    Re: The best commentary on Yoga-sutra

    Edwin Bryant is either himself a former ISKCON devotee, or married to a former ISKCON devotee (I'm not sure which, maybe both). I've read some of his writings regarding the Aryan Invasion, but not enough to really get a sense of his scholarship or its quality.
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

  4. #24
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    Re: The best commentary on Yoga-sutra

    His other books are available on scribd.com. I can't say much about them either, because the subject matter is quite boring (history) and I haven't read them. He is not the author of all these books, of some books he was only the editor and other scholars contributed their essays to the book. Even the notorious Witzel contributed an essay in one of his books.

    http://www.scribd.com/search?query=edwin+bryant

  5. #25

    Re: The best commentary on Yoga-sutra

    Oh, and I forgot to add that Bryant's wife/girlfriend/significant other is a militant feminist. She is or used to be in ISKCON and has said some nasty things not just about ISKCON politics but also about Vedic culture and even Rama, Krishna, etc. You have to wonder about the values of someone who can live with a person like that...
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

  6. #26
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    Re: The best commentary on Yoga-sutra

    Do you have a link about that?

    I still think his book on the yoga sutras is a very informative work to learn about the commentarial tradition of the yoga sutras, but of course I do not share all of Edwin Bryant's "academic" opinions. I have to take wundermunk's position here that academic sources can be useful for learning about philosophy, while the historical extrapolations and cultural statements made by them are generally problematic.

    Here he is speaking about the take yoga back campaign. It is clear that he has changed his position, because he has been making money from workshops patronised by western yoga practitioners. In the past he used to criticize western adaptations of yoga which he admits in an earlier part of the debate.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mE0JTDsbsmQ

    Edwin Bryant calls the HAF campaign about the Hinduness of yoga rooted in asmita, maya, but he also speaks of satya (truth) and the importance of recognising the lineage.

    My response to that is that classifying something is not necessarily an ego based activity. The Indian philosophers including Patanjali classify countless concepts and categories, so why would the classification of the Hinduness be any different and rooted in maya? Would he make the same objection to calling something dharmic or adharmic, nitya or anitya? Yoga definitely is not Christian, Muslim or post Enlightenment rationalistic. Yoga is Hindu. In fact, the strong resistance towards accepting the simple fact that yoga is a practice rooted in the culture, religion and philosophy of Hinduism shows attachment to ego and falsehood.
    Last edited by Sahasranama; 10 December 2012 at 10:38 AM.

  7. #27

    Re: The best commentary on Yoga-sutra

    Quote Originally Posted by Sahasranama View Post
    Do you have a link about that?

    I still think his book on the yoga sutras is a very informative work to learn about the commentarial tradition of the yoga sutras, but of course I do not share all his "academic" opinions.
    I don't have a quote handy. This was years ago when I was better connected with people in ISKCON and I was privy to debates they were having between conservative and more liberal elements, the latter being Western feminists of which Bryant's girlfriend was one. Some of the comments she made back then were truly offensive, things like calling Rama a misogynist for "ordering" Sita into fire and so on. But again, this was years ago and I don't have the quotes on me. And, Bryant himself seems to have found a niche in academia, so he has learned to speak the language of academics, and may even have turned out some well-researched publications. But I suspect he is a closet liberal-progressive based on his association, so read anything he writes with a huge grain of salt.
    Philosoraptor

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  8. #28
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    Re: The best commentary on Yoga-sutra

    That is indeed offensive, are you sure his girlfriend isn't called Nina Paley?

    Even though you can't blame an academic for associating with such people, it certainly does put a question mark to his sincerity as a devotee or a practitioner of any Hindu sadhana.

    And, Bryant himself seems to have found a niche in academia, so he has learned to speak the language of academics, and may even have turned out some well-researched publications. But I suspect he is a closet liberal-progressive based on his association, so read anything he writes with a huge grain of salt.
    It's no doubt that some of his publications are well researched and worth reading, but I am glad I learned this background from you. You can't really expect perfection everwhere, especially not from an indologist. My grandmother always says: shaile shaile na mANikyam mauktikam na gaje gaje | sadhavo na hi sarvatra chandanam na vane vane
    Last edited by Sahasranama; 10 December 2012 at 02:29 AM.

  9. #29
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    Re: The best commentary on Yoga-sutra

    I aspire to be the servant of the servant of Lord Krishna

  10. #30
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    Re: The best commentary on Yoga-sutra

    When we are not clear, we introduce new theories and so many different understandings with out any justification. This is the very reason, you have to resort to a Guru!

    One good thing noticed in your post is, everyone is different and everyone has their own way of getting their goal! This is the very important point and if you start to mediate to figure out your :Own: destiny and path to it, then you will be successful.

    Knowing your "self" nature is not going to produce same result for all!
    Knowing then the higher "Self" is going to be same for all, if not, there is a biggest confusion and confused practice and knowledge in SD!
    Means to attain is somehow called a "path", (Prapti) and unlike the infamous saying, All roads leads to Rome, SD's paths have their own destinations! Not all lead to the same goal! The crux here is, not all consider and want to reach the same goal. A Gnani's goal is different from a Karmi;s goal or Bhakta's. The difference in having different goals as their final attainment and achievement drives ones nature ( what you roughly called as prakriti)

    Understanding the minute details of all of these is a gift! By nature, by the Supreme and by the grace of Guru etc. What suites you alone can be practiced and that is your Destiny!

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