Tweets are sutras; blogs are commentaries

I’m reading a great translation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, translated by Alistair Shearer, a Sanskrit and Vedic scholar and a genuine yogi. In his illuminating introduction, Alistair notes that a “sutra” as a literary form is an aphorism of extreme brevity. Each short thread is packed with meaning, which is why a tradition of commentary has arisen. “Each new commentator brings the light of his own understanding to bear on the original gnomic texts; his conclusions then become part of the ongoing tradition.”

Here is what the Yoga Sutras would look like if Patanjali had a Twitter account:

(Much to Patanjali’s amusement, someone else already took

Sutras are the opposite of shallow. Tweets, likewise, can be packed with meaning and insight. Hence the need for urls that point to blogs for commentary.

So far only Patanjali’s first four sutras have been converted to tweets. These four sutras form the essence of the entire teaching of 194 sutras. I’m sure that if the tweets get more followers, more sutras will be added.

2/2/2010:  See update in today’s comment below about a new translation by Tom Egenes.  All sutras in since Feb. 2 are from Tom Egene’s translation.

Other posts on this blog that reference the Yoga Sutras:

How Bohmian Dialogue makes use of 2300 Year Old Ideas

Concept: Surrender to the Lord


3 Responses to “Tweets are sutras; blogs are commentaries”

  1. 1 duncanwork February 2, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Today I’m resuming tweets of the Yoga Sutras from the beginning using a new translation from Tom Egenes, Sanskrit scholar and professor at Maharishi University – He has given permission to tweet all the sutras from a pre-publication copy. The book will be published soon. The tweets include only the English translations. The book also includes English translations of each whole sutra, plus the original Sanskrit text in devanagari and Roman alphabet transliteration, as well as a word-by-word translation of the Sanskrit.


  1. 1 Patanjali’s Yoga Tweets « The Hannibal Blog Trackback on June 2, 2009 at 4:20 am

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