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 twitter.com/patanjali)
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 twitter.com/yoga_sutras since Feb. 2 are from Tom Egene’s translation.
Other posts on this blog that reference the Yoga Sutras: