Edwin Bryant talks Patanjali
Chapter 1: Samadhi Pada
Edwin Bryant received his Ph.D in Indic languages and Cultures from Columbia University, where his thesis culminated in his first book: The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture (Oxford University Press, 2001). He taught Hinduism at Harvard University for three years, and is presently the professor of Hinduism at Rutgers University where he teaches courses on Hindu philosophy and religion. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, published eight books, and authored a number of articles on the earliest origins of the Vedic culture, yoga philosophy, and the Krishna tradition. These include a Penguin World Classics translation of the story of Krishna’s incarnation, from its traditional source the Śrīmad Bhāgavata Purāṇa.
As a personal practitioner of bhakti yoga for over 40 years, a number of them spent in India studying with traditional teachers, where he returns yearly, Edwin strives to combine academic scholarship and rigor with appreciation towards traditional knowledge systems. His teaching method is to allow the ancient texts to speak in their own voice and through their own terms and categories. In addition to his academic course load, Edwin currently teaches weekend workshops on the Yoga Sūtras, Bhagavad Gītā, and Hindu Philosophy at yoga studios and teacher training courses throughout the country.
Edwin’s translation of and commentary on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009) is specifically dedicated to contributing to the growing body of literature on yoga by providing insights from the major pre-modern commentaries on the text with a view to grounding the teachings in their traditional context. Edwin’s most recent published work is a sequel to this by the same publisher entitled Bhakti Yoga: Tales and Teachings from the Bhāgavata Purāṇa (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2017). This work, too, seeks to ground the practices of bhakti in the traditional Krishna-centered framework of the Vrindavan devotional traditions.
Edwin is presently working on a translation of the Bhagavad Gītā with a commentary based on the insights of the principle traditional commentators (viz, in the same vein as theYoga Sūtras commentary). The Gītā‘s teachings in many ways serve as a link between those of theYoga Sūtras and those of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa in the Bhakti Yoga volume, and upon completion will conclude Edwin’s vision of a Trilogy of Yoga texts offered to scholars, students, practitioners, and the intellectually curious.