December 11, 2023

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Patanjali

Patañjali (, ) is a Sanskrit proper name. Several important Sanskrit works are ascribed to one or more authors of this name, and a great deal of scholarship has been devoted over the last century or so to the issue of disambiguation. Amongst the more important authors called Patañjali are: The author of the Mahābhāṣya, an advanced treatise on Sanskrit grammar and linguistics framed as a commentary on Kātyāyana’s vārttikas (short comments) on Pāṇini’s Aṣṭādhyāyī. This Patañjali’s life is the only one which can be securely dated (as one of the grammatical examples he uses makes reference to the siege of the town of Sāketā by the Greeks, an event known from other sources to have taken place around 120 BC). The compiler of the Yoga Sūtras, an important collection of aphorisms on Yoga practice, who according to some historians was a notable person of Samkhya, contemporaneous with Ishvarakrishna’s Samkhya-karika around 400 CE. Patanjali () is one of the 18 siddhars in the Tamil siddha (Shaiva) tradition. The author of an unspecified work of medicine (āyurveda). In some Sanskrit grammatical works, Patañjali is called “the man from Gonarda”. Gonarda is the ancient name of Gonda – a district of Uttar Pradesh, about 50 kms north of Ayodhya. Greek chronicles mention about Paatanjali, when they laid their siege on Saket i.e. Ayodhya in 2nd century BC. This implies that Paatanjali most probably was from Gonda, a district of immense importance where Buddha and Mahaavira resided. In fact Shravasti, just off Gonda, further to north, was a center of power during that millennium and was the capital of the said Janapad. Beside, this was an area of traditional Sanskrit learning. Some hold the view that he was born at the “Gonarda” situated at Thiru Kona Malai, Sri Lanka. This tradition is corroborated in Tirumular’s seventh-century Tamil Tirumandhiram, which describes him as hailing from Then Kailasam (Koneswaram temple, Trincomalee), and tradition has him visiting the Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram, where he wrote the Charana Shrungarahita Stotram on Nataraja.

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