How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali

(14 reviews)
  • How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali
translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood

The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali is a major work on the practice of yoga and meditation.

  • 256 pages US paperback 978-087481-047-7
  • 256 pages US hardback 978-087481-010-3
How to Know God: Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali is a major work on the practice of yoga and meditation. Learn through these aphorism how to control your mind and achieve inner peace and freedom. Although these methods were taught over 2000 years ago, they are as alive and effective today as they have ever been. This translation draws on the inspired commentary of both Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood.

Our most popular title, this book is widely used in yoga classes as an important introduction to Raja Yoga and was a favorite of Beatle George Harrison. In his last album, he quoted from the book in his song "Brainwashed":

The soul does not love, it is love itself
It does not exist, it is existence itself
It does not know, it is knowledge itself
How to Know God, page 130 (page 136 in the current edition).

The words are slightly adjusted for the song, but the book had its brief moment of fame through the song.
Full words of the song here.

You can view a lecture by Swami Prabhavananda titled The Eight Limbs of Yoga that is based on this book, and is a good companion to understanding the message.

For the complete set of Vedanta Spiritual Classics please click here.

Global Rating: 4.79 from 14 reviews Add your review of this product
Review By Aarti Reddy

Great classical

Review By james molyneux

how to meditate

Review By amy darland


Very Much Appreciate ordering directly from Vedanta Society!

Review By Jeb Webb

Certainly One of the Best

This purchase was a gift for my best friend. I first found a very weathered paperback copy of this book in the dollar bin at a used book store. It was by far my wisest investment of a dollar in this lifetime. I have read a number of books on Eastern spirituality and I think that this one has probably been the most influential (and is probably also my overall favourite). The friend to whom I sent it also likes it a lot. If you buy this book and are disappointed with it, I can only urge you to hold onto it and return to it at some later date.

Review By Jan Zender

The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali

Review By vijaya velury

Aphorisms of Patanjali

Review By Scott Taylor

The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali

The language is simple and the meaning is clear; a very well written work. No obfuscation in this translation. It's enjoyable to read and accessible -- not a struggle to understand the meaning. This was just what I was looking for.

Review By Joseph Marion Nash, Jr.

How to Knlw God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali

Read this book before and is excellent and wanted a re-read with a good quality harbback to put in apartment Library however the print is so light the books are hard to read.

The original copy hardback read several years ago the print is dark and very readable, but the other 3 copies of the hardback just ordered the print is mostly unlegible because the print is so light.

Need a better quality hardback.

Review By Alissa Priestley

How to Know God

How to Know God is a valuable piece for studies of Patanjali’s yoga sutras.

Review By Aarti Reddy

Gems of wisdom

A thorough introduction to the subject of Vedanta. Very concise yet so explanatory. This wonderful book deals with spiritual guidance for any person who expresses interest in religion and its many aspects. No one who attempts to read this book need belong to a particular religion or community. It encompasses a wide range of spiritual words of wisdom. Ideal for the skeptical mind! Excellent way of representing the Personal and Impersonal divinity.

Review By

Gives Much Food for Thought

“No matter what his religious belief, a person can only be the richer for having studied this translation of the famous Aphorisms of Patanjali. The language is simple so that anyone can read it and derive spiritual benefit from it if they are open-minded. I can recommend it both for the one who has become familiar with Hindu religion and philosophy and for the one who has not. For the first it is a new and fresh presentation of an old theme; for the second, it is dear, understandable and easy to grasp. It should do much to bring about a meeting of Eastern and Western thought.... There is much in this book to give food for thought and inspiration for spiritual practice.” The Awakener

Review By

Eminently Readable for the Modern Mind

“It is in the fitness of things that one of the celebrated monks of the Ramakrishna Order in collaboration with the well-known writer Christopher Isherwood undertook the task of translating the Yoga-Sutras in English and also providing an illuminating commentary thereon, avoiding the technicalities of the system and putting it in a very lucid manner suited for the modern mind.... This makes the book eminently readable for the modern mind and thereby fulfils the great mission of interpreting the East to the West.... The book should be widely read by all spiritual seekers who want to know ‘what yoga is, what its aims are, how it can be practiced, what powers can be attained by it and finally what liberation of the soul consists in'. When yoga is being so much misunderstood today both in the East and the West and is also being misused for physical ends and worldly gains the value of this publication cannot be over-estimated.” Bulletin of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture

Review By Robbo


Read this Forty years ago. It raised my awareness of my true essense and understanding of all questions.... Why? It's a wonderful journey.

Review By

A Simply Amazing Book

This title was my first introduction to Eastern Religion. It changed my life forever and was everything I needed to take up the path: Intelligent Logical Deeply Spiritual Common Sense HTKG was George Harrison's favorite book. He was constantly giving copies away to his friends. His last album quoted from the book right in the middle of the lead song.