Definition - What does Patanjali mean?
Patanjali was an Indian sage who is believed to have authored or compiled the Yoga Sutras. Very little is known about him and no one knows exactly when he lived; although, it is estimated from analysis of the Sutras, that it was in the 4th or 5th century C.E. It is said that he came to Earth in order to teach and share the knowledge of yoga.
Patanjali’s teachings in the Yoga Sutras form part of the scriptural foundation of yoga philosophy. It is thought that Patanjali compiled the Yoga Sutras from older yogic texts; however, they contain a lot of original material as well. Patanjali is highly regarded for the clarity he brought to yogic philosophy and his work continues to inspire yoga instruction to this day.
Yogapedia explains Patanjali
Despite the uncertainty about the time of Patanjali’s birth, there are many myths surrounding the nature of it. Some say that Patanjali fell to Earth as a snake: a powerful yogini called Gonika. It is also said that Patanjali was an incarnation of Ananta, or Shesha, the 1,000-headed serpent king who is often depicted supporting Lord Vishnu.
Patanjali is thought to have resided in Gonda, a district of Uttar Pradesh that was also where Buddha resided. This area was known as a center for Sanskrit study.
There are other works, including significant texts on Ayurveda and other texts on yoga, which are attributed to an author named Patanjali. Although some believe that this was the same Patanjali who authored the Yoga Sutras, it is now more commonly accepted that this was someone else.