Dr. Shyam Ranganathan

Yoga Podcast Ep. 58: Dr. Shyam Ranganathan

Yoga Philosophy and the Conundrum of Interpretation

In today’s episode, Dr. Shyam Ranganathan explains the process of translating spiritual texts; how belief systems, both conscious and unconscious, can influence our interpretations; and why logic is better than experience in deciphering ethics.

Dr. Ranganathan is a trained scholar and researcher of philosophy and is author, editor and translator of numerous peer reviewed, scholarly works.To learn more, visit www.yogaphilosophy.com or follow Shyam on Instagram @yogaphilosophy_com

It’s interesting when you consider what’s involved in learning — it can’t ever be your beliefs. That’s not learning anything new.

Dr. Shyam Ranganathan

“In the Yoga Sūtras, there’s asmitā, egotism – we might call it narcissism, this kind of need to inflate the importance of your own outlook. But there’s a flip side to this, a kind of fragility. Because if it’s all about you, then you’re going to have a lot of trouble understanding alternatives because you’re going to feel constantly rejected. And so we might think that explanation (of ethics) in terms of beliefs — which is what interpretation is — is needed, it’s actually a huge obstacle.”

“And the only reason we are able to get by with that is because of politics, right? If we occupy a certain realm because we share these kinds of beliefs with other people — or if we don’t have these beliefs, we learn how to pretend we do, which is the experience of marginalized people.”

“But it’s interesting when you consider what’s involved in learning — it can’t ever be your beliefs. That’s not learning anything new.” — Dr. Shyam Ranganathan, Episode 58


The Ashtanga Dispatch Yoga Podcast is is produced, edited, and hosted by Peg Mulqueen along with Meghan Powell. Music is by Marc Pilley.