I start this blog with a very sweet story from the life of the great sage Patanjali.
There was a sage who went to the banks of a river everyday to perform his daily prayers. One day, as usual this sage was praying in the river, and he took some water in his cupped hands and then closed his eyes. After the prayer, when he opened his eyes, the sage was terrified by the sight of a snake in the water in his palms. He trembled and fearfully asked “Kor BhavAn ?” (He would have said “Ko Bhavaan” – meaning Who are you?)
The small snake replied “Sapo Aham”. Part of the sage’s fears were allayed by the speaking snake and he continued “You mean to say Sarpo Aham, don’t you?”. The snake said “Yes, but in order to maintain balance in the universe, I had to cut out the “r” as you already added an extra one for me.” Saying thus, the snake turned into a baby boy. The sage was convinced that this baby boy will turn out to be a great scholar himself. So he adopted this boy and named him Patanjali (Pata + anjali -> Fall + hands -> Someone who fell into the hands).
More about Patanjali:
There were 12 different schools of Sanskrit grammar being taught before the times of PAnini. After PAnini, everyone followed his school of thought. PAnini dsiscovered Sanskrit grammar from the 14 sounds made by SivA’s damaru. Additionally, PAnini’s grammar rules are very concise, in the form of aphorisms. KAtyAyana turned these aphorisms to sentences in his commentary called Varttika. Patanjali further simplified the Varttika by expanding the sentences into paragraphs, to be more comprehensive. This work is known by the name of MahAbhAsyam.
Patanjali wrote about Ayurveda – to clean the body and cure all diseases. He then wrote about PrANAyAma – to clean the breath, followed by MaHAbhasyam to clean the tongue, leading to the very well known yOgaSUtras.
There is a lot more information available on Google if we look for Patanjali.