Excerpted from 'Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali', B. K. S. Iyengar
First I would like to tell you something about Patañjali, who he was and what was his lineage. Historically, Patañjali may have lived some time between 500 and 200 B.C., but much of what we know of the master of yoga is drawn from legends. He is referred to as a svayambhu , an evolved soul incarnated of his own will to help humanity. He assumed human form, experienced our sorrows and joys, and learned to transcend them. In the Yoga Sutras he described the ways of overcoming the afflictions of the body and the fluctuations of the mind: the obstacles to spiritual development.