Let God be everything to you. —Roy Eugene Davis
The historical Patanjali is unknown to us: myth, lore, and legend are all that have come down through time to assuage our curiosity. We do not know when Patanjali lived; scholars place him from as early as the fourth century BCE to as late as the fifth century CE. We know he lived prior to the fifth century CE only because of an early commentary by Vyasa, but even these dates have been debated ad nauseam with little agreement.
Some experts argue that Patanjali was not a single author but that the name was titular and that the sutras were written by a lineage of gurus over centuries. They claim as their evidence the linguistic differences between the first three padas (quarters) and the fourth pada.
Other researchers have asserted that Patanjali, whether a single man or several men, did not write the sutras at all but compiled them from as many as five different sources. They have gone so far as to delineate the various “forms” of yoga within the text itself as proof of the distinct origins. Yet other experts claim that there never was a Patanjali, man or lineage, but that Vyasa himself was Patanjali.