Prāṇāyāma done along with Mantra yields fruits…..

According to one’s capability and reference,
Prāṇāyāma done along with Mantra yields fruits
in the treatment of all kinds of diseases.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
the Yoga Rahasya Chapter One verse 84

The Mantra is not something we find in a book or something we buy……

“The Mantra is not something we find in a book or something we buy.
While it might have some effect in the beginning, it will not last.
To be effective it must be received properly
and repeated over a long period of time.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 240

A teacher who knows us very well might give us a Mantra……

“A teacher who knows us very well might give us a Mantra
which has a particular connotation because of the way it has been arranged.
It that Mantra is repeated in the way it has been instructed,
if we are aware of the meaning and if perhaps we want to use a particular image,
Mantra Yoga brings about the same effect as Jñāna Yoga or Bhakti Yoga.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 240

If you are using something more complex, say Gāyatrī Mantra……

Gāyatrī

“The number of times you say OM on inhalation, holding the breath,
and exhalation is influenced by the length of the breath.
We cannot fix the number of recitations on the basis of the Praṇava itself.
We can only fix it on the basis of a person’s capacity of breath.
If you are simply using OM, it can go with almost any ratio.
If you are using something more complex, say Gāyatrī Mantra,
it is very long and has different structures so there are regulations on
how many times you say it when you inhale, hold the breath, and exhale,
and in what part of the Mantra you can break, etc.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 238-239

Once you know how to recite the Praṇava orally you will be able to do it silently……

“I think once you know how to recite the Praṇava
orally you will be able to do it silently.
And perhaps each time you can add a little meaning
to it as well as find a little more meaning in it.
The best way is to begin orally and
then transfer it to a mental recitation.
Then you can easily use it in your Yoga practice.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Various Approaches to Yoga’
Chapter Seventeen Page 238

This is why we recite Mantra to these two stars…..

mantra

“The moon,
whose rays are auspicious for the gathering of medicinal herbs,
is the god of herbs,
whilst the light of the sun gets to the bottom of all impurities.
This is why we recite Mantra to these two stars,
during the preparation of Āyurveda remedies.”
– T Krishnamacharya

It is not the number of hours in Meditation…..

dhyanam

“It is not the number of hours in Meditation,
the type of Ratio in Prāṇāyāma,
the number of times you turn the Mālā,
it is the intensity of the attempt.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 22

The Guru must judge how serious is the desire……

mantra

“The Guru must judge how serious is the desire and the faith
and then teach the Mantra that he considers most appropriate.
In any event,
he needs to know that it may be that there will be no positive result,
because a lot depends on the attitude of the student.”
T Krishnamacharya

Disciples often show themselves as changeable……

mantra

“Disciples often show themselves as changeable.
One day they are passionately interested in studying this or that Mantra
and the next day they have lost interest.”
– T Krishnamacharya

The best time to introduce Mantra is while holding the breath.

seated_pranayama_2

Holding the breath gives us a moment when there is nothing happening.
A moment when it should be possible to count.
In fact, the best time to introduce Mantra is not during
inhalation or exhalation but while holding the breath.
It is said that a moment of holding the breath is a moment of Dhyāna.
Some Mantra are very long.
Since we do not have to concentrate on breathing while holding the breath,
these longer Mantra can be recited correctly.”
– TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Nine Page 128-129

Bhakti is the mark of a certain unique relationship……

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

“Serious practitioners of Yoga from Vedic times to the present day
emphasise that a clear mind is a prerequisite for Bhakti and
that it is only through Bhakti that the true nature of the Jīva is revealed.
Bhakti, singe minded and abiding, is the mark of a certain unique relationship
characterised by unshakeable faith, absolute trust and boundless devotion.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 30

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The word Mantra means something that we will ponder……

mantra

The word Mantra means something
that we will ponder,
that we will reflect upon.
That is, you go to a teacher,
they say something and
I go back home and reflect upon that.

That is the essential feature of Mantra,
to reflect upon again and again.
The purpose of Mantra is to
help us cross a harbour, an obstacle.
That is why the definition of Mantra is:

 मननात् त्रायते इति मन्त्रः॥
mananāt trāyate iti mantraḥ ||
“Who reflects on this,
will cross the obstacle”.

Extract from an interview with TKV Desikachar on Vedic Chanting

There is something mysterious about Vedic chanting……

Desikachar and Paul Chanting in 1999
“There is something mysterious about Vedic Chanting.
It is so simple that even people who don’t know music at all can practice it.
Many people who have never sung in their life are interested in it.”
Extract from an interview with TKV Desikachar on Vedic Chanting

A Mantra is only a Mantra if it is special and secret……

mantra

“A Mantra is only a Mantra if it is special and secret,
and has been personally bestowed by someone
with whom you have a special relationship.
It must be pronounced properly”
– TKV Desikachar 1980

So many Upaniṣad mention OM because most Upaniṣad are……

om“There are many texts on Yoga and Yoga is found in one form or another in the Upaniṣat. Yoga for them is the means to realise God and OM is the key to that process. So many Upaniṣad mention OM because most Upaniṣat are involved with Vedānta or the movement towards God.”
– TKV Desikachar “The use and abuse of OM”, Lecture on September 5th 1983 in Zinal, Switzerland

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All the Mantra that are utilised must have the OM to give it life.

om“All the Mantra that are utilised must have the OM to give it life.”
TKV Desikachar – Lecture on September 5th 1983 in Zinal, Switzerland
(Fuller notes on this lecture yet to be posted)

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Stay lean and keep the fire going in your belly……

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

“With discipline and modest fare.
Stay lean and keep the fire going in your belly.
Think of God and repeat his words – silently and out loud.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra C1 v5

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Sound is something that takes you in the direction of its origin……

mantra

“Sound is something that takes you in the direction of its origin.”
TKV Desikachar speaking with his senior Western students London 1998

If you respect India and Indians don’t make a joke of OM.

om

“If you respect India and Indians don’t make a joke of OM.”
TKV Desikachar – Lecture on September 5th 1983 in Zinal, Switzerland (Fuller notes on this lecture yet to be posted)

In Mīmāṃsā there is a word called Prayoga (connection)……

mantra

“In Mīmāṃsā (a philosophical system to interpret the Veda, especially the Brāhmaṇa and Mantra, with the object of correctly performing the Veda rituals) there is a word called Prayoga (connection).
The same Mantra has to be recited differently for different rituals.
Or different Mantra in the same ritual.
So even here different applications are needed, the ancients recognised this.
There is a verse which says that if the Mantra is not used correctly it has the opposite effect and destroys or boomerangs.
Instead of doing good it will harm.
This is Mithyā Prayoga (wrong connection) with an opposite effect.
Having spoken of viniyoga (appropriate application), now looking at important points the old teachers used to convey these ideas.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983