TKV Desikachar talks on Śraddhā in the light of the Yoga Sūtra……

TKV Desikachar talks on Śraddhā in the light of the Yoga Sūtra
at the KYM and responds to questions.

“Śraddhā is essential for progress,
whether in Yoga or any other endeavour.
It is a feeling that cannot be expressed or intellectually discussed.

It, however, is a feeling that is not always uncovered in every person.
When absent or weak,
it is evident through the lack of stability and focus in a person.

Where present and strong,
it is evident through the commitment, perseverance
and enthusiasm the person exhibits.
For such a person, life is meaningful.”

The Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali deals with the mind. It examines the different functions of the mind and provides means to modify these functions so that it serves the person in a very constructive way.

The means by which certain qualitative changes in the mind are brought about is called Sādhanā. There is also the possibility that certain individuals may develop such a mind without effort. That is, the qualities are inherent in that individual and mature on their own to manifest one day in the form of some extraordinary capacities. However, such persons are few. For the rest of us, the same changes are possible but it is a question of time and practice. The end result is the same, it is only the time taken to achieve it that will differ.

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The original essence of the Yoga Sūtra was passed on by oral tradition……

yoga_sutra_cover

“The original essence of the Yoga Sūtra
was passed on by oral tradition.
First you learn the rhythm of the Sūtra.
This was in Saṃskṛta,
first learning the words or Sūtra, then the meanings.
By learning to recite the Sūtra perfectly it was clear
that you were earnest in wanting to learn their meanings.
The scheme would be to repeat it twice,
in exactly the same tone used by the teacher.
This would take many years.
Thus these days it’s difficult to expect to
understand the Sūtra from a book or a course.”
– TKV Desikachar 1979

What is the role of Dharma in the face of survival?

“What is the role of Dharma
in the face of survival?”
– TKV Desikachar speaking with his
senior Western students London 1998

Abhiniveśā is the extra-ordinairy instinctive urge to survive at any cost……

abhinivesa

Abhiniveśā is the extra-ordinairy
instinctive urge to survive at any cost.
No one is spared. In a way,
it is a dislike about one’s death.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 9

In Veda, Āyurveda and Yoga Sūtra, various techniques are offered……

“In VedaĀyurveda and Yoga Sūtra,
various techniques are offered to aid in healing the sick.
In addition to herbs and medicines,
Patañjali suggests that ĀsanaPrāṇāyāma and Vairāgya
are particularly beneficial and, as any medicine,
should be used with care and discipline.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 34

The ideal Dhyānam, which becomes easier with practice……

dhyana

“The ideal Dhyānam,
which becomes easier with practice,
requires certain preparations to reduce
the tendency of the mind to be distracted,
either by being jumpy and agitated, or dull and inert.
Chief among these preparations are proper diet and Prāṇāyāma.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 2

I think, that all those who want to practise Vedic chanting……

“I think, that all those who want to practise
Vedic Chanting must be able to do so,
provided there is no confusion
with Patañjali’s Yoga.”
Extract from an interview with TKV Desikachar on Vedic Chanting

For Yoga Teachers it is important to understand……

“For Yoga Teachers it is
important to understand
the movement of the mind
as well as of the body.”
TKV Desikachar on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

In order to experience Dhyānam, the sixth step, Dhāraṇā……

Dhyānam is the seventh Aṅga of the Aṣṭāṅga Yoga.
In order to experience Dhyānam, the sixth step,
Dhāraṇā, should have been practiced thoroughly.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Dhyānam

Q: How necessary is Yoga in these modern times?

Question to T Krishnamacharya:
How necessary is Yoga in these modern times?
Krishnamacharya’s Response:
“For the strengthening of the Aṅga,
Yoga Āsana practiced with long
inhalation and exhalation is important.
To reduce the disturbances of the mind,
to gain mental strength and to increase longevity,
Prāṇāyāma is necessary.”

The whole system functions on the strength of mind……

“The whole system functions on the strength of mind.
Mind is affected by what we eat.
‘Our mind is like our food‘.
Tapas is to discipline our eating habits.”
– T Krishnamacharya on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 1

As is the food in front of you……

“As is the food in front of you,
so is the mind behind you.”
– TKV Desikachar 1979

One’s own actions can develop or make one Guṇa prominent……

guna

“One’s own actions can develop or make one Guṇa prominent.
Thus we can plan or practice Āsana or Prāṇāyāma to promote one Guṇa.
The practice of Yoga can influence the Guṇa.
the room where you practice can affect the Guṇa
by photographs, colour of paint, smell.
Even Mantra are classified into Guṇa.
This needs to be considered when using Mantra for the individual.
Meditation can be related to the Guṇa.
The object of our inquiry must be related or,
in accordance with what we want to produce.”
TKV Desikachar on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

Everything we see, including the instrument of mind, has three qualities……

guna

“Everything we see,
including the instrument of mind,
has three qualities or natures.
All matter has the three qualities.
In Saṃskṛta they are known as Guṇa.
In Sāṃkhya it is said that every problem
comes from the Guṇa and their interplay.
The effects can be based on what we see, eat, hear,
and the effects of what we see, eat, hear.
In Yoga one who has mastered themselves is one
who can produce whatever Guṇa is required.”
TKV Desikachar on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

If engaging therapeutically, firstly examine the gait of the breath……

“If engaging therapeutically, firstly
examine the gait of the breath
and the power of the body.
Otherwise it will not bestow fruits.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
the Yoga Rahasya Chapter One verse 85

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

Owing to differences in the body structure, all Āsana are not meant for everybody.

“There are different body structures,
therefore not all Āsana are enjoined.”
– From T Krishnamacharya’s composition,
the Yoga Rahasya Chapter One verse 31

Prāṇāyāma practice of at least 24 breaths should be done….

nadi_shodana

“For curing an illness,
Prāṇāyāma practice of at least 24 breaths
should be done several times each day
– ideally eight times.
All other unnecessary physical activities should be curtailed.
Food should be limited to liquids – primarily milk;
and hot, dry foods avoided.
Breathing practice should be done without the aid of any tools or instruments.”
–  T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 34

While it is used as a metaphor that the Kuṇḍalinī is going up, really, it does not make sense……

“While it is used as a metaphor that the Kuṇḍalinī
is going up, really, it does not make sense.
If we say that Kuṇḍalinī is an energy that gives us truth,
then we have to a accept the fact that we have
two energies in life, Prāṇa and Kuṇḍalinī.
Some also say that energy is sleeping.
What is meant by this?

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As teachers we can only confine ourselves to diseases……

“As teachers we can only confine ourselves
to diseases where we have a role to play.
These are diseases where the mind is involved.
We work with diseases where a relationship
exists between body and mind.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983