The Yoga Sūtra says so much about the mind……

“The Yoga Sūtra says so much about the mind,
but little about the self.
What can be shared can be expressed,
what cannot be shared cannot be expressed.”
– TKV Desikachar

Meditation can’t be taught, but can be learnt.

dhyanam

Meditation can’t be taught,
but can be learnt.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verse 2

Question: What is the greatest obstacle to meditation?

Question: What is the greatest obstacle to meditation?
“The biggest obstacle to meditation is Vikalpa,
the ability of the mind to fabricate in spite of reality.
Through Vikalpa, the mind fabricates thoughts of no essence,
no substance; and since meditation is, for most of us,
the play of the mind, Vikalpa is the greatest obstacle.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 19th 1988

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

Who does not seek a situation where he is able to understand things clearly……

“Who does not seek a situation where he is able to
understand things clearly, discover new things,
and remove or clear away wrong perceptions?
If there is one thing that can be said about
what happens in the state of Nirodha it is this:
one sees and one knows.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha’
Chapter Eighteen Page 254

In meditation, one must make the transition from the gross……

“In meditation,
one must make the transition
from the gross, that which has form
and which can be seen by the mind,
to the subtle, the formless.”
TKV Desikachar Madras December 19th 1988

What we try to do in Yoga is simply to create conditions so that the mind……

“What we try to do in Yoga is simply to create conditions so
that the mind becomes a most useful instrument for action.
And this can only be done gradually.
Any “short-cut method” is an illusion.
This gradual procedure may involve a number of intelligent means,
all of which come within the realm of Yoga Sādhana.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha’
Chapter Eighteen Page 253

It should not be inferred that all of  these faculties of the mind……

“It should not be inferred that all of
these faculties of the mind, such as
observations, inference, memory, imagination,
inactivity, hyperactivity, are detrimental.
They are necessary to life, but left to itself
the mind develops its own way of movement and we
end up unable to take full advantage of these faculties.
That is why the Yoga Sūtra says that all activities
of the mind could be favourable or unfavourable.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha’
Chapter Eighteen Page 253

The word Nirodha also means “restraint”……

“The word Nirodha also means “restraint”.
It is not by restraining the mind that it will move and
become involved in a particular direction of choice.
It is the other way round; that is,
so strongly and intensely the mind has moved toward
one area and has become absorbed in one area
that there is no “infiltration”.
Therefore Nirodha meaning “restraint”,
is just an effect of Nirodha meaning “complete absorption”.
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha’
Chapter Eighteen Page 252

The fourth way the mind functions is called Ekāgratā……

“The fourth way the mind functions is called Ekāgratā.
Here clarity has come about
and we have direction and are able to proceed.
What we want to do is much clearer
and distractions hardly matter.
This is also called Dhāraṇā which was explained earlier.
Yoga is actually the beginning of Ekāgratā.
Yoga suggest means to create conditions that gradually
move the Kṣipta level of mind towards Ekāgratā.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha’
Chapter Eighteen Page 251

Another way the mind functions is called Vikṣipta……

“Another way the mind functions is called Vikṣipta.
We act but we have doubts;
distractions come about,
there are obstacles.
The set direction does not look right
and we don’t know what to do about it.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha’
Chapter Eighteen Page 251

A slightly better condition than Kṣipta is what is called Mūḍha……

“A slightly better condition than Kṣipta
is what is called Mūḍha.
Here the mind is like a dull, sleepy, heavy buffalo.
There is hardly any inclination to act, to respond, or to observe.
This could be a temporary situation or a more regular affair.
There are many reasons for this–”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha’
Chapter Eighteen Page 251

The mind functions at five levels……

“The mind functions at five levels.
Mostly it functions in such a way that we hardly notice it.
So much happens, so many ideas, perceptions
come and go that very often we lose track.
It is like a monkey that is drunk and somebody is poking it.
It is distraught and cannot comprehend anything.
In Yoga this level of functioning is called Kṣipta.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘The Way the Mind Functions and the Concept of Nirodha’
Chapter Eighteen Page 251

In observing, we must remember a few more things……

“In observing, we must remember a few more things:

When we are not able to see something,
It is either because something else is more obvious,
or because it is too close to us.
(Sāṃkhya Kārikā of Īśvara Kṛṣṇa Āryā Seven)

We can only observe when there is an inclination to do so.
(Yoga Sūtra Chapter Four verse 17)

Because of our own memories, backgrounds, cultures, etc.
Each person looks at the same problem differently,
which may cause problems.
(Yoga Sūtra Chapter Four verse 15)

We must respect time and change,
although the tendency nowadays is otherwise.
We must wait and observe more than once
so as not to be trapped by the fact
that things appear like this one day
and like that another day.”

TKV Desikachar on Sāṃkhya and Yoga

In Samādhi there is an understanding……

samadhi

“In Samādhi there is an understanding.
Something not based on your memories,
something that transcends your memories.
Prajña comes only in Samādhi.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20

It is not enough to realise that there is somewhere to go……

sraddha

“It is not enough to realise that there is somewhere to go,
you must also be really interested in taking the step.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20

Śraddhā will give life to all the means……

Śraddhā will give life to all
the means that are in the Yoga Sūtra.”
– TKV Desikachar on Śraddhā in the Yoga Sūtra

Different people explain the cause of disease differently……

“Different people explain the cause of disease differently.
In the Yoga Sūtra disease is Vikṣepā, a mind which is unstable.
Mind loses its presence of mind before an object.”
– TKV Desikachar France 1983

The more you try to know Īśvara the more you come to know your self.

“The more you try to know Īśvara,
the more you come to know your self.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 29

When the mind is not very clear……

citta

“When the mind is not very clear,
you only get the message from the mind.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 4

When the mind is very clear……

drastr

“When the mind is very clear,
you get the message from deep inside.”
– TKV Desikachar on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 3

Abhyāsa means constant effort and attention in order to continue in one direction……

Abhyāsa means constant effort and attention
in order to continue in one direction.
We must never break this process because we
never really know in advance how things might change”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘A Session for Questions’
Chapter Sixteen Page 223

In terms of Yoga, if we have Duḥkha, something is behind it……

“If we have a problem which persists,
It might be because we don’t know
what is the real basis or cause of the problem.
In terms of Yoga, if we have Duḥkha,
something is behind it.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘A Session for Questions’
Chapter Sixteen Page 221

I am going to explain you something else about the aphorisms…….

“I am going to explain you something else about the aphorisms, about their translation.
Many books or courses have been written about the treatise of Patañjali.
Some of them analyse the words one by one, trying to translate them separately,
dissecting the text. This way of proceeding may be interesting,
but unfortunately it can also confuse instead of helping understanding of the text.

Why?
Because literally translating the aphorisms is nothing but a series of words glued together,
in sentences that very often lack in consistency.

The ancient way of exposing was not translating them into a new language;
it was mainly making the student grasp the sense of the aphorism.
In this case, the Sanskrit text is just a reminder,
a mnemonic that the teacher is not going to translate textually.
They are going to use it to develop the idea or the sense of the aphorism.
They will explain these notions, sometimes even without referring to any word of the aphorism.
What is important is to give a teaching that is adapted to the level of understanding of the student.”

– TKV Desikachar on Learning from the Yoga Sūtra
Extract from Viniyoga Europe No 1

The worst obstacle of all occurs when, somewhere in the back of our minds……

“The worst obstacle of all occurs when,
somewhere in the back of our minds,
we think we have understood something and we haven’t.
That is, we fancy that we have seen the truth.
We think, because of a situation in which we feel
we have some sort of calmness, we have reached our zenith.
We say, ‘That is what I have been looking for; I have progressed.’
But in actual fact we have not progressed.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Antarāyāḥ, Obstacles to progress, Techniques to Overcome them’
Chapter Fifteen Page 209

Another obstacle is when our senses seem to take over……

“Another obstacle is when our senses seem to take over.
They reassert themselves as masters,
sometimes without our knowing it.
This is not surprising since we are trained from birth to
look here, see there, hear this, touch that, etc.
So sometimes, because of their habitual action of always looking for things, etc.,
The senses take over and our direction slowly shifts in the wrong way.”
TKV Desikachar Religiousness in Yoga
‘Antarāyāḥ, Obstacles to progress, Techniques to Overcome them’
Chapter Fifteen Page 209