Saṃskāra is so powerful, it can lead you to act without thinking.

samskara

Saṃskāra is so powerful,
it can lead you to act without thinking.”
– TKV Desikachar 1995

Food will either sustain the body or eat it.

annam

Food will either sustain the body or eat it.”
– Śrī T Krishnamacharya

The term used in those Sūtra is Draṣṭṛ……

drastr

“In the second and third Sūtra the means to realise Samādhi
and the true nature of Jīva were explained.
The term used in those Sūtra is Draṣṭṛ
– that which perceives and aids in perception.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 23

Abhyāsa is the practice of reflecting on the difference……

abhyasa

Abhyāsa is the practice of reflecting on the difference
between the nature of spirit and the nature of matter.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 12

Knowledge is not only memory. Every day there must be something new.

tk5_1980

“Knowledge is not only memory.
Every day there must be something new.”
– T Krishnamacharya

Karma is the means to know oneself.

srimad_bhagavad_gita

“Karma is the means to know oneself.”
– TKV Desikachar on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Four verse 17

Before I inquire into who am I, I must first look at who I am.

srimad_bhagavad_gita

“Before I inquire into who am I,
I must first look at who I am.”
– TKV Desikachar on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Six verse 20

Jñānam is the wisdom of ‘I am that’……

srimad_bhagavad_gita

Jñānam is the wisdom of ‘I am that’.
Vijñānam is the discernment that ‘I am not this’ ‘I am not that’.”
– TKV Desikachar on Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Seven verse 2

We may have intellectual Vidyā, but in reality we follow……

avidya

“We may have intellectual Vidyā,
but in reality we follow some deeper force of Avidyā.”
Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 3
– TKV Desikachar January 1997

Sometimes our ideas about the object are so strong that we give up……

samkirna

“Sometimes our ideas about the object are so strong that,
we give up trying to see the object and just look at our ideas.”
– TKV Desikachar Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 42

Past tendencies also determine the mind’s direction and…..

samskara

“Past tendencies also determine the mind’s direction and quality of perception.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 4

Even when our understanding is consistent with our perception or……

viparyaya

“Even when our understanding is consistent with our perception or related experience,
it does not necessarily indicate a fact.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 8

2016 Spring Reflections on Time, Teaching and Transmission.

P1010560

I recently needed to renew all my ageing and failing lever arch files, giving me an opportunity to peruse and reflect on the contents accumulated from my decades of personal study with Desikachar. As well as sifting out any stuff that was superfluous, it was a reminder of how wide and deep my studies in Madras were. As per the shelves in the picture, my notes fell into two main groups, that of Personal Textual Study and that of Personal Yoga Practice.

read more

There are three responses to suffering……

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“There are three responses to suffering:
– to pacify
– to resolve
– to dissolve
It is the level of suffering that will determine the response.”
– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

A good deal of suffering stems from the fact that we often take one moment for the whole story……

duhkha_5

“A good deal of suffering stems from the fact that we often take one moment for the whole story. A particular action done by someone at a particular moment should not be confused with the whole person. The person may have made a mistake and done some wrong, but there were surely other moments, other actions which brought some good.

We should never try to ignore suffering, but we can try to relativize it, see it in a wider context. If the shoe pinches, we should try to find out where it pinches, but also look at the good points. We don’t have to throw it away….”

– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

How can we evolve in order to change our relationship with suffering?

pratipaksa bhavana

“How can we evolve in order to change our relationship with suffering?

One important factor is replacement. The capacity to replace something within ourselves by something else will affect our relationship with suffering. If we are incapable of this then our relationship with suffering will not evolve.

For example, if we had a bad relationship with our mother in childhood this may dominate our feelings and thoughts concerning her. Every time we are reminded of this relationship the bad things come to the surface – the way she treated us, what we had to endure and so on. This is the way it happens naturally.

But we can also consider the positive things that must have come out of the relationship, the most important, for instance – the gift of life by the mother to the child. We cannot change the bad childhood experiences, but, if we can replace one way of looking at it by some new way, there may be a change in our suffering.”

– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

We need to evolve……

TKV_France_1999

“We need to evolve.
Evolution is like a river.
When we see the river at the source the water is so clean, so pure, almost blue.
As it comes closer and closer to the ocean it becomes a different river,
we don’t want to go near it because it is so dirty.
This is the natural flow, from up to down.
But where does this river get its water from?
It comes from the snow up in the mountains.
Where does the snow come from?
From the clouds. Where do these clouds come from?
From the ocean where all the dirty water goes.
There is some magic which is done in the ocean.
It can absorb all this dirt and gives such fresh water.
In our tradition, they say that when things get too dirty,
when disorder comes to a limit, when suffering is too widespread,
something will happen.”
– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

Attachment comes through pleasure……

panca klesa

Attachment comes through pleasure. There’s nothing wrong with pleasure, but when we no longer have what gave us pleasure, or if there is some threat of losing it, attachment often appears.

            Negation is a tendency to resist or reject after something bad has happened. It could be a fact, an idea or whatever, but if we were not comfortable with it, we resist. There is a strong relationship between attachment and negation, like heads and tails of a coin. Strangely, the more we are attached to something the more there is a likelihood to reject it later – when what we were expecting is not forthcoming heads becomes tails!

            Fear is a very fundamental emotion which seems to have some special energy that can make it survive on its own. Fear exists independently of objects, they just give it something to fix on, like the wolf in Western fairy tales. There are two types of fear : fear of something, an earthquake, an illness, a wolf etc., and fear of losing something, a job, a loved one, prestige etc.

            Fear, negation, attachment and association either alone or together create the conditions for suffering to erupt again and again. Suffering appears, disappears and re-appears forcing us to admit that something is missing and this pushes us to seek how to find it.”

– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

We are all in the strong trap of association……

TKV_France_1999

“We are all in the strong trap of association,
where everything other than conformity is a disturbance.
It’s almost automatic.
We are unable to accept what is not consistent with the way we function
and we associate ourselves with things by projection.”
– TKV Desikachar from unedited manuscript for ‘What are We Seeking?’

Slow and regulated breathing are also helpful techniques to quieten……

seated_pranayama_2

“Slow and regulated breathing using special techniques
to lengthen the the inhale and exhale processes
are also helpful techniques to quieten the disturbed mind
and reduce the unpleasant consequences of this state.
Along with these breathing techniques examination of food habits
and changing them to suit is also a must.”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 34

Among the disciplines to be applied are……

tapas devanagari

“Among the disciplines to be applied are:
– Using appropriate breathing technique when moving the body in Āsana practice.
– Eliminating unnecessary travel.
– Regulating the intake of food.
Without these disciplines, the practice of Āsana, Prāṇāyāma and Vairāgya will not be effective.”
–  T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 34

Diet has a great effect on Maitrī Bhāvana.

maitri

“Diet has a great effect on Maitrī Bhāvana.”
– T Krishnamacharya commenting on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three verse 23
cross referencing to Chapter One verse 33

In recommending Yoga practices, teachers should always consider……

Āsana_5_web

“In recommending Yoga practices,
teachers should always consider an individual’s particular circumstances.
Just as other activities and practices must be adapted
to the changes in one’s life, such as ageing,
so too Yoga practices need to be adapted as the practitioner changes”
–  T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 34

It can be said that sickness is Citta Vikṣepa and health is Citta Nirodha.

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

Picture courtesy of KYM Archives

“It can be said that sickness is Citta Vikṣepa
and health is Citta Nirodha.”
–  T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 34

Our goals are not always to strive for what we cannot do.

seated_pranayama_2

“Our goals are not always to strive for what we cannot do.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘Choosing a Ratio and the proper technique for Prāṇāyāma’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Twelve Page 171