“Kumbhaka is the continuation of a specific movement that preceded it.”
– TKV Desikachar December 1987
“Your mind is a product of your food, memory is linked to food.
My stability, my confidence is linked to food.
All these facts are mentioned in the texts.
For these reasons I said that food is very important and becomes me.
Not just the muscles, but the whole me, the whole personality.”
– TKV Desikachar from an interview in the Journal Viniyoga Italia on Yoga and Well Being.
“It is usual to start a lesson be it, Chanting, Sūtra, Āsana, with a prayer.
A prayer is recited and repeated according to the study or purpose of the lesson,
to show respect for the subject.
When the student is familiar with the prayer they repeat it along with the teacher.
Focusing the study with a prayer helps to recall earlier study, lineage of repetition.
The student is given the meaning later.
After the lesson another prayer is said to offer thanks for the learning and for everybody.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992
The Sāṃkhya Kārikā is now going online and linking to the Yoga Sūtra and the Bhagavad Gītā
Sāṃkhya is said to be a relative of Yoga. In fact they are often linked together when presenting models around the six major schools of inquiry within the Indian tradition.
“Sāṃkhya has been fundamental in its influence on the philosophical
foundations underpinning such as Yoga, Buddhism and Āyurveda.”
The first text that I was privileged to be able to study word by word, Śloka by Śloka along with the commentaries of Krishnamacharya and then Desikachar, within the intimacy and vitality of private lessons, was the Sāṃkhya Kārikā of Īśvara Kṛṣṇa.
The Bhagavad Gītā is now going online and linking to the Yoga Sūtra
Another important text allied to my inquiry into and around Yoga that I was privileged to be able to study word by word, Śloka by Śloka along with the commentaries of Krishnamacharya and Desikachar, within the intimacy and vitality of private lessons over 4 years of visits to Chennai, was the Bhagavad Gītā.
The first stage of the Bhagavad Gītā online resource project is complete with the entire text transcribed into a document with ‘proper’ Saṃskṛta notations. Now the second stage is under way with the setting up of the text as a live online and searchable chapter by chapter, word by word online resource in the same way as with the online Yoga Sūtra project with commentaries around each verse from study with my teacher on and around this particular text.
“All mental distractions arise from the free play of the senses
and only through continuing practice can one keep their power in check.”
– T Krishnamacharya’s commentary to Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 18
“What is most vital to a person for everlasting happiness
is to understand the nature of consciousness
and the Lord and his created entities.”
– TKV Desikachar Commentary on Gītārtha Saṃgraha of Śrī Yāmunācārya Śloka Four
This picture, taken 1979, with fond memories of early days with
TKV Desikachar and the KYM with co-founder AG Mohan and the faculty.
“Many years ago and not knowing my connection, a Yoga student commented around me “Don’t go to Desikachar, he has no charisma”. At the time, though saying nothing, I was reminded that this was for me an important facet around my appreciation of him, in that it was his ordinariness that I found engaging.
Furthermore, this quality was reflected throughout his life in terms of its simplicity in that it didn’t actually change over the decades that I visited and studied within lessons or spent personal time or travelled with him privately.
As I sit within this time of passing and remembrance it occurred to me that August 2016 exactly marks the 40th anniversary from the first time I met and worked with Desikachar in August 1976.
The setting was a small group of students, especially by todays seminar norms, amidst the august settings of Cambridge University at a week organised by a student of Desikachar from that era, Ian Rawlinson.
I remember the first moments of Desikachar coming onto a small platform in the room, a shy somewhat reticent person and asking us to show to him our personal Yoga practice, already not what we were expecting at our first meeting.
It is with profound sadness and a great personal sense of loss,
that I offer the news that TKV Desikachar has died this Sunday evening at 9.15pm London time on Sunday August 7th or 2.45am Monday August 8th Madras time.
With my prayers and deep condolences to his wife Menaka and family for the loss of the light and clarity he offered to all who had the privilege to have contact with him and his teachings.
Reflections by Paul around TKV Desikachar following his passing on August 8th 2016……..
As I sit within this time of passing and remembrance……
We have lost a fine teacher and a Yoga master……